This Crockpot Sweet and Smoky Quinoa with Kale and Chicken Sausage couldn’t be easier to make. It’s full of fall produce, including butternut squash and kale, and offers the perfect balance of sweet and smoky flavors thanks to apple chicken sausage and a splash of liquid smoke.
The classic American holiday is here–well, later this week it is. We’re heading up to northern Connecticut to spend it with my husband’s side of the family this year, including his parents who are flying in from Florida (I won’t discuss how jealous I am of them right about now as chilly mornings make their return).
I usually always contribute a dessert to the Thanksgiving spread because, well, holiday desserts are so difficult for me to pass up. I absolutely love searching high and low for the perfect festive and sweet recipe to share with family members. This year, I’m going to try out this cinnamon pie I featured in my latest Friday Favorites. I mean…cinnamon pie?! I’ll report back on how it works out.
In the meantime, I completed my usual weekly meal prep on Sunday morning/afternoon. I know full well that I’ll indulge a bit later this week, so I made sure to incorporate plenty of veggies in the meals I made this week.
Enter this healthy, easy, and nutritious Crockpot Sweet and Smoky Quinoa with Kale and Chicken Sausage. You can seriously just throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, give it a quick stir, then walk away. When you return, your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing and you’ll be left with this delicious all-in-one meal you can pack for lunches or reheat for dinners.
I love the flavor combination of smoky and sweet, and this dish fits the bill. The real star of this dish is the liquid smoke, and I highly, highly recommend not leaving it out. You can find liquid smoke in a small glass bottle at most grocery stores, usually near the barbecue sauce and other condiments.
The pop of sweetness from the chicken apple sausage (I purchased mine at Trader Joe’s and also like the Aidell’s brand) is perfect with the smoky flavor, and the butternut squash, quinoa, and kale are natural fits.
This recipe makes enough for plenty of leftovers throughout the week. Since I know this week will be busy with the holiday, the last thing I want to do is spend it cooking. Let’s be real, I’m saving all of my energy for baking said cinnamon pie and possibly a holiday decorating marathon following Thanksgiving.
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 12 ounces apple chicken sausage (precooked), sliced
- 16 ounces tricolor or regular quinoa
- 20 ounces butternut squash
- 6 cups kale
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- Chop the onion and mince the garlic gloves. Chop the chicken sausage and set it aside for later.
- Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the chicken sausage in a crockpot and cook on HIGH for 1 hour 40 minutes. Add the chicken sausage, stir, and cook for 20 minutes longer or until chicken sausage is heated through.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired, and enjoy!
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