This easy dirty rice with sausage recipe makes a quick and flavorful dish that is full of sausage, rice, and veggies cooking in Cajun spices! It’s easy on the budget, easy to customize with what you have on hand, and works well as a side dish or as a main dish your family will love.
Dirty rice is a staple dish of Cajun cuisine that is super popular across the nation and it’s not hard to see why. Bulk pork sausage, Cajun seasoning, and veggies make this southern rice pilaf flavor packed powerhouse of a dish. Top it off with a good dousing of your favorite hot sauce if you like it hot!
Why is Cajun dirty rice called dirty rice?
The protein in old fashioned dirty rice recipes was actually minced chicken livers. Chicken livers were very economical and flavorful, imparting a distinctive flavor and color which made the rice “dirty.” Today you can find dirty rice recipes with all kinds meat as the protein and I’ve listed some suggestions in the recipe card below.
Side dish or main dish?
This is one of those dishes that has a stick to your ribs kind of goodness. In my house we eat it as a main dish as often as we do a side. As a main I’ll serve it up with a side of succotash salad or black eyed peas and cornbread. I like to serve it as a side along fried fish or chicken. And on Fat Tuesday you’ll also find this on our table with a King Cake for dessert!
How to make it step by step:
Step 1. Brown the ground sausage with the onion and the celery. I like adding these veggies at the beginning of the cooking because they add a lot of flavor. At this point you can drain the fat off the meat if you’d like. I always leave a little bit of the fat in the pan because it helps keep the rice from being as sticky at the end of the cooking time.
Step 2. Add the rice, water, beef bouillon granules, Cajun seasoning and garlic. You can substitute beef broth or chicken broth for the bouillon and water if you prefer.
Step 3. Bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and throw in the chopped bell peppers. Let the rice simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked tender.
Step 4. Remove the pan from the burner and let it sit a few minutes. Then fluff the rice with a fork before serving. You can garnish the dirty rice with sliced green onions or chopped parsley if you like. Serve it up with your favorite hot sauce on the side.
More easy skillet recipes to love:
- Cajun Sausage Alfredo
- One Pot Italian Chicken and Orzo
- Southwestern Egg Roll Bake
- Tater Tot Shepherds Pie
- 1 pound bulk pork sausage*
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups white rice uncooked
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 4 tsp beef bouillon granules
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- sliced green onions
- hot pepper sauce
Brown the sausage with the onion and celery in a large saute pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Break into small pieces as it cooks and cook until no pink remains. Drain off most of the fat from the meat and return to the pan.
Add the rice, water, beef bouillon granules and Cajun seasoning. You can substitute beef broth or chicken broth for the bouillon and water if you prefer.
Bring the sauce and rice to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the chopped bell peppers, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the rice to sit for 4-5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve. Garnish with sliced green onions or chopped fresh parsley. Serve with your favorite hot pepper sauce.
Cajun seasoning: I recommend Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning or Zatarains.
Make it spicier: switch the bulk pork sausage for hot sausage.
Make it more traditional by adding ½ pound of minced chicken livers during step 1.
Make it vegetarian by using Boca Crumbles or another vegetarian ground beef substitute and vegetable broth. If you are using a lower fat content meat, you will need to add a little olive oil to the pan to cook the veggies.
Other suitable meat substitutions would be ground beef, turkey, chicken or sliced smoked sausage. Lots of options with this recipe!
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