30 Minutes or Less Dinner Make Ahead - Heat & Serve Recipes

Sweet Sausage Paella

Sweet Sausage Paella served in a large bowl and garnished with fresh parsley.

Paella doesn’t usually come to mind when we think about kid friendly food. It probably doesn’t come to mind because the traditional recipe can be quite spicy (and let’s be honest, it’s not just kids that are opposed to spicy – lots of adults are too.) But this recipe for Sausage Paella is a milder version of this classic Spanish dish that omits all of the spicy heat and still packs a lot of flavor.

This sausage paella recipe swaps out the typical chorizo sausage for sweet Italian sausage and only has 5 total ingredients. For those of you skimming who just missed that… it only has 5 ingredients! I’ll also put it out there right up front that it takes only 30 minutes to make and can be made ahead of time too. And just like that, this easy sausage paella recipe becomes the perfect weeknight family dinner.

About the Ingredients

Sweet Italian Sausage – I like the sausage to rice ratio to be heavy in this recipe because with only 5 ingredients there isn’t much on the plate. So if 2 pounds of sausage sounds like a lot, it is. But this way everyone gets plenty of protein.

Yellow Spanish Rice – I use the Goya Yellow Rice Mix . These portions are small, less than 1 cup of rice; so you’ll need 2 boxes.

Diced tomatoes with garlic – often these cans of tomatoes also have some Italian herbs in them which is totally fine. The more flavor, the better.

Marinated red peppers – I use Cento Marinated Pepper Strips. The description on the jar says they are marinated with “zesty” flavor but don’t worry, they have no heat to them at all.

Fresh parsley – chopped fresh parsley makes a big difference here. It brightens up the dish so much. Avoid substituting dried parsley here if you can.

A close up of Sweet Sausage Paella on a plate. Showing Sausage, yellow rice and peppers.

How to Make Sausage Paella

Begin by slicing the raw sausage into 1/2 inch thick coins. Add the sausage pieces to a hot dutch oven or very large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. You don’t need any oil in the pan for this because the fat from the sausage will be plenty. Brown the sausage until it’s completely cooked through. Once its cooked move the sausage to a plate.

Now add the uncooked rice to the same hot pot and let it toast just a little to deepen the nutty flavor. Pour in 4 cups of water and the marinating oil from the jar of peppers (don’t add the peppers just yet, hold onto those.) Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the rice for about 20 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

The last thing to do is add back the sausage, pour in the pepper strips and season with the chopped parsley. You should also taste for salt and pepper but chances are you won’t need any. The seasoning in the yellow rice should give your paella the perfect flavor balance.

Recipe Substitutions & Variations

A lot of people believe paella includes shellfish because in the United States it’s often served that way. Truly authentic paella however does not include any seafood or shellfish. Be that as it may… if you like shellfish I say add it! I sometimes swap out half of the sausage for a pound of shrimp. Just as you cook the sausage alone in this recipe and set it aside, do the same for any seafood you add. For shrimp, I season it with a little sweet paprika, garlic powder and salt while I cook it.

Need a little green in your food? I do sometimes too. Peas are a great compliment to sausage paella. Add 3/4 cup of frozen peas after your rice finishes cooking. Just make sure they heat all the way through before you serve your paella.

A large white ceramic bowl with Sweet Sausage Paella garnished with parsley.

Make Ahead Instructions

This paella recipe reheats perfectly so it is a great make ahead meal. Prepare the recipe as written, all the way to completion. Let it cool to room temperature and then transfer it to the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

As with lots of leftovers, the flavors of this paella deepen as they have time to sit. To reheat your paella transfer it to an oven safe dish and put it in a 375°F oven covered with a lid or foil. Bake the dish for 30 minutes, stirring once at minute 15. If the rice is looking a little dry you can add a splash of chicken stock to moisten it.

FAQ’s and Recipe Tips

What is the best way to slice raw sausage?

The quickest way to do it is to use a super sharp knife. Keep a paper towel handy to clean the blade as needed. A clean, sharp blade will make nicer slices and your sausage will hold its shape better.

What is the best sausage for paella?

Paella is typically made with chorizo sausage, which I highly recommend. Chorizo is quite spicy though so if you’re serving paella to anyone with spice sensitivity I recommend sticking to sweet Italian sausage.

What is the most important ingredient in paella?

The rice. Yellow rice gets its color from the seasonings it has in it – namely saffron. These seasonings have a big flavor impact on paella so I don’t recommend substituting it for an alternative rice.

What is the difference between paella and jambalaya?

The main difference is the spices used. Paella gets it’s flavor from the yellow rice (yellow from saffron) while jambalaya get’s it’s flavor from spicy cayenne.

What does traditional paella have in it?

Traditional paella consists of meat, vegetables and rice all in one dish. The meat combination is often a meat and seafood combination.

A bite of sweet Italian sausage and yellow rice on a brass fork.

The Recipe for Sausage Paella

The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing.  If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought and if you missed the classic heat of the chorizo. Enjoy!

Sweet Sausage Paella served in a large bowl and garnished with fresh parsley.

Sweet Sausage Paella

This Sweet Sausage Paella omits all of the spicy heat of the classic Spanish dish by swapping the traditional ingredient of chorizo for sweet sausage. The recipe still packs a lot of flavor with only 5 ingredients and cooks in under 30 minutes; perfect for weeknight dinners.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs sweet Italian sausage sliced in coins, raw
  • 14 oz yellow Spanish style rice
  • 12 oz marinated pepper strips marinating juices reserved
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes with garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a medium size Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Add the sweet sausage sliced into coins and continue browning it until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage to a plate.
    2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
  • Add the rice and toast for 1 to 2 minutes.
    14 oz yellow Spanish style rice
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juices and the marinating juices from the peppers (but not the peppers) and an additional 4 cups of water. Bring everything to a boil.
    14 oz diced tomatoes with garlic, 12 oz marinated pepper strips
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Continue to boil for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is all absorbed.
  • Remove the lid and add in the sausage, peppers and parsley. Serve immediately.
    12 oz marinated pepper strips, ¼ cup fresh parsley, 2 lbs sweet Italian sausage

Notes

Make ahead:  Prepare the recipe as written, all the way to completion. Let it cool to room temperature and then transfer it to the refrigerator in an air-tight container. To reheat your paella, transfer it to an oven safe dish and put it in a 375°F oven covered with a lid or foil. Bake the dish for 30 minutes, stirring once at minute 15. If the rice is looking a little dry you can add a splash of chicken stock to moisten it.
Keyword one dish, sausage

More Recipes You Might Like

2 Comments

  1. You are so right, this is such an easy recipe. I love paella but this version is even better for those who don’t like or can’t tolerate spice. I love it.

    1. Always better to leave the spice out of the recipe and let individuals spice up their own serving with seasonings and sauces.

Leave a Comment | Did you make this recipe? Comments encourage other readers to try the recipe too. Thank you so much for your support!

You may also like...

Apple Fritter Skillet Cake Recipe Make Ahead Back to School Dinners 10 Healthy Summer Dinner Recipes Best Sloppy Joe Recipe Barbecue Sandwich Recipes