I had a craving for some Italian food tonight but didn’t want the calories from a pasta- filled plate. The rich, simple flavors are what I was after. Muah! I knew I wanted to incorporate traditional Italian flavor profiles in my protein, starch, and side-dish. At the Sunterra Market, they have a great selection of meats, including the Valbella Tuscany sausage I found for this recipe. This particular sausage is made with pork, Monterey jack cheese, parmesan, basil, and other spices.
I l-o-v-e, love bruschetta! Substitute out the bread and insert quinoa. Quinoa has such a mild flavor, you can add almost anything to it, and it’ll taste great. Not only does it have great versatility, it is high in protein, fiber, minerals, and amino acids.
Vegetables. How do you make them not boring? Roast them! Not only is it quick to prepare, the roasting process brings out the natural sweetness and enhances the flavor. Toss the chopped veggies into a bag with some oil and seasoning, and you’re laughing.
To top off this Italian-inspired dish, I used a balsamic reduction (Nonna Pia’s is wonderful). I like the reduction because it has a sauce-like consistency which sticks to food nicely. The sweet yet tart flavor compliments the saltiness of the sausage and the sweetness of the vegetables and bruschetta quinoa.
Tuscany Sausage with Bruschetta Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Reduction
A great alternative to an traditional Italian meal!
- 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 of a 1.5lb bag of baby potatoes (I really like the Little Potato Companys Blushing Belle variety, so creamy!), halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup baby tomatoes, halved
- 1 pkg (4)Tuscany sausage (Any Italian sausage will do.), halved
- balsamic reduction (Store-bought or home-made)
- Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 400°F, and prepare the peppers, potatoes, and onion. Make sure the peppers and onion are cut in chunky pieces otherwise they will cook too quickly compared to the potatoes. Place the veggies into a large ziplock bag and pour in olive oil as well as the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake around, making sure all the spices are evenly coating the vegetables. Pour veggies on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place into the oven for about 30 min. (Once the veggies are cooked and plated, there is no need to clean the sheet, just toss out the foil and put away!)
- Step 2 While the veggies are cooking, get the quinoa ready. I like to use my rice cooker for this! Place the quinoa and water into the rice cooker, and let it do its thang. Nearing the end of the cooking cycle, I like to keep an eye on it because I do not want the quinoa to get dry. Saute some minced garlic in a pan with a little oil on med-low, just until fragrant. Add in the basil and cook for one minute. Add in the halved baby tomatoes and cook until soft. Once done, put the mixture in a separate container, and set aside for later.
- Step 3 In the same pan, add a little more oil and put on med-high heat (Depending on the sausage, you may not need to add any oil. Mine are fairly lean, so I chose to add a little). Cook the halved sausages for a few minutes on each side until golden. Place the cooked sausages on a plate lined with paper towel and pat dry.
- Step 4 At this point in time, the quinoa should be done. Add in the basil mixture and give it a good stir. I mix it right in the rice cooker. Why make more dishes? The veggies should be close to being done. Remove from oven when they are a nice golden brown, and potatoes are fully cooked.
- Step 5 You are ready to plate! I drizzled the balsamic reduction around the plate, so you can get a little bit with each bite (I took the picture before drizzling, oops!).