Guilt Free Bandeja Paisa w/ Homemade Turkey Sausage- Breakfasts of the World Challenge

Bandeja Paisa. A traditional Colombian dish that you may, or may not have heard of before. A plate almost cascading over the rim with steak, rice, well seasoned beans, topped with a fried egg, roasted plantain, charred chorizo (sausage), the optional slice of avocado and of course, the ingredient you automatically stuff into your mouth as soon as you begin to eat, the fried pork belly. What began as an improvised dish of left overs soon became a staple breakfast dish for the South American country. Chase it with a shot of aguardiente (the Colombian version of Sambuca) to feel like a local in the birth place of the dish, Medellin, Colombia.

Nothing about this dish screams healthy, in fact, it happens to contain quite a bit of grease, marvelous, marinated and explosively delicious grease. This staple breakfast dish is what it is, it is not pretty to photograph, it is not to be tampered with. It is what it is. As a kid I enjoyed this dish at local Colombian spots in Queens, NY, but until yesterday had never had a healthy version of it. There's no way to make a healthy dish with a spectacularly fried pork belly centerpiece. But when I volunteered to participate as a judge in Very Good Recipes fun food blogging competition Breakfasts of the World Challenge, my heart immediately knew which road to take.

 But having promised myself there would be no fried pork belly in the near future, or fried anything really, I would have to reinvent or reconstruct the dish. I began with the fried pork belly, it had to go. We tearfully said our goodbyes to the drool inducing cuts and made a beeline towards the poultry section. Turkey would be replacing the traditional red meat in the dish, as well as the chorizo. The next best thing would be turkey sausage.

I'm going to pause right here. Frozen turkey sausage is one of the most disgusting things I have encountered as a gourmet. The smell is a combination of kitty litter and ammonia while the texture itself, well, let's just say that even if doused with Vermont's finest maple syrup, it would still not eliminate my gag reflex from the aroma alone.

I think I've made it pretty clear how much I despise turkey sausage. So I asked Tim to come up with a turkey sausage recipe that would not take away from the integrity of the dish. In conclusion, I now LOVE turkey sausage and have had it for breakfast two days in a row =]

The turkey breast was cooked perfectly, moist and juicy. We poached the egg instead of frying it to not add any extra calories, but to make it even healthier feel fry to scramble some egg whites using coconut oil.  And of course instead of white rice we used a delicious blend we recently discovered of short and long grain brown rice, which paired delicately with the nicely seasoned red kidney beans. The flavors came together magically, although I came up with the concept and planned out the dish, Tim executed the best breakfast I had ever consumed. He took what was simply an idea and made it happen. And by the way, we do not own a stand mixer or sausage maker, they were shaped by the hands of the man I love =]

If I have ever urged you to try a breakfast dish, this is one of those dishes. I was excited for breakfast the next day for another portion controlled helping of a brilliantly executed dish. Simple yet absolutely delicious. Feel free to add that slice of avocado and a roasted plantain for a nice sweet and salty balance.

And if you have the time, enter the contest! It's so easy! All you have to do is come up with a breakfast dish. It can be either sweet or savory, may be a dish from your native country, a fusion dish, or one you came up with. As long as it is original, and has some type of twist no matter how small, to make it your own.

I have the pleasure of sharing the "Judges Table" with these fabulous food bloggers, don't forget to stop by their sites and poke around a bit =] 

Kiri from Healthy Foodie Travels
Fran├žoise from A French Cook Diary
Judy from Jude's Juice
Leslie from Cooking Memoirs
Meta from Cooking with Barry and Meta
Mimi from Mimi Cooks
Simona from Briciole
Drina from Eaternal Zest

The Rules -
  • There must be at least one picture in your recipe, and both the recipe and picture need to be your own. If your recipe is inspired by another, please mention it in your recipe.
  • You cannot use an already published recipe to participate in the challenge, you need to publish a new recipe (otherwise there's no challenge!)
  • We would love to have participations from all around the world, including from blogs in languages other than English. Please do include an English translation of your recipe in your post though. If you need help with the translation (proofreading etc.), we will be glad to help if we can.
  • You can participate with only one recipe.
You can participate from Monday January 9th 2012 until Monday January 30th 2012 included.
For more information on how to participate, prizes, or how you can be a judge for next month's challenge, click here

