Hot Sausage Quinoa Salad

Quinoa: Not Just for Cold Salads

Hot, super-hearty, not a salad
Eater rating: 4.5 / 5  4.515

Even though it’s mid-summer, sometimes you just feel like a hearty meal. That was our case for this particular dinner. We’re eating a crunchy quinoa dish packed full of goodies such as fresh hot italian sausage, crumbled feta, sauteed local young green beans, yellow grape tomatoes, and diced maui onions that were deglazed with balsamic and sherry vinegars creating the “pan sauce” for the dish.

A: man, i have to say, i loved this take on quinoa. it was some how more… i dunno, hearty. it seems like every quinoa salad i make tastes pretty similar. don’t get me wrong, i totally love my normal quinoa salads, but still… it’s easy to get bored, ya know?
T: yeah, I agree… not that I was bored with your other quinoa dishes, but that this one was different- in a good way. It tasted less like something that you would find cold in a cafe counter and more like something that you would be served… I don’t know, somewhere other than a cafe… a real restaurant.
A: hehehe you are so eloquent with your descriptions. ;-P and articulate! but i know what you mean… i too seem to be unable to find the right way to really get at what made this dish different. i guess for one, it wasn’t a “salad” at all…
T: yeah, it was a hot meal, and it wasn’t as citrusy as a lot of your grain salads have been. It had a more robust flavor… it would have gone well with an amber beer rather than a light beer.
A: uh, t? i think most people are looking for wine pairings to go with these meals… not so much beer pairings! we need to think outside of what we drink.
T: I can only offer what I know, and that’s beer. Mainly Natty Light at that.
A: woah now! we keep it real by buying tasty dark and potent beers on a regular basis…. mmmm, like arrogant bastard for instance, my current fave.
T: True. One Arrogant Bastard for every 12 Natty’s.
A: i think arrogant bastard would have gone lovely with this meal.
T: oooh you’re right that would have been good. Mmmm… So, do you have a rating for this one?
A: the arrogant bastard or the meal?!? 😉 i’m gonna have to give this meal a 4.3/5. It was totally tasty. The hot italian sausage was particularly good and went really well with the feta, quinoa, and veggies. I also thought that the sherry and balsamic vinegars took the dish to a great place. there was no citrus in this quinoa dish and i’ll be the first to admit i have a problem there: until now, virtually every grain, dish… i’ve made has had a citrus vinaigrette base, but i think i’ve seen the light.
T: I was seeing the light while I was eating this. 😀 I give it a 4.73/5. It was absurdly tasty… the sausage was great (it’s awesome that we can buy it half a block away), the yellow tomatoes were excellent, and to top it off the entire dish was based around the super grain, quinoa. Oooooh wee. Plus, it was a significant deviation from your previous quinoas, so I give you props for finding some fresh inspiration.
A: well said pepita brittle, well said.
T: 🙁 I thought I had escaped that name. I thought we had laid it to rest. Damn you Mandy.
A: 😛 muhahahahhahah! you’ll neeeeever escape the name pepita brittle… never… neverNever!!!! (and, btw, i’m just going to ignore that mandy jab)
T: This blog session is over.

A Quinoa Recipe, by Amanda
Quinoa with Hot Italian Sausage & Feta

2/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 1/3 cup water
2 links hot italian sausage
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped (I used a Maui)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-1 jalapeno, diced (vary amount depending on level of spiciness you prefer)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups small young green beans
10 yellow or red grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Place the quinoa and water in a small pot over high heat. Add a liberal pinch of kosher salt and black pepper to the pot. Stir. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the quinoa over low heat, stirring occasionally, until all of the water has been absorbed by the quinoa, about 15-20 minutes. Once finished cooking, remove the quinoa from the heat. Allow the quinoa to sit until ready for use, then fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is simmering, cook the sausages. Add the canola oil to a large sautepan, over medium to medium-high heat. Once the sautepan is hot, add the italian sausage. Saute the sausages over medium/medium-high heat until just cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, turning the sausages occasionally.

