Smoked Kielbasa, Kale and Cider Quinoa Skillet
Despite the use of cider, this all-in-one meal is hardly sweet, yet the broth has a uniquely delicious flavor.  A large pot may be used for this recipe if you don't have a wide-bottomed skillet with a lid.  If the surface area of the pot is smaller than the size specified below, you may wish to remove the lid at the end of the cooking time and simmer off some of the broth. It’s also okay to leave the mixture a little soupy.  Just serve in a pasta dish or bowl with some crusty bread to sop up the flavorful liquid.

Yields 4-6 servings.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 12-14 ounces smoked kielbasa, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds (see notes for optional chicken addition)
  • 4 cups lightly packed chopped kale (from a 5 to 6-ounce bunch; strip leaves from tough stems)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained well
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet (12 to 14-inch diameter with a lid) over medium-high heat.  Optionally, you may use a large pot.  Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until translucent.  Add the kielbasa and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 8 minutes or until golden brown. Add the cider and chicken broth, deglazing the pot as you go, and then stir in the kale and sage. (The kale will shrink down as it wilts.)
  2. Turn up the heat to bring the liquid to a boil. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa, cover the pan, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until the quinoa has absorbed most of the liquid and is tender, 20-25 minutes. If you find that the quinoa is tender but there is excess broth in the pan, boil the mixture for a minute or so with the lid off.
  3. Stir in the cranberries, if using, and then remove the skillet from the heat and let sit with the lid on for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Depending on the type of broth used, you may wish to lightly season with salt and pepper.


  • I often make this with 6 to 7 ounces smoked kielbasa and 3/4 pound chopped boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  The sausage and the chicken can be added to the skillet at the same time.  Chicken thighs work especially well because they don’t dry out as the quinoa cooks.
  • A sprinkle of sage leaves (or even some uncooked chopped kale) brightens up the presentation of the finished dish.

More recipes at