Guilt-Free Bandeja Paisa

Red Kidney Beans
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Mirepoix of 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 celery, 1 fennel top, 2 leeks small rough chop.
  1. Soak kidney beans in cold water for at least 4 1/2 hours.
  2. Bring water and mirepoix to a boil in a large pot, and simmer for 45 minutes. 
  3. Go ahead and add your beans to it, bringing it back to a boil, until beans are nice and tender for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. 
Whole Grain Brown Rice Blend
  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt to taste. 
  • Add 1 cup of and boil rice for 1 minute, then bring down to a simmer and cover, 50 minutes to an hour. Let stand for ten minutes then fluff with a fork. 
Turkey Sausage
  • 1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey
  • 1/4 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • salt to taste

  1. Mix ground meat and seasonings until well combined. Using ten inches of plastic wrap laid out flat, take 3 oz of turkey sausage mix, roughly formed into a sausage by hand.
  2. Place it at the end of the wrap, closest to you.
  3. Start with the first initial fold, pulling back the mixture, until tight and formed together.
  4. Pinching the remaining ends of the plastic wrap. Rolling consistently through the end of the plastic wrap. Pinch and pull the ends, and roll until the sausage is a tight cylinder. 
  5. Tie off the ends, making sure it is air tight, drop into poaching water for about 5-7 minutes. (Doneness of your sausage is determined by thickness.)
Turkey Breast Filet 
  • 2 turkey breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Season filets delicately with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat a grill pan to medium high, drizzle filets with a touch of olive oil and grill for a minute and a half on each side. 
Poached Egg
  • 1 large egg
  • Enough water to fill a small pot 3/4 of the way
  1. Crack an egg and gently drop into water at a simmer, being careful to not break the yolk. 
  2. Poach in liquid for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve. 


  1. Looks fantastic! I love how you healthied this up :) I've never had Latin American breakfast other than Mexican, but it sure looks like I'm missing out :)

  2. Gotta love the homemade turkey sausage. You're absolutely right about the store bought stuff. I personally can't stand it, but my kids and hubby like it. Urgh. I bet they would love these even more. :) Well done. ~ Ramona

  3. Ohh how I would love to dig in that plate if I could..:)) Love this idea and your photos, and instructions..awesome post of 2012!!!

  4. Oh man this looks great love latin food fabulous instructions too!

  5. That looks like a great breakfast. I love the idea of making your own turkey sausage - I am a huge fan of sausage!

  6. I miss cured pork, especially bacon, too. This is the kind of thing I need to be eating in the morning.

  7. Beautiful pictures! My ideal breakfast has loads of meat...sooo good!

  8. This looks like a wonderful breakfast. Tim does have some talent and so sweet of him to come up with the turkey sausage for this plating. Great that you landed on healthy as well as tasty way to convert the unhealthy dish. Enjoy the world challenge, I really enjoyed this post!

  9. I'd much rather have your lightened up version that the traditional fare. Tim's sausage is a winner!

  10. I didn't dare try and conquer it when I went to Colombia! I could probably handle this, though. Nicely done!

  11. I'm thrilled at the wonderful feed back for a dish Tim didn't even think he plated nicely. I am discovering that healthier alternatives can often be more delicious than the original dish. But I do miss that pork too James! =]

  12. Great dish and I do love your homemade sausage. I am in good company in the Top D on foodbuzz today congrats

  13. I think this looks great! And you did a great job lightening up this dish. I like it because it always seems like a fun little challenge! Oh, and I like the new look on your site! :)

  14. Homemade sausage! Yummy... Great job... and your photographs are just brilliant! :)

  15. I like how you took a traditional recipe and turned around to be a healthy one. good job, and the photos are great.


Thanks for stopping by! Got a question, comment, recipe suggestion? I'd love to hear from you. =]