Linguica with onions and peppers is often part of a larger Cape Verdean style breakfast, but can be served any time of day. The linguica is cut into slices, sauteed with onions, garlic and peppers, and simmered in a savory sauce made of tomato and spices. This versatile linguica recipe can be served over rice with fried eggs on the side, or in a warm Portuguese roll.
Eating this dish growing up always marked the start of a great weekend. I remember walking to Fox Point with my grandmother (neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island) to buy linguica (or chourico) and Portuguese rolls the day before. I always got chosen for these walks because I was one of the grandkids who complained the least. I have zero issues with getting some steps in exchange for food.
My grandmother’s recipe yields much more than this one because our family is quite large, but my recipe is scaled down to 4 modest portions. This recipe can easily be doubled if you’re looking to feed more people.
What should I serve with this linguica recipe?
Linguica with onions and peppers is often served for breakfast in Cape Verdean households, although it really can be eaten at any time of day. For breakfast it’s often served over white rice, with eggs with a Portuguese roll or freshly steamed Cape Verdean Cuscuz on the side.
Another popular way of serving linguica with peppers is in a warm Portuguese roll.
What is linguica, and can I use chourico for this recipe?
Linguica is a spicy Portuguese smoked sausage. It’s often used interchangeably with chourico because the two are so similar. The only discernible difference that I can see is that linguica is slightly thinner (it’s made with a pork casing) and chourico is fatter (it’s made with a cow’s casing). I don’t notice any difference in taste between the two.
For this recipe you can use linguica or chourico as both of these cured meats are eaten in Cape Verde and prepared the same way. Linguica/chourico is also added to cachupa (the national dish of Cape Verde) and other dishes like caldo verde and feijoada.
What ingredients do I need to make linguica with onions and peppers?
- 1 pound of linguica or chourico – this should yield about 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large tomato cut into quarters (or you can use 2 small ones like shown in the photos)
- 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste – use 1 tablespoon for a lighter sauce (like in the photos) or 2 for a heavier sauce
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 6 or 7 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, julienned – you can use red or green, I use half of a red pepper and half of a green pepper
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt- I like to start with 1 teaspoon and add more as needed
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- optional: 1 packet of sazon – my preference is the yellow box that’s labeled ‘con azafran’ (saffron)
- 1 cup of water
- a few tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
Linguica with onions and peppers – recipe steps
Step 1: Start the base
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, quartered tomato, tomato paste and dry seasonings. Let everything cook until a sauce forms. You can break the tomato up with a wooden spoon to help it cook down faster.
Step 2: Saute the onions peppers and linguica
Add the onions and a splash of water to the sauce and cook for about 1 minute. Then add the peppers and linguica. Keep the heat at medium and toss the linguica, onions and peppers in the tomato sauce. Now add the fresh cilantro.
Step 3: Add liquid and simmer
Once the linguica starts sizzling, add the rest of the water to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes. You can lift the lid to stir occasionally, then re-cover and continue to let simmer. You’ll only need to lift the lid and stir it once or twice.
I like to turn the flame off after about 10 minutes of simmering, but you can cook slightly longer if you would like. Because I don’t like overcooked linguica, I don’t recommend letting it simmer beyond 15 minutes.
Once the linguica, peppers and onions finish simmering, lift the lid and taste the sauce. Add more salt and pepper if needed and give one last stir before turning the heat off. You should have a decent amount of sauce in the pan and you’ll notice that the onions and peppers will cook down slightly.
Step 4: Serve over rice
I love to serve linguica with peppers and onions over white rice because of the way that the rice absorbs the sauce. Speaking of rice, you don’t need to get fancy either, reheated white rice will work just fine! This is the way it was done when I was growing up because we always had leftover rice! My grandmother would fry up some onions in olive oil and then reheat leftover rice in the same frying pan.
If you don’t have leftover rice and need to make a fresh pot, the extra effort is well worth it for this recipe. As I mentioned earlier, this Cape Verdean breakfast is not complete without some warm Portuguese rolls or fresh-steamed cuscuz!
Alternately, you can skip the extra step of making rice and serve the linguica and peppers in a warm Portuguese roll! This recipe can be eaten any time of day!
Did you grow up eating linguica with peppers? Share your story in the comments below and don’t forget to share this recipe on Facebook!
Cape Verdean Style Linguiça with Peppers and Onions
- 1 pound linguiça or chouriço
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large tomato cut into quarters
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 6-7 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 bell pepper julienned (red or green is fine, I use ½ of each)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 packet sazon yellow box with azafran, saffron-optional
- 1 cup water
- a few tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, quartered tomato, tomato paste and dry seasonings. Let everything cook until a sauce forms. You can break the tomato up with a wooden spoon to help it cook down faster.
- Add the onions and a splash of water to the sauce and cook for about 1 minute. Then add the peppers and linguiça. Keep the heat at medium and toss the linguiça, onions and peppers in the tomato sauce. Add the fresh cilantro.
- Once you start to smell the linguiça, add the rest of the water to the pan, cover it and let simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Lift the lid to stir occasionally and then re-cover and continue to let simmer (you'll only need to do this once or twice).
- Once the linguiça, peppers and onions are done simmering, lift the lid and taste the sauce. Add more salt and pepper if needed and give one last stir before turning the heat off.
- Serve over white rice or in a warm Portuguese roll.