Friday, July 12, 2013

Roasted Fennel, Sausage and Quinoa Chopped

Sausage, Fennel and Quinoa Chopped

You know those days. You've had a long day at work. Probably got home later than you wanted. You may or may not have time for your usual workout. And you just don't feel like spending an hour or two in the kitchen braising a delicious meal from scratch, so you reach a frozen package of...

There's a solution: make a chopped.

"Chopped" is the term KC The Kitchen Chopper uses for the custom dishes she whips up on her blog. A lot of her recipes are basically like deluxe entree salads, but she also uses the "chopped" monicker for things like pizza toppings and even dessert (the Pineapple Blueberry Cinnamon Yogurt Dessert Chopped with fresh mint sounds really good).

Her dishes are the ideal solution for home cooks who are short on time: they can be whipped up quickly but with healthy, hearty and fresh ingredients. There's really no excuse for microwaving some nasty Frankenmeal when you can have a chopped on the table in a pretty short amount of time.

Ir recently made her Roasted Fennel, Sausage, Quinoa Chopped and was rather impressed with it. Chris said it reminded him of Thanksgiving with its dried cranberries, onions and molasses-sweetened dressing. Her recipes include optional ingredients as "zing factors," but I say don't you dare leave them out. The sundried tomatoes and turmeric zingers in this dish gave the dressing unique flavor.

I made a few modifications from KC's original recipe: I roasted the fennel almost twice as long to get it lightly browned, although that might be because my oven seems to be crapping out lately. I also added more olives, substituted fresh chicken sausage from Whole Foods for the pre-cooked kind and used pecorino romano instead of parmesan. Despite my longer roasting time, this still came together pretty quickly.

Roasted Fennel, Sausage and Quinoa Chopped
Adapted from a recipe by KC The Kitchen Chopper

Makes 4 servings

1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. (2 large) mild Italian chicken sausages, removed from casings
4 cups baby arugula
½ cup cooked quinoa
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
6-8 large green olives, finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 oz. pecorino romano cheese, finely grated

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. molasses
2 tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ tsp.ground turmeric

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place chopped fennel on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Roast until slightly caramelized, tossing halfway through, about 15 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon.

3. In a large salad bowl, combine the roasted fennel, cooked sausage, arugula, cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, olives, scallions, and grated cheese.

4. Make the dressing: In a small microwave safe bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, molasses and sundried tomatoes. Microwave on high for 15 seconds. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve in large bowls.


  1. I couldn't be happier with your translation of this Chopped recipe. Looking to pay it forward to you in the future. Truly grateful for your support of the Chopped concept!

  2. This was a great dish! It really does taste like Thanksgiving. I was surprised to discover it was so easy to prepare. I hope you'll make more of KC's "choppeds!"