Hey! My name is Ann Ittoop and I am a South Indian/American South food blogger.

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Smoked Salt Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage

Smoky Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage

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

Smoked Salt Saffron Quinoa with Maple Chicken Sausage

A quick and easy recipe with a few ingredients that pack a LOT of flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter chicken, dinner, quinoa
Servings: 4 servings


the quinoa

  • 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!

Hey! My name is Ann Ittoop and I am a South Indian/American South food blogger. Growing up as a second-generation Indian-American, I got the chance to experience the best of both food worlds, oftentimes on one plate! On one hand I had Kerala staples like appam and chicken curry. On the other I had chicken and waffles. If there’s one thing that has helped me understand my identity and express both ends of my cultural upbringing, it’s most definitely food. I have a firm belief there is literally magic in the cooking process. That’s why most nights you’ll find me in the kitchen. I’m there always testing and creating new recipes that stem from my wild imagination. And I’m there searching for the familiar memories of my childhood. I started The Familiar Kitchen to not only help myself find this magic, but for those seeking a way to find their own magic. Join me on my adventures through cooking classic Kerala-inspired dishes, some of my Southern favorites, and all the recipes in between.

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