Quinoa Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

Hi, my name is Carrie and I love spaghetti.

Spaghetti is truly my favorite food. The noodles. The tomato and meat sauce. It just works so well. And I don’t just love to eat it; I love to cook it too. It got to the point during college where I was only allowed to make it for my roommates once a quarter, because I would try to make it every couple of weeks.

Growing up, my family always made spaghetti with Italian turkey sausage, instead of meatballs. We’re not even a little Italian, so we felt no guilt when we adapted the dish to make it a little quicker to prepare.

Some days, I wake up and know I need to make spaghetti that day. Today was one of those days. I had some Jenni-O Mild Italian Turkey sausage in the freezer, which was perfect. I did not, however, have any pasta in the house. I try not to have very much pasta on hand, since I tend to cook it, and then eat it. Frequent consumption of pasta is not part of the bikini plan. I may not have had pasta in the cabinet, but I did have quinoa.

I use quinoa all the time, and often with some pasta sauce. But I have never used it as a full-on replacement for noodles in spaghetti. I figured it was time to test it out. Not only would I get spaghetti, but I could feel slightly less guilty about eating it, since I was replacing carb-y pasta with carb-y + protein-y quinoa. Problem solved. It was time to cook.

When I make spaghetti, I keep it simple. Italian sausage, store bought sauce and some herbs to dress it up. It’s easy, and it’s delicious.photo copy 5To start, I sautéed some onion, garlic and crushed red pepper with some black pepper and oregano.

photoThen, I squeezed the Italian sausage out of its casings and browned it along with the onion, garlic and herbs.

photo copyAfter browning the Italian sausage, I added the spaghetti sauce. I always use a sauce that is as simple as possible – none of this four cheese or garlic mushroom stuff. Just keep it simple. Tonight, I had about half a tomato in the fridge, so I chunked that up and added it in to the sauce too.

photo copy 2I let this saucy concoction come to a simmer, and then covered it and let it build flavor while I cooked the quinoa.

If you’ve never made quinoa, you cook it just like rice. One cup quinoa, two cups water, bring it to a boil, cover, and don’t uncover, for 15 minutes. Viola, you have quinoa.

photo copy 8I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about this all working and being a satisfactory replacement for my version of traditional spaghetti. In fact, I was relieved when it turned out absolutely delicious. With a small salad, some parmesan cheese and a glass of milk, I had me some healthier comfort food. Quinoa Spaghetti with Italian Sausage for the win!photo copy 7