Sausage and Peppers is a quick and easy sheet pan dinner bursting with Italian flavor!
This Sausage and Peppers recipe with sweet potatoes and tomatoes is all cooked in one pan with minimal prep, ZERO hands-on cooking and easy cleanup! It’s the perfect dinner for busy weeknights and also happens to be MEGA flavorful, comforting, healthy, and versatile as well as low carb and gluten free. You can serve this Sausage, Peppers and Onions plain, loaded in a soft hoagie smothered in melted cheese, mixed into pasta or over mashed potatoes, rice, zoodles, polenta, quinoa or cauliflower rice for a dinner the whole family will love. This Italian Sausage and Peppers recipe also makes excellent meal prep bowls for instant lunch or dinner or you can prep the entire sheet pan ahead of time and just pop it in the oven at dinner time – now that’s winning at life!
SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS Recipe
With everyone in lockdown, it might seem like you’re cooking 200 meals a week – and that’s where sheet pan dinners come to the rescue, including this instant new favorite Sausage and Peppers recipe. Sheet pan meals are healthy, quick, easy, a meal-in one, mostly prep ahead, require no hands-on cooking, a snap to clean and SO versatile. Some of my favorites include:
- Sheet Pan Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi
- Sheet Pan Fajita Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter
- Sheet Pan Parmesan Pesto Chicken and Veggies
- Sheet Pan Chili Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Green Beans
- Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken & Potatoes
- Sheet Pan Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon with Crispy Parmesan Panko & Broccoli
And of course, now this new Baked Sausage and Peppers recipe! This recipe is a nod to classic Italian Sausage and Peppers but made easier all baked on one sheet pan.
The sausage, peppers, onions, sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes are tossed with herbs, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, splashes of red wine vinegar and lemon juice then cooked on one pan for ridiculously fast prep, one-step clean up and sublimely satisfying texture and flavor. The juiciness and spice of the sausage combined with the crunchy, sweet, fresh bell peppers all enveloped in homemade Italian dressing creates an herby, tangy, comforting Italian flavor bomb that always hits the spot.
This Sausage, Peppers and Onions recipe can be made with mild sausage, spicy sausage, cheese sausage, chicken sausage, pork sausage, or any sausage you like and you can also customize the veggies for your favorites or what you have on hand (instructions/cooking times included)
Italian Sausage and Peppers is sensational on its own with just a side salad and crusty bread or it shines on sandwiches or in pasta but I also love it piled on a mountain of textural rice or creamy potatoes. No matter how you serve this Baked `Sausage and Peppers recipe, it is guaranteed to become a favorite weeknight staple.
What is sausage and peppers?
Sausage and Peppers is the quintessential Italian-American classic brought to America by southern Italian migrant workers. It became extremely popular at Italian street festivals, block parties, and fairs in the early 1920s.
Italian Sausage and Peppers consists of grilled, broiled, or pan-fried Italian sausages along with sautéed bell peppers and onions seasoned with classic Italian seasonings and vinegar such as basil, parsley, oregano and thyme. The combination of juicy sausage and sweet and tangy peppers can be served on its own, or sometimes tomatoes or tomato sauce is also added. Sausage and Peppers can be served plain, on pastas or in Italian subs.
WHAT KIND OF SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS TO USE?
You can use any type of precooked sausage in this baked Italian Sausage and Peppers recipe other than breakfast sausage. Look for “fully cooked,” “cooked,” or “smoked” on the label. Our favorite links of ground Italian sausage traditionally used in lasagna, Bolognese, manicotti, linguine, etc. will NOT work in this recipe.
As far as what type of cooked sausage, you can use anything from pork, to chicken to turkey as long as it is fully cooked. Go sweet Italian, go mild Italian, go hot Italian, go andouille, go spinach, go apple – totally your call – or make it different every time! I’m partial to smoked andouille chicken sausage because it boasts a different flavor profile than what we already have going on, but anything will work. You also won’t miss any flavor with lightened up chicken and turkey sausages because the dish itself is enveloped in flaVOR.
This Sausage, Peppers and Onions recipe calls for one 11-12-oz. package of sausage which is the standard size sold at most stores. If you find a package with more or less – just use more or less- this recipe is very forgiving. Look for the cooked sausage in the refrigerated section next to the ground Italian sausage links or breakfast sausage.
Now, just stock up on some packages of sausage and stash them in the freezer so you’ll be ready to make this Baked Sausage and Peppers recipe and rescue dinner any night of the week!
