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An overhead shot of a finished Italian chicken sausage and quinoa skillet fills a large black cast iron skillet that sits atop a creamy white textured surface. Melted fresh mozzarella tops the skillet dinner with crushed red chili flakes, thinly sliced basil, and grated parmesan used for garnish. A small wooden pinch bowl filled with crushed red chili flakes and loose fresh basil leaves surround the skillet. A blue and white plaid linen napkin is tied around the skillet handle and a wooden serving spoon rests inside of the skillet.

20-Minute Italian Chicken Sausage Quinoa Skillet (aka Our Fave Back-Pocket Weeknight Dinner!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop, Skillet Recipe
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Italian Chicken Sausage and Quinoa Skillet is my back pocket recipe for super busy weeknights. It’s loaded with feel-good ingredients, like quinoa, shredded kale, bell peppers, baby portobello mushrooms, & Italian chicken sausage. Simmer quickly in spicy arrabbiata sauce & top with melty mozzarella for an irresistibly cheesy finish! A quick & easy, super satisfying, 20-minute one-skillet dinner.

The beauty of this skillet dinner is the fact that it’s super flexible. Feel free to freestyle based on your preferences or to use ingredients you already have on hand. Refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for suggested simple substitutions + ingredient swaps & meal prep guidance. Vegetarian & vegan options provided, too!


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium red or orange bell peppers, deseeded & diced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flake
  • 12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fully-cooked Italian chicken sausage links, thinly sliced (or flavor of choice)
  • 2 cups finely shredded kale
  • 2 cups jarred tomato-based pasta sauce of choice (marinara, Arrabiata, etc.)
  • optional: 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: crushed red chili flakes, thinly sliced basil, grated parmesan, etc



  • Cook the quinoa: Add 2/3 cup dry quinoa and 1 1/3 cup water or stock to a small saucepan with a lid. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil (uncovered) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low or medium-low, bringing the quinoa to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat & let stand (covered) for 5 minutes. Uncover & fluff with a fork. Set aside, or store in an individual airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

20-Minute Quinoa Skillet Assembly:

  1. Cook the aromatics: Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion, pepper, chili flakes, & & season with a pinch or two of kosher salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until softened & translucent.
  2. Brown the sausage and mushrooms: Add sliced chicken sausage & sliced baby portobello mushrooms to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook for 5-7 minutes until nicely browned, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, but the sausage & mushrooms will brown faster if you leave them be – this is where the flavor happens, be patient!
  3. Simmer the skillet: Once the sausage & mushrooms are nicely browned, stir the shredded kale, quinoa, & tomato sauce into the sillet. Cook until the kale begins to wilt & the sauce begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. If using, place the cheese over top the skillet & allow it to melt, about 2 minutes longer.
  4. Serve the chicken sausage & quinoa skillet in bowls, topped with freshly chopped basil, additional chili flake, & a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, as desired. Enjoy!


  • Common substitutions: The beauty of this quinoa skillet dinner is the fact that it’s very flexible. You can really throw it together with whatever you have on hand in your fridge & pantry. A few common substitutions:
    • Use whatever sausage you like most, or grab plant-based sausages or plant-based protein substitute for a vegetarian/vegan meal.
    • Swap one or both of the bell peppers with squash, such as zucchini or leftover roasted butternut squash.
    • Hate mushrooms? Leave them out & double down on peppers & onions.
    • Hate kale? Swap it out with another leafy green, such as arugula or spinach.
    • Hate quinoa? Swap it out with your preferred grain of choice, such as cooked brown rice, farro, or orzo.
    • Use whatever jarred tomato sauce you love most – marinara, Arrabiata, etc.
    • Omit cheese altogether for a dairy-free meal, or swap mozzarella with goat cheese or brie for an extra creamy skillet.
  • Storage & Reheating: Leftovers from your chicken sausage quinoa skillet will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
  • Meal prep: If you’d like to do just a little prep in advance to help cut down on the active prep time when you make your Chicken Sausage & Quinoa Skillet, there are a couple of different routes you can go:
    • 15-Minute Meal Prep: Chop the veggies & greens you’ll need for your skillet. Dice a yellow onion. Deseed & dice 2 bell peppers. Thinly slice 12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms. Destem & finely shred 5-6 leaves kale, yielding about 2 cups shredded. Store the chopped veggies in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    • 20-Minute Meal Prep: Cook the quinoa according to Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (5 minutes active prep)