This Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole with peppers is a back-on-track, one-pan plan kind of meal. It’s healthy food you won’t be sad to eat, weeknight fast, and leaves you with only one dish to wash at the end.

One pan sausage and rice casserole with bell peppers and fresh herbs

Lean protein? Check! Veggies? Yep! Whole grains? Uh huh. The gang’s all here.

On my totem pole of house chores, washing dishes is at the very bottom, above only snow shoveling (brrr) and vacuuming (I know it’s easy, but I despise it for some reason).

Hence, I’m always to add to my collection of healthy one pan recipes, meals that cram all the healthy food groups you need into a single pan. This sausage and rice casserole is a prime example. 

All you need to make this Italian sausage recipe is a knife, a cutting board, a wooden spoon, and one sturdy skillet. That’s less time washing dishes, and more time enjoying your tasty dinner (and dessert!).

A pan filled with sausage, rice, bell peppers, and fresh herbs

About this Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole Recipe

This recipe is an adaptation of my Cabbage and Sausage Skillet. The flavor profiles of the two dishes are completely different, but both offer the speed and convenience I’m seeking on a weeknight.

If you plan your recipe prep carefully, this sausage and rice casserole can be ready in just 30 minutes.

The Ingredients

  • Italian Chicken Sausage. Italian sausage is made of herbs, spices, and whichever type of meat you select. It has oodles of flavor built in, making it an ideal ingredient for a quick casserole. To keep things speedy and healthy, I used sliced, pre-cooked chicken sausage, which is leaner than typical pork sausage.
    • If you prefer, you can use uncooked sausage cut into bite-sized pieces or removed from its casing and broken up. Be sure to cook the sausage pieces all the way through and be aware that it will extend the recipe’s cook time.
  • Bell Peppers. The pepper portion of this sausage and rice casserole. Bell peppers offer vitamin-C, vitamin-K1, vitamin-E, and vitamin-A, folate, and potassium.
  • Spices. Dried basil and red pepper flakes are give Italian flavor and a touch of heat.
  • Brown Rice. To keep things healthy, I used brown rice, which is higher in fiber and minerals than white rice. It cooks in the pan right along with the other ingredients, so no separate pan is required to prepare it.
  • Chicken Broth. Cooking the rice in chicken broth makes it more flavorful than using water. Choose low sodium so your casserole doesn’t become too salty.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes. They add a touch of smokiness. The rice also absorbs some of their flavor as it cooks, and they are ultra convenient.

The Directions

  1. Brown the sausage slices in a large nonstick skillet, then remove to a plate. Sauté the peppers, onion, and spices.
  2. Add the rice, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring to coat. Cook until fragrant, then pour in the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and stir, then cover and let simmer.
  3. Add the cooked sausage and remove from the heat. Let stand with the lid on for a few minutes, until the rice is tender (no oven needed!). Sprinkle with parsley and serve. ENJOY!
A delicious and flavorful one pan recipe that the entire family will love

Recipe Adaptations

  • Ground Italian Sausage. If you’re looking for ground Italian sausage recipes, you can easily swap the sliced Italian chicken sausage links I used in this recipe for ground sausage. Hot Italian sausage and mild both work well here, so feel free to choose whichever you or your family prefer.
  • Italian Sausage and Potatoes. Italian sausage and potatoes (like red potatoes; Yukon gold potatoes may lose their shape when simmering here) is a great combo and what I used in this Italian Sausage Skillet.
  • Vegetable Swaps. The vegetables in this dish are very flexible. Peppers are my favorite, but you can easily swap them for other veggies you have on hand. I think this recipe would be yummy with any mix of chopped broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and/or mushroom too. (Or try squash like in this Skillet Lasagna with Italian Sausage!)
  • Sausage Swaps. If you want to try this recipe with cajun, smoked, or Polish sausage, you can easily swap them in. I haven’t tried any of these modifications, but other readers have reported success with them all. I would not recommend ham in this recipe. (For cajun-style sausage, this Cajun Shrimp Boil Foil Packets is a great option.)
  • To Make Keto. If you’re in the market for keto Italian sausage recipes, then I recommend trying this Sausage and Peppers sheet pan meal or Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers. They are both Italian sausage recipes without pasta or rice.

How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze

  • To Store. Place leftover casserole in an airtight storage container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, adding a splash of broth as needed. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave until warmed through.
  • To Freeze. Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What to Serve with Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole

A skillet with the best one pan meal that's packed with veggies

More Healthy Italian Sausage Recipes

Recommended Tools to Make Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole

  • Cast-Iron Skillet. The perfect skillet for making this recipe. It’s an investment piece that you’ll keep for years.
  • Non-Slip Cutting Board. I love that this cutting board doesn’t move around while you’re chopping ingredients. 

You’ll love the time this Italian sausage and rice casserole saves, and your friends and family will love you for making it!

Sausage and Rice Casserole

4.95 from 133 votes
Quick and easy Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole. Cooks in just ONE POT! Smoky chicken sausage, juicy bell peppers, and brown rice in a zesty tomato sauce.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins

Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 12 ounces cooked Italian chicken sausage links not breakfast sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices*
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and 1/2-inch diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper cored and 1/2-inch diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion 1/4-inch diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup instant brown rice*
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes in their juices
  • Chopped fresh parsley optional for serving


  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the sausage slices and cook for a few minutes on each side, until brown, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Remove to a plate, blot with paper towels to remove any excess oil, and set aside. (Tip: To finish this meal in 30 minutes, prep the peppers and onions while the sausage browns.)
  • With a paper towel, carefully wipe the skillet until it is mostly clean. Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the bell peppers, onion, basil, salt, and pepper and cook until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring to coat the rice. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and canned tomatoes in their juices, stirring well. Bring to a boil, stir again, then cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the reserved sausage slices until evenly distributed, then re-cover the skillet and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, until most of the remaining liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.


