Skip to main content

Paprika Shrimp and Sausage Quinoa Paella

Paprika Shrimp and Sausage Quinoa Paella. The winning dish for The Today Show recipe contest: Healthy One Pot Meals. only 380 calories, 20 minutes and one pot!

Life’s funny, isn’t it? One minute you’re sitting there enjoying a nice Mother’s Day breakfast that your husband made you, and the next minute you’re talking to The Today Show and agreeing to take a last minute flight to JFK so that you can stand behind a podium for 3 minutes and pretty much say zero words on National Television. Something like that.

 Today Collage

Photo credit: Erwin Laureano

The real prize in this competition was the journey. I flew to New York on Tuesday, was able to have dinner with my new friend Ashely, and drinks with my old friend David. You could pretty much preface any request with, "wanna a free trip to New York and have dinner and drinks with some friends?" and I’d pretty much say yes to whatever followed.


Wednesday morning I was taken to NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, through the celebrity filled green room, and into hair and make up. Then up to a tiny studio that they referred to as The Spa, which included no studio audience, just lots of producers, cameras and a beautiful camera friendly kitchen. This was all for Joy Bauers Joy-full Cook Off. She wanted healthy one pot meals that where easy and family friendly. She choose my dish, along with two other amazing dishes to be taste tested on live TV by Kathie Lee and Hoda, who would choose the winner.

Paprika Shrimp and Sausage Quinoa Paella. The winning dish for The Today Show recipe contest: Healthy One Pot Meals. only 380 calories, 20 minutes and one pot!

The other dishes were amazing, and to be honest, I didn’t really care who won. I’d already collected my prize of flight to New York, hotel room, and dinner and drinks with friends, I was all set. But it turns out, Kathie Lee and Hoda are huge fans of skinny shrimp dishes and choose mine. I won!

Here’s clip of me saying pretty much nothing on the Today Show and winning a basket of NBC related swag:

Joy-ful Cook Off


And here is the winning dish, 380 calories per serving, gluten free, dairy free, 20 minutes, one pot.

Paprika Shrimp and Sausage Quinoa Paella

Yield: yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 380 calories


  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and devined
  • ¼ tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika, plus ¼ tsp, divided
  • ¼ tsp onion powder, plus ¼ tsp, divided
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 8 ounces pre-cooked low fat chicken sausage, sliced
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • pinch saffron (about 10 threads)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 2/3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup peas (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsly, chopped


  1. Place shrimp in a small bowl, sprinkle with ¼ tsp sweet paprika, ¼ tsp smoked paprika and ¼ tsp onion powder, toss to coat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet (with a lid) over medium high heat, cook shrimp until seared, about 3 minutes per side (don’t over cook). Remove from pan, set aside.
  3. Add chicken sausage, cook until browned, remove from pan, set aside.
  4. Add the onion and bell peppers, cook, stirring frequently, until onions and peppers have softened, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add garlic, tomatoes and tomato paste, stir until combined.
  6. Add saffron, salt, pepper, remaining smoked paprika, and onion powder, chicken broth and peas, bring to a simmer. Add quinoa stir and evenly distribute quinoa. Add the lid to the pan at a vent, adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook without stirring for 16-18 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked through and the liquid has absorbed.
  7. Place the shrimp and sausage on top, replace lid and cook for 1 minute or until shrimp and sausage is warmed.
  8. Sprinkle with parsley just prior to serving.

Chicken Sausage and Safron Shrimp Quinoa Paella


Similar Articles


carrian May 16, 2013 um 1:18 pm

You did amazing. I am so jealous. Go ahead and just pass on my name will ya? FOR REAL. And ps, your photography is not fair. Can I come visit and learn?!!!


Jackie May 16, 2013 um 3:25 pm

You’re so sweet! I didn’t really do anything but stand there, I wish they would have talked to me at least! Thanks for the photo compliment, I always feel like I suck, just trying to get better one step at a time 🙂


Gerry @ Foodness Gracious May 16, 2013 um 4:12 pm

That will go down as your easiest, sweetest gig everrrrrr! Awesome job and congrats on being the winner 🙂


Laura May 16, 2013 um 4:21 pm

I probably would have said something stupid like "I carried a watermelon" anyways. You did great!


Laura May 16, 2013 um 4:22 pm

And congrats! 🙂


Jackie May 17, 2013 um 11:27 am

I totally laughed out loud at that 🙂


Kristina Vanni May 16, 2013 um 4:22 pm

Holy cow, your photo and styling looks better than on the show! Great job 🙂 I love knowing the calorie count and will be making this soon!