THE BELL PEPPERS
Italian Sausage and Peppers is typically made with a combo of one green bell pepper, one red bell pepper, and one either yellow or orange bell pepper because they all boast slightly different flavors. That being said, you can use whatever bell peppers you have on hand, but try and go for at least one red because they are the sweetest and help balance out the tangy Italian seasoning.
Can I use other sausage in Baked Sausage and Peppers?
You may also use uncooked Italian sausage links (sweet, hot, or a couple of each) but you will need to partially cook them before adding to the sheet pan. To cook:
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet.
- Brown the sausages on all sides.
- Add water 1 cup water, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes.
- Remove, pat dry and use according to recipe directions. Note that the sausages won’t be completely cooked at this point but will finish cooking in the oven.
WHAT OTHER VEGETABLES CAN I USE in Italian Sausage and Peppers?
This Baked Sausage and Peppers recipe is very versatile. You can add additional vegetables to the peppers or you can swap some/or all of the peppers for other vegetables if you don’t have peppers on hand. I like to add sweet potatoes and tomatoes because they add pops of contrasting sweetness and a match made in heaven with the generously seasoned sausage, peppers and onions.
You can also add other vegetable as well. The following veggies require approximately 30 minutes to cook so they can be added at the beginning of the recipe with the sausage:
- Brussels sprouts: stems trimmed, sliced in half through stem
- Butternut squash: peeled, chopped into 1” cubes
- Red potatoes: chopped into ½-inch cubes
- Green beans: ends trimmed
- Broccoli: chopped into medium size florets
- Cauliflower: chopped into medium bite size florets
- Carrots: sliced thinly
- Mini sweet bell peppers: chopped into thick squares
You can also add quick cooking vegetables partly through roasting. The following should be added the last 10-12 minutes:
- Asparagus: chopped into 2” pieces
- Cherry tomatoes: left whole
- Zucchini: sliced 1/4-inch thick
What other Protein can I use In Sausage, Peppers and Onions recipe?
Although this recipe specifies Sausage, Peppers and Onions, it can also serve as a guide to endless variations using different proteins such as:
- Chicken breasts: slice large chicken breasts horizontally in half to create fillets; cook 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
- Chicken tenderloins: cook for approximately 10-15 minutes (depending on size of chicken) or until cooked through.
- Chopped chicken: chop chicken into 1 1/2” chunks; cook for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through.
- Shrimp: Roast for 4-6 minutes or just until shrimp is opaque.
HOW TO MAKE SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS
- Prepare pan. Line a large 15×21 rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. This makes cleanup a snap because all you have to do is throw away the foil after baking!
- Toss sausage and peppers in seasonings. Add the sausage, bell peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes to the pan (NOT tomatoes). Drizzle with the olive oil and red wine vinegar then sprinkle with all of the seasonings. Toss until evenly coated then spread the vegetables and sausage into a single layer.
- Bake. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F then remove from the oven.
- Add tomatoes and bake. Add tomatoes and toss everything together, then spread back into a single layer. Return to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Serve! Serve plain, piled on a hoagie, mixed into pasta or over mashed potatoes, rice, zoodles, polenta, quinoa or cauliflower rice.
HOW LONG TO BAKE SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS IN THE OVEN
This Sausage and Peppers recipe feels like a 30-minute meal because of its quick prep and hands-off cooking but it does require some time in the oven to brown the sausage and soften the sweet potatoes.
You will bake the Sausage and Peppers at 400˚F, uncovered, for a total of 25-30 minutes. The time may increase depending on how thick you cut the sweet potatoes. Even if you don’t add potatoes, you’ll want the full 25 minutes for your sausage to brown for maximum flavor.
Tips for Best Sausage, Peppers and Onions
- Use a large pan. It is important to use a rimmed jelly roll pan which measures 15 x 21 inches. The size of the sheet pan matters because we want our ingredients to fit on the pan in a single layer without being overcrowded. When vegetables are jammed together, they steam instead of roast which affects both the flavor and texture. If you don’t have a jelly roll pan, you can use 2 smaller pans.
- Use foil for easy cleanup. Line your sheet pan with foil to make cleanup a breeze. If you don’t have foil, you can also use parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
- Cut sweet potatoes small. It is important to chop your sweet potatoes small so they are nice and tender by the end of cooking. If your potatoes aren’t tender in 30 minutes, then no fear! You can simply continue to cook the potatoes until tender. You don’t want to have to cook for too much longer, however, because you run the risk of overcooking the peppers.
