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 sausage and remove from the heat. Let stand with the lid on for a few minutes, until the rice is tender. 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 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, and/or asparagus 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. (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 refrigerator 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!

Quick and easy Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole. Cooks in ONE PAN! Smoky chicken sausage, juicy bell peppers, and brown rice in a tomato sauce. One of our favorite healthy weeknight dinners! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated {gluten free}
Print Review
5 from 65 votes

Sausage and Rice Casserole

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 Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4), about 1 3/4 cups, Calories: 277kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 1215mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
All text and images ©Erin Clarke / Well Plated
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