Sausage and Rice Casserole

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

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}

This Italian sausage casserole recipe dates back to the the demise of our dishwasher a year ago and has been a trusty member of our dinner rotation ever since.

While it took Ben and me all of 30 minutes of internet browsing and 45 minutes at Best Buy to select a replacement dishwasher, between the calls to customer service, assorted visits from plumbers, and exhaustive debate about what is or is not up to “code,” our “free” installation took three weeks. It was a dark time in the life of a food blogger.

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The benefit? I seriously amped up my collection of healthy one pan recipes.

On my totem pole of house chores, washing dishes is at the very bottom, above only snow shoveling (brrr) and vacuuming the basement storage room (ewww). Hence, I’m always looking for creative ways to cram a whole meal into a single pan. This Italian 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. Honestly, even if our dishwasher had been working the night I made it, I wouldn’t have even bothered to use it.

Smoked Sausage and Rice Casserole with Peppers. A quick and easy 30 minute meal! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

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.

In addition to being quick and easy, this Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole is fully flavored and healthy too. To keep things speedy, I used sliced pre-cooked chicken sausages that I browned in the pan, then incorporated lots of fresh veggies and Italian spices. The rice cooks in the pan right along with the other ingredients, no separate pan required.

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 Rice Casserole with Peppers. Everyhting cooks in ONE PAN, even the rice! Quick, easy, and healthy. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

The vegetables are also flexible. Peppers are my favorite (hence my reason for choosing them for this recipe’s spinoff sheet pan Italian sausage and peppers), but you can easily swap them for other veggies you have on hand. Italian sausage and potatoes is a great combo (what I use in this Italian Sausage Skillet), and I think this recipe would be yummy with any mix of chopped broccoli, zucchini, and/or asparagus too.

Easy Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole. Ready in 30 minutes! Simple, healthy weeknight dinner. Ready in just 30 minutes! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

While I’m happy to have my dishwasher back, I am thankful for the dinner inspiration its absence provided. Whether you have one in your kitchen or not, you’ll love the time this Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole saves, and your friends and family will love you for making it!

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4.92 from 34 votes
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
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
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.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Casserole Recipe, One Pot Meal, Sausage and Rice Casserole
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 277 kcal
Author: Erin
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
  1. 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.)
  2. 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 stock and canned tomatoes in their juices, stirring well. Bring to a boil, stir again, then cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. 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.
Recipe 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 Facts
Sausage and Rice Casserole
Amount Per Serving (1 (of 4), about 1 3/4 cups)
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 1215mg 51%
Total Carbohydrates 24g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 4g
Protein 20g 40%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Quick and easy Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole. Cooks in ONE POT! Smoky chicken sausage, fresh vegetables, and brown rice in a tomato sauce. One of our favorite healthy weeknight comfort food dinners! #wellplated #italiansausage #healthy #onepot

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

79 comments

  1. I can completely relate. We didn’t have a dishwasher for a couple years when we moved into our house and I hated the amount of dish washing I had to do. One pan/pot meals are amazing! This looks so yummy!

  2. Beautiful. healthy vibrant dish Erin! I love using brown rice, don’t use it nearly enough in my cooking (:

    Rating: 5
  3. luv it. got to go get instant brown rice… what’s with dishwasher installers lately!! they’re givin us all trouble. I bought in store to be deliver/install. drivers said: “truck too big, won’t fit on your street” at 4 p.m Friday .. delivery from 7 a.m.-11. re street, just not true. luckily I went to another store and bought a better washer and luv it. but installers complained they had to bring it up stairs.. dah… everything sometimes just get nuts. you can’t eve pay to have things done right any more. so I totally am with your frustration. just hope nothing else goesssssssssss.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks, Maude! Isn’t it funny how a seemingly simple things can get drawn out? Here’s to appliances running as they should!

  4. I’m thinking about making this in an instant pot!

    • If you do, I’d love to hear how it goes! Thanks, Lisa!

    • Just made this in the instant pot and it was sooooooo good! I used mild Italian sausage because that’s what I had on hand. I sautéed the veggies and meat and then added the rest of the ingredients and set it to manual for 20 minutes. I did a natural release. It’s fantastic and still a one dish meal! I love that it’s brown rice and you can’t even tell.

      Rating: 5
  5. I’m not a huge Italian sausage fan so was glad to see that you used chicken Italian sausage..my assumption is that maybe it’s finer ground and not quite as chunky. They did something yesterday on The Chew with this type and cooked it on a grill – treated it like a hot dog with homemade mustard, etc. Looked very good so I’ll try this casserole soon. Hope your trip was wonderful.

