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}

Sausage and Rice Casserole

5 from 98 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

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 ½ 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 ¾ 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 wellplated.com 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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Recipe Rating




229 Comments

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  1. Used a brown/wild rice mix and did it microwave. Added it to the recipe and enjoyed.. recipe is a keeper. Thanks5 stars

  2. Added mushrooms and Italian seasoning, then a splash of olive oil and freshly grated parm at the end after cooking. I’ve made it as written then with the adjustments. It’s delicious both ways! Thanks!5 stars

  3. Hi- can I use a can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes, or do you recommend whole tomatoes? Thanks!! Looking forward to making this tomorrow!

  4. Good family recipe!
    Because I didn’t have some ingredients on hand, I had to make some adjustments.
    Instead of the rice, I parboiled buckwheat and used that. Instead of tinned tomatoes, I used garden tomatoes from the freezer. Instead of basil, italien seasoning. And I added some spinach bc I’m always trying to get more veggies into the kids! Otherwise, I kept the original proportions and it turned out nice.5 stars

  5. Since I didn’t have chicken sausage or canned tomatoes I used pork sausage and salsa…it tasted like Spanish rice with a little kick…it was very good…5 stars

  6. So, so good!! We went a little heavier wit the crushed red pepper and garlic because my husband and son prefer a little heat ~ we LOVED this recipe! I made it on a Friday night but will definitely add it in the rotation for a weeknight meal as it came together so quickly and was sooooo good.
    I guess it doesn’t apply so much to this recipe so much but I can’t than you enough for taking the time to suggest gf,df,soy free ways to make your recipes!!!5 stars

  7. Wow, loved this dish! Kind of reminds me of deconstructed stuffed peppers. I used regular jasmine rice and simmered with chicken stock and rest of ingredients for 18 mins and came out perfect! Sprinkled with a little mozzarella and it was perfect!5 stars

  8. I made this recipe because it sounded delish, I had sausage thawed but I did not have the same ingredients. So…I used asperagus (no peppers). No brown rice so I used a pkg of Knorr Spanish Rice minus most of the “clump” of flavor. Just 1 cup of broth. Didn’t have diced tomatoes but did have a very good marinara sauce with chunks of tomato. I’m eating it now and really like it! Next time I will add parmesan and some frozen peas. I omited the crushed pepper as I don’t like it but prepped my skillet gently with a spicy oil. Its a great basic recipe and leaves room for experimentation. Thank you !5 stars

  9. This is a great recipe! I have made this several times in the past year and it never disappoints!! This is a great option, as it is both healthy and delicious! Thank you!5 stars

  10. Delicious and easy! I used some leftover brown rice from the fridge and only used 1/2 cup chicken broth. I also tossed in a few baby bella mushrooms when I added the peppers and onions.

    So impressed with how the dish came out. Husband and little kid appoved!5 stars

  11. Loved the recipe. I didn’t have Italian sausage so I used pineapple bacon chicken sausage. I also used microwave rice with quinoa in it. I then added blue cheese after the whole dish was done cooking. It’s good plain and with blue cheese5 stars

  12. Amazing!! Used smoked chicken/turkey sausages from Costco, quinoa instead of rice (cooked this in a separate pot with water & chicken broth) & a can of stewed Italian tomato chunks. Added the quinoa at the end. Such an easy meal and full of flavour. This is going in my weekly rotation! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.5 stars

  13. This came out so good! All the flavors go very well together. I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes or instant brown rice so I made my own fire roasted tomatoes smothered in olive oil and garlic and just added some leftover brown rice from the night before. Put a little bit less chicken broth than the recipe and it came out great!5 stars

  14. I made this with bulk sausage and regular (non-instant) white rice more or less by the method in your 2nd Note. I skipped the tomatoes, basil and parsley, but added fresh spinach near the end of my sautee time. Then I deglazed the pan with chicken broth and stirred in cooked rice and also some feta cheese. It was SO good! Thank you for a great easy recipe idea!!5 stars

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