I love playing in the kitchen. That is to say, it’s an adventure to rummage through my pantry and fridge for flavors I have in mind for a dish. With each find, I can start to see how my dish will come together. This Smoky Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage was the result of my treasures tonight 😃
Normally, I don’t cook with quinoa (I’m more of a couscous fan), however, I am loving how the flavors in this dish came together. The smokiness from my salt with the spicy crunch of jalapenos to the savory pull of cheese. For only taking about 30 minutes to make, this Smoky Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage recipe packs a TON flavor.
There are a good number of ways to reconfigure this dish. For example, instead of using seasoned water for cooking the quinoa, you could use a broth. Don’t like sausage? Use shrimp or shiitake mushrooms. Add dried fruits or a different type of cheese. Seriously, the combinations are endless. Above all, this Smoky Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage recipe is a simple process that you can follow with your own creative flavor ideas.
Try my other easy, quick recipes like my Shrimp & Veggie Rice Noodles, Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow) or Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup. If you end up making this recipe, tag me @thefamiliarkitchen on instagram. I’d LOVE to see how it turns out for you and answer any questions you might have!
Smoked Salt Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage
- Water, 3 cups
- Quinoa, 2 cups (optionally toasted)
- Saffron, 1-2 pinches
- Turmeric Powder, 1/8 tsp
- Smoked Salt, 1/2 tsp I'm using an applewood smoked salt by Whole Spices Napa Valley; regular salt is fine
- Onion Powder, 1/4 tsp
- Garlic Powder, 1/4 tsp
the other flavors
- Lemon Olive Oil, 2 tbsp using the Lucini brand; regular olive oil is fine
- Red Onion, 1, thinly sliced
- Garlic Cloves, 6-8, rough chop
- Jalapeno, 1, diced optionally remove seeds
- Fresh Oregano Leaves, 1 tbsp, rough chop
- Applegate Maple Chicken Sausage Links, 5-6, diced into rounds substitute with 1 cup of thick-cut bacon, regular sausage, shrimp, etc.
- Four Cheese Blend, 1/2 cup the blend I'm using has fontina, provolone, asiago, and parmesan
- Fresh Mint Leaves, 1/4 cup, ribbon cut
- Smoked Salt, 1/2 tsp
- Sliced Almonds, 1/4 cup, chopped
Make the quinoa.
- Boil the water and season it with saffron and turmeric along with the smoked salt, garlic,
and onion powder.
Optionally, while the water is boiling use a saute pan on low heat to toast the quinoa. (This help give the quinoa a nuttier flavor)
When the water comes to a boil, add in the quinoa, stir, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. In about 15 or 20 minutes, use a fork to fluff up the quinoa. Set aside.
Saute the ingredients.
- While the quinoa is cooking, add some lemon olive oil to a skillet on medium high heat. Sauté the thinly sliced red onion until soft and lightly golden. Once lightly golden add the jalapeño, garlic cloves, and freshly chopped oregano. Add in the diced maple chicken sausage links and saute just until the edges are browned.
Put it all together.
- Turn off the heat and add in the cooked quinoa along with the four-cheese blend and ribbon-cut mint leaves. Mix until the cheese is incorporated and able to melt into the quinoa.
Sprinkle over some more smoked salt and some chopped almonds and that’s it!