  6. Michelle Dobbs Reply

    Made this for supper tonight I used polska kielbasa for the meat. Loved it. Nice when good food is fast and easy. Helps that clean up is a breeze.

    Rating: 5
    • Michelle, I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review!

  7. I feel the same way about my garbage disposer, which my new apartment does not have . You don’t know what you have until it’s gone!

    Thanks for this delicious recipe though!

  8. Made this for dinner last week and it was delicious!! I loved the left-overs for lunch the next day. Great recipe!

    Rating: 5
    • Aimee, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Aren’t the leftovers the bomb? Thank you so much for leaving this kind review!

  9. This was delicious!  I had to make a few changes because of what I had on hand.  First, I used about 5 oz. of Andouille sausage, cut into small pieces.  Second, instead of instant rice, I cooked 2/3 cup of white rice with 1 1/3 cup chicken broth in my rice cooker.  I then added the rice at the very end, when I added the sausage.   We really enjoyed this dish; it was a great way to use up my Andouille sausage.  Thank you!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Jocelyn! Thank you so much for reporting back and sharing your swaps.

  10. I just made this with vegetarian Lincoln sausages, delicious!  Thank you ❤️

    Rating: 5
    • Awesome, Hannah! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to leave this great review!

  11. I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. It was so full of flavor. I didn’t tell my boyfriend it was Italian chicken suausge until he took a bite and he loved the healthy alternative! We’ll definitely make this one again. He even shared your page with a co-worker since we’re all looking for healthy meals that are still delicious and easy to make. We’re making the lemon chicken sheet pan recipe tonight!

    Rating: 5
    • Jill, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for taking the time to share how it went, and thanks to your boyfriend for sharing my site and recipes. (P.S. I hope you love the lemon chicken!)

  12. Made this recipe tonight and it was delicious! My hubs said it tastes so fresh and that this one is a keeper. I am so happy, since it’s healthy, filling, and EASY! Thank you Erin for another great recipe :)

    • Becki, I’m so happy to hear the recipe was a winner! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback. :)

  13. See above comment, I just forgot to leave a well deserved  5 star rating ?

    Rating: 5
  14. Made this for meal prep last week. So yummy!! I couldn’t find the italian chicken sausage so I just got hot chicken sausage and it was relish 

    Rating: 5
  15. Is not hard to make it and is not expensive at all. I can`t wait to make it.

    Rating: 5
  16. Loved it!  Used chorizo and got that spicy flavor!  Also didn’t have quick brown rice so used long grain white rice.  Added 1/2 cup more chicken stock and simmered an additional 5 minutes.  Yum!  Definitely a keeper!

    Rating: 4.5
    • I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for giving it a try and taking the time to share your tweaks!

  17. So colorful and pretty! I love quick easy recipes like this one. Yum!

  18. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I just have to say thank you for your notes on the recipe. I didn’t have instant rice and was trying to figure out what changes to make when cooking. Then I thought to look further to see if there were any suggestions for regular rice and there WAS! So super helpful. Thank you for the awesome recipes:)

    Rating: 5
    • Chrissy, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe and that the notes were helpful for you! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review.

  19. I don’t usually review recipes that I have changed when preparing them, but I’m posting this for people who don’t like, or don’t have, instant brown rice. Instead, I substituted 1 c. raw basmati rice (which doesn’t require as much liquid as regular long-grain raw rice) plus only 1/4 c. to 1/3 c. more chicken broth. After bringing the dish to a boil, I reduced the heat and simmered it, covered, for approximately 15 – 20 minutes. [I didn’t have Italian sausage either, so I used a a quality, smoked fresh Polish sausage which I had in the frig — and I omitted the basil.] Turned out great!

    Rating: 4
  20. This is amazing and so flavorful! We’ve added some spinach before to get some extra veggies otherwise this one is a must!

    Rating: 5
  21. I made this recipe for my family tonight and it was a huge hit!!! It was the most peaceful dinner in a long time………not one single complaint from my four kids……….AMAZING!!! They gobbled it all up and loved it.

    Rating: 5
    • HOORAY Jen, I’m SO happy to hear this recipe was a hit for your family! Thank you so much for this awesome review!

  22. This is very good. I used leftover white rice. Also added one of my favorite spices, Penzeys, old world seasoning. Very, very tasty.