Once the sausage is thoroughly cooked, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for at least five minutes before slicing it into 1/4 inch thick slices. Leave the pan on the stove, but reduce the heat to medium.

Saute the sweet onions, jalapeno, and green beans in the pan using the rendered fat from the sausage for your oil. Season the veggies with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper then stir. Saute, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until the green beans are crisp-tender and the onions are translucent.

Add the minced garlic, cherry tomatoes, and dried herbs to the pan. Saute, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have just cooked through, but have not ruptured, about 3 or 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and balsamic vinegars, making sure to scrape up any bits of caramelized goodness still stuck ot the bottom of the pan.

To the pan, add the cooked quinoa, sausage slices, and crumbled feta. Remove from the heat and stir to combine. Taste the quinoa dish and adjust seasoning as necessary with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve hot. Enjoy!

13 comments so far:

  1. matt says:

    I’m going to go full-on 15 year old myspacer and say that I puffy heart you guys. Beers and fish tacos at South Beach next time I’m in town?

  2. Ros says:

    I cooked quinoa for the first time on Friday. In fact, it turned out that I almost totally copied something you did last year, without even realising it. Either we think very much alike, or your recipes have the ability to work their way into my subconcious without me noticing.

    Now I’m wondering if we could take the whole hot meal quinoa thing a bit further and have it alsmost like a risotto. I’ll be experimenting…

  3. cheila says:

    Nice. i never know what the heck to do with quinoa. this dish sounds like a good one.

  4. Elly says:

    This looks really delicious. I love quinoa. Can’t wait to see the recipe and try this out!

  5. aria says:

    everyone with the quinoa lately, i really need to broaden my horizons. this looks ans sounds delicious!

  6. Bobby says:

    If quinoa does not work for risotto, barley sure well…

  7. Alejandro says:

    Nice! I think I’ll have to mention this on my Peru Food blog…

  8. Amanda says:

    Hell yeah, matt! Mmmm have you ever had their oyster taco? when ever you’re gonna be in town you’ll have to let us know! and btw, i say purposely stupid 15 yr old myspacer shit like “puffy heart you guys” all the time and freaking tyler makes so much fun of me. 😛 that asshole!

    ros, i can’t wait to see your quinoa dish. i’m gonna go with us being a lot alike. 🙂 i’ll be interested to see how your risotto turns out! quinao really is one of those foods that we can eat at least a few times a week.

    cheila, my problem is that i do the same damn thing w/ quinoa every single time, aka a citrus vinaigrette and some either raw or cooked veggies. it’s always tasty, but it always taste-y’s kind of the same, if you know what i mean!

    thanks elly! I hope the recipe works out well!

    why thank ya miz aria! quinoa is one of those great things that really lends itself well to all the fresh summer produce… although we’re both really luck to live in ca where we get great produce most of the year!

    for sure, i’ve made a few barley risottos before. never quinoa though. i’m pretty sure what you said in your email is right on though. doesn’t really have the same starchiness.

    thanks alejandro! i really dig all the food you post on peru food by the time i got your email for the purple potatoes it was like, months after you had posted it! sorry for not emailing you back! 🙂

  9. Bobby says:

    Oyster Taco? Is that some sort of slang term?

  10. Bobby says:

    Or is that Tyler’s Tijuana Drag name?

  11. Tim says:

    If you have trouble finding quinoa I’ve put together a list of places you can buy it online but I’m always looking for new sources. Check out find where to buy quinoa

  12. Soma says:


    I just to started blogging and came across ur blog!! Its so awesome. There are such delicious recipes that i was quite at loss where put a comment.

    I will have to try out quite a few things from here.

    keep going:-)

  13. Joe Mahoney says:

    I know it’s kind of weird to comment on a relatively old post, but just wanted to note that I made this tonight and it was a big hit with my family. Nice level of spice, great flavours, and probably my favourite quinoa dish.

    Next time I’m going to try using some free range chicken thigh instead of the sausage and bump up the amount of beans. I guess I’ll have to add more jalapenos to make up for the spice in sausage, which is perfectly fine with me.