Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Besides Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya (which is one of the most popular recipes among our friends and family), my other favorite New Orleans-inspired dish is Red Beans, Sausage, and Rice.
I set out to give the dish a bit of a healthier makeover because, aside from the occasional indulgence, we’re actually eating pretty healthfully around these parts lately. And I’m about to start training for a 10K. And I’d like to look like I can run a 10K 🙂
I’ve always made my red beans pretty similar to the way I made pinto beans… with bacon. Lots of bacon. And then we added a bunch of sliced pork link sausage. And then we poured it over a big bowl of steamed rice. All that fat and those empty carbs are very, very delicious. But so is the lightened version.
We cut way back on the bacon, used a 97% fat-free turkey sausage, and then served it over quinoa to replace the nutritionally deficient white rice. (If you’ve never had quinoa, it has a similar taste to brown rice.) My house still had that heavenly red beans & rice smell (you know the one I’m talking about). We still got a hearty bowl of red beans &
brown ricequinoa for dinner but we left the empty calories and extra fat where it belonged: the weekly dessert splurge 🙂
We get about 10 servings out of a single pot of beans – we serve a generous scoop of beans over 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, serving the obligatory cornbread muffin and roasted veggie sides. (I only cook enough quinoa for 1-2 nights at a time.)
Red Beans, Sausage, and Quinoa
The Mardi Gras favorite Red Beans, Sausage, and Rice gets a healthy makeover with turkey sausage and quinoa.
- 1 lb small red beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1/2 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 slice of bacon, cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- Tony Cacheres Cajun Seasoning, optional
- 14 oz reduced-fat turkey or chicken link sausage
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, per person
- Tobasco, for serving
- Place beans in a large pot and cover with 3-4 inches of water.
- Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Return to medium heat and add the chopped onion, bell peppers, bacon, garlic, and bay leaves to the pot along with a generous pinch of salt, ground black pepper, and a good shake of Tony's (if using).
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer until the beans have completely softened, 1.5-2 hours.
- Cut the sausage into 1/3-inch rounds and then again to form half-circles.
- Add the sausage to the pot and heat through, 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in a few shakes of Tobasco and then serve over quinoa.
Yields: 10 servings
Estimated time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Calories: 301.9 | Fat: 8.2g | Fiber 6.6g | Protein 14.5g | Carbs 43.4g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 8