  • If you prefer, you can use uncooked sausage cut into bite-sized pieces or removed from its casing and broken up. Be sure to cook the sausage pieces all the way through and be aware that it will extend the recipe’s cook time.
  • *I have not tried this recipe with regular (not instant) rice or with white rice instead of brown. Because regular (non-instant) rice’s cooking time is much longer, if you want to experiment and use it instead of the instant, I would suggest sautéing the meat and vegetables in one skillet (you can drain the tomatoes first, then add them to the sausage and peppers at the end, heating until most of their liquid evaporates) and cooking the rice in its own pot. Then, combine the two at the end with a bit of extra chicken stock as needed if the mixture is too dry. Again, I haven’t tried the recipe this way, but that is my best suggestion.
  • *If you use white instant rice (instead of brown) please note that the cooking times and liquid needs for the two do vary. I’d add a little less liquid, check the skillet early to make sure the rice does not overcook, and then add a little more liquid toward the end if it seems dry.


Serving: 1(of 4), about 1 3/4 cupsCalories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 20gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 1215mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Delish ! So quick & easy~I doubled the recipe & it still turned out perfectly .
    I sliced partially frozen Italian Sausages & used 5 Minute LGrain Minute Brand White Rice
    I followed all Cooking Instructions
    Instead of my Skillet, I used a Braiser (can’t live w/o ;) Luv the 1 pot meals !5 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with this recipe, Grace. Did you use the exact type of rice listed in the recipe? If not, that could be what went wrong. I hope you still enjoyed the recipe!

    2. I had trouble with this. I did exactly as the recipe said, however I doubled the rice and broth. Maybe that’s why the rice just never seem to cook well and came out hard. I wouldn’t think that would make a difference though.

      1. Hi Stacey! I think if you are doubling the rice, you are going to need to cook it longer, also did you use instant rice?

        1. Hi, yes I used instant rice. The texture just wasn’t the same as regular rice. Maybe cooking regular rice separately and mixing it in later would solve that problem.

          1. Hi Stacey, texture will definitely be different when using instant vs. regular, and using brown vs. white. You could try that! If you decide to experiment that way, let me know how it goes!

  2. Easy and budget friendly recipe. If you chop your veggies and slice your sausage ahead of time, this recipe comes together quickly. It’s delicious and quite filling! Thank you for this lovely recipe!5 stars

  3. I had ingredients and looked up recipes and found this one! I used canned tomato sauce because that’s what I had on hand. Turned out wonderfully! My husband called it “wifeylaya“
    I will have to try to make jambalaya now. Thank you Erin!5 stars

  4. Hi can you use just normal pork sausages? Also I can’t find fire roasted tomatoes anywhere. Can I just used tinned chopped tomatoes?


    1. Hi Avani! Yes, you can swap the fire roasted tomatoes for regular tomatoes. They won’t have the same smokiness, but they’ll still be tasty! You can also use pork sausage (just make sure it’s not breakfast sausage).

  5. Great recipe Erin, made for dinner, and my wife and she loved it. Great recipe and I did as well.5 stars

  6. Made this today except tweaked it to be vegetarian and still turned out amazing! Thanks for the great recipe! Will be making it again :)5 stars

  7. I was looking for a recipe to use sweet Italian sausage and came across this. I only had regular brown rice, so I cooked the rice separately in chicken stock and the liquid drained from the fire roasted tomatoes. After cooking the sausage I cooked some mushrooms, added the onions and 1 red pepper when the mushrooms had cooked off most of the water, added a cubed zucchini a minute before adding the rice, tomatoes, and sausage to heat through. It was really delicious! We both kept going back for just another bite. Looking forward to the leftovers for lunch!5 stars

  8. I’ve made this several times with long grain rice (not instant). I cook the sausage first & pull it out. Then the onion, chopped veggies (i’ve even used fresh tomatoes from the garden), garlic, herbs/spices and saute, add rice & 2 cups chicken broth. Cook 20 min. w/lid on & then add back the sausage & wilt in some fresh chopped spinach. It’s a popular dish at my house!5 stars

  9. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Enjoyed it with uncooked chicken sausage, still a quick fix for a weeknight family dinner <35 stars

  10. Made this last night and it was awesome! The only changes I made were cooking my sausage in the air fryer and added some asparagus for more veggies.👍5 stars

  11. This was a great twist on the traditional sausage and peppers. I followed the recipe for the most part, however I used hot sausage and at the end added some sour cream as Jeff suggested in his comments. Delicious! The family loved it. So happy I doubled the recipe. Will definitely make again. The hanks for the recipe Erin.5 stars

  12. Delicious! Very spicy, too, which we love. My kids have asked that I add different veggies next time, so thanks for adding those adaptations to this recipe!5 stars

  13. The basics are great here. Used raw Italian sausages and added extra heat with 2 cups instant rice. Turned out great!5 stars

  14. I made this vegan and it was DELICIOUS!
    I used Impossible Italian sausages in place of real meat, but followed the rest of the recipe almost exactly as written.
    I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes, so I just cut up a bunch of fresh grape tomatoes.
    I ate the entire thing in two days.
    Thank you.5 stars

    1. Hi Michele! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on making it vegan! So helpful!

  15. If you don’t have, or don’t want to use instant rice, the process for using regular rice is very easy! Just add one cup of white basmati rice, and extend the cooking time to 15 minutes. Stir at the end of 15 minutes and add the sausages. Cover, and wait for another five minutes. The rice turns out perfectly, al dente!4 stars

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