    Rating: 5
  23. Thank you for sharing your awesome recipe. I used red quinoa, veggie broth, and vegan sausage as replacements….the kids loved it ?

    Rating: 5
    • Hooray Nadeshia, I’m glad to hear this recipe was a hit for your family! Thanks for sharing your review and tweaks!

  24. This sounds awesome. Plan on making it tonight. Will let you know how it goes.

  25. Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious! Hubby had seconds and our teenager gobbled it up :-)I used mild Italian sausages, white instant rice, and jar of my mom’s stewed tomatoes as that’s what i had on hand and it was still yummy.

    Rating: 5
    • HOORAY! Lori, I’m so glad to hear this recipe was a winner. Thanks for giving it a try and taking the time to report back!

  26. I love Italian sausage but if I serve my wife a few links of it on a sub roll with peppers, onions and tomato sauce, she is not happy.  I made this recipe for her in a cast iron skillet on the gas grill and not only did she love it, the stove top stayed spotless.  Great recipe. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
    • Rich, that is wonderful to hear! I’m so glad it was a hit for both you and your wife. Thanks for letting me know and taking time to leave this review!

  27. Would this be freezable?

  28. If I wanted to use cauliflower rice, would you suggest cooking the rice separately and then adding to the pan at the end just to combine before serving, or could the cauliflower rice be cooked in the pan with the sausage? If so, for how long?
    Thanks! Looks delicious.

    • Siciliana, if you want to go this route, I’d simply saute the sausage and peppers, omit the chicken stock, and cook the cauliflower rice separately. You could also add the tomatoes to the peppers once the peppers have started to brown (drain them first) and let the liquid cook off. Then, mix it all together at the end. Cauli rice doesn’t cook like brown rice, so I’d worry about how that would all come together if you followed the steps as written. This is definitely an experiment (I’ve never tested the recipe this way, it’s only a suggestion), so if you do decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  29. I adore one pot meals like this. This was perfect for the busy night we had last night.

  30. This is my kind of quick dinner!

    Rating: 5
  31. Love easy dinner recipes like this one!

    Rating: 5
  32. I could definitely go for a bowl of this right now!

  33. One dish skillet meals are rockstars!

    Rating: 5
  34. I love how colorful this is! And so many wonderful flavors.

    Rating: 5
  35. This looks like a dish I would love to make. What would happen if I left the rice out, since I only have Japanese rice? Would I have to adjust the recipe? I live in Hawaii.

    Rating: 5
    • Hazel, I’d suggest cooking the rice separately from the sausage and cabbage, then stirring the dish together at the end. I hope you enjoy it!

  36. You’re right, I won’t be sad eating this!

    Rating: 5
  37. Such amazing flavors in here and the leftovers are wonderful too!

    Rating: 5
  38. This looks perfect for weeknights! So yummmy!

    Rating: 5
  39. Love the creative casserole. So often casseroles are just ground beef, a starch and a can of soup!

    Rating: 5
  40. so good!

    Rating: 5
  41. LOL I don’t even know what I would do without my dishwasher! I recently had to do something similar for a washing machine – almost 4 weeks with no washing machine!! Anyways, loving the flavors in this recipe. And a sausage and rice casserole is just so comforting!!

    Rating: 5
  42. Made this last night. I used Carolina Aromatic Rice (grown locally in SC.) I followed your suggestion and drained the tomatoes (a little). I also put in the entire 1 cup of chicken broth, let it simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, then stirred in the cooked rice, covered it and let it simmer another 5 minutes. Off heat for another 5 min (as per the recipe) and it was perfect. The rice held up even with the extra liquid.

    Rating: 5
  43. Made this last night and it truly was so tasty…we loved it! My husband said that he would like the sausage cut a bit smaller so he could have some in every forkful – easy fix, huh? The amount of spice (red pepper flakes) was spot on. Thanks for another good recipe to add to my pile of recipes!!!

  44. We loved this. I used white rice that I cooked earlier in the day. I made 2 cups of rice which turns out to be about 3 C cooked- a little too much rice so next time I think 1.5 cups will be fine. I sauteed everything earlier in the day except the tomatoes and then just threw it together in the skillet to heat it up. I added probably about half a cup of chicken broth so it had a little liquid in it. Great for nights when you’re in a hurry if you can prep earlier in the day. thanks!

    Rating: 5
  45. I didn’t have instant rice so i cooked the rice with ck stock then followed the recipe as written including adding the tomato liquid. Instead of mixing it together I spooned it over the rice. It was amazing!

    Rating: 4.5

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