Julie @ Table for Two May 16, 2013 um 4:44 pm

I probably wouldn’t have said anything either. Just been like deer in headlights. That clip was hilarious – Hoda and Kathie are hilarious. You go girl! Congrats 🙂 🙂


Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious May 17, 2013 um 5:20 am

This is so great, on so many levels. Congratulations!


Maggie May 17, 2013 um 7:05 am



Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet May 17, 2013 um 8:07 am

Congrats, Jackie!!! Wooohoo! You were amazing!
And this paella – oh yeah, it’s happening!


RavieNomNoms May 17, 2013 um 8:22 am

Look at you! You are famous!!! CONGRATS!

This dish looks so delicious, nicely done!


ashley May 17, 2013 um 8:44 am

Hi Jackie! I saw you on the show yesterday and instantly thought that I needed to try this recipe out and am going to tonight! I am so excited but had a couple of questions. 1.) Did you use mushroom on the show instead of bell peppers? Could I use both or do you think that would be overkill? 2.) Is there anything I can substitute for saffron? I really don’t feel like going to whole foods today.

Thank you!


Jackie May 17, 2013 um 8:55 am

Thanks Ashely! You can totally leave the saffron out, it’s insanely expensive but I already had some and it’s traditional in a paella, so I used it. You could totally use mushrooms. I think with this dish, the more vegetables the better! Next time I think I’m also going to add some asparagus and maybe some fresh corn.


Bree {Skinny Mommy} May 17, 2013 um 9:19 am

Your dish rocked it–congrats!


Dan From Platter Talk May 17, 2013 um 12:58 pm

Congratulations on such a well-deserved accomplishment! Your blog rocks, as does this latest post and recipe, I can’t wait to try!


Maggie Lynch May 17, 2013 um 8:59 pm

I saw you on TV! I did laugh that you got to say no words…but I said, "Hey, I totally know that girl" to my kids. Then they asked how and I said high school and then I counted the years…yikes! That was super fun and I can’t wait to say that more and more often! I also yelled, "she won!" And I also love low calorie, one pot, fast, shrimp dishes-jackpot!


Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious May 17, 2013 um 10:10 pm

You may have had no words but you were hot as hell! And dude, congrats on the win! I totally knew you were going to win – how could you not?! 🙂


Cassie | Bake Your Day May 18, 2013 um 6:51 am

You were made for the TV screen, I know it. This is amazing and I’m so glad you had a great trip to NYC!


Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. May 18, 2013 um 10:41 pm

Ahhh! You are amazing, words or no words! Congrats on the win too! This looks so good!


claire @ the realistic nutritionist May 19, 2013 um 4:46 am



SharonN May 19, 2013 um 11:54 am

Hi Jackie, I’m excited to try this tomorrow night! Question for you, are you saying that we should have 1 cup uncooked quinoa, and put it in it’s own pot to cook with the peas and chicken broth? (and other flavors)?

I’ve never cooked quinoa with anything other than water, so I just wanted to check with you.



Jackie May 19, 2013 um 12:39 pm

Yes, put one cup of dry quinoa in there and it will cook with the broth and tomatoes. I like cooking quinoa with broth, gives it great flavors.


Belinda Mcclure May 20, 2013 um 6:10 am

The Sunday edition of Today debuted on September 20, 1987. Five years later on August 1, 1992, the Saturday edition debuted expanding the Today schedule to seven days a week. The Sunday broadcast was originally 90 minutes, until the expansion of Meet the Press to a full hour in 1992; it now airs for one hour, and the Saturday broadcast airs for two hours.


ashley – baker by nature May 20, 2013 um 7:39 pm

I was JUST thinking about you earlier and how happy I was we got to meet up again! You were adorable on the show, and this dish is a knock out winner!!!


Lisa Leake May 24, 2013 um 2:46 pm

Can’t wait to try this…just printed! Congrats again!! 🙂


Jackie May 25, 2013 um 8:00 am

Thank you Lisa! You’re so sweet 🙂


Paprika Shrimp and Sausage Quinoa Paella | MBSI… July 20, 2013 um 8:31 pm

[…] Life's funny, isn't it? One minute you're sitting there enjoying a nice Mother's Day breakfast that your husband made you, and the next minute you're talking  […]


Nik January 5, 2014 um 5:02 am

I just made this yesterday (I used more medium shrimp, instead of fewer large shrimp, because that’s what I had)… it was really good, but mine turned out just SLIGHTLY soupy… if I make it again, I’m definitely gonna cut back on the liquid. Also, in case anyone’s interested, supposedly the acid in tomatoes inhibit the absorption of liquids by rice or dried beans (I guess it would be the same with quinoa)… might it be better to toss in the tomato AFTER the quinoa is done? That might screw up the texture and all… idk…


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.