- Cut bell peppers large. Bell peppers require the least amount of cooking time, so make sure to cut them on the large end so they remain crisp-tender.
- Mix up the veggies: You are welcome to use whatever veggies you have on hand, just be aware of the different cooking times and add them to the pan accordingly – see section on exact times.
How to MAKE Italian Sausage and Peppers SPICY!
The heat in the recipe will largely depend on what sausage you use. To keep it mild and 100% family friendly, use mild or sweet Italian sausage and omit the red pepper flakes. You can season your own serving with red pepper flake if desired.
You can add heat to the Sausage and Peppers by using a spicier sausage. The chicken andouille sausage I used has a nice kick seasoned with pepper and paprika. Hot Italian sausage will also have a nice kick. If you would like more of a kick, I suggest adding the optional red pepper flakes. I don’t think it makes the Sausage and Peppers too spicy, but does offer a kick of heat.
How to MAKE BAKED Sausage and Peppers SAUCY!
Sausage and Peppers is sometimes simmered with diced tomatoes or tomato sauce for a saucier version which comes comes in handy when adding to pasta. To instantly make your dinner saucy, stir in warmed fire roasted diced tomatoes or as little or as much homemade or store-bought marinara sauce as desired. I suggest using a chunky marinara sauce or leaving your homemade marinara sauce on the chunky side.
5 MINUTE MARINARA
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (no seasonings added)
- 1/2 TBS EACH sugar, chicken bouillon
- 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried thyme, salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Dash-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine all of the Marinara ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You may not use all of the Marinara on the Sausage and Peppers recipe.) Store leftover marinara in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Serve Italian Sausage and Peppers
The beauty of this Sausage and Peppers recipe is that it is a meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies and starch OR it can be the star of a pasta, hoagie, or grain bowl. Here are some ideas to enjoy this favorite:
- Hoagies. Italian Sausage and Peppers subs are the most traditional way to serve this classic. Start by toasting hoagie buns by splitting the rolls in half, spreading with butter and baking for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F. Stuff the buns with the sausage and peppers, top with marinara sauce if desired followed by provolone, then bake until the cheese is melted.
- Pasta. While the Italian Sausage and Peppers are roasting, cook up your favorite pasta. Add the sausage and peppers along with marinara or you can go wild and use Alfredo, olive oil or butter.
- Pasta salad. Let the sausage, peppers and onions cool, chop the peppers into smaller pieces and toss with cold pasta or tortellini along with additional olive oil.
- Creamy Pastas. Stir Sausage and Peppers into your favorite creamy pastas such as Million Dollar Mac and Cheese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Cacio e Pepe or Creamy Mushroom Orzo.
- Risotto: just like the aforementioned mac and cheese, you can stir Sausage and Peppers into any of your favorite risotto recipes: Mushroom Risotto, Parmesan Risotto, Spinach Risotto – yum!
- Pizza. Top your favorite pizza crust with marinara followed by cheese, sausage, peppers and onions then bake. You can also make shortcut pizza using French bread or mini pizzas using bagels.
- Calzones: or Stromboli. Use your favorite pizza dough recipe to make calzones or stromboli and stuff with sausage, peppers and onions.
- Grains. Serve Baked Sausage and Peppers over rice, quinoa, or lentils. The neutral textural component is splendid with the robust seasonings.
- Grain bowls. You can also add corn, black beans, avocados, etc. to your grains to make it a bowl and melt mozzarella on top. Top with a fried or soft-boiled egg for extra yum.
- Potatoes. Serve Baked Sausage and Peppers over mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes or polenta for a deliciously creamy counterpart. You can also stuff baked potatoes or sweet potatoes with sausage, peppers and onions then top with cheese.
- Low carb. Go low carb and serve Italian Sausage and Peppers over mashed cauliflower, cauliflower rice, zoodles or spaghetti squash.
- Greens. Keep it extra healthy by serving Baked Sausage and Peppers over sautéed or fresh spinach or any of your favorite greens. Top with a fried or soft-boiled egg.
- Scrambled eggs. Chop up sausage, peppers and onions then add to scrambled eggs along with mozzarella cheese when the eggs are almost set. This works particularly well with leftovers.
- Nachos: Top your favorite cheesy chips with Sausage and Peppers and additional toppings such as pepperoncini, Giardiniera, olives, sour cream, green onions, jalapenos, etc.
Make Ahead Italian Sausage and Peppers
You can prep this Sausage and Peppers recipe 100% ahead of time. Toss the ingredients in the olive oil, vinegar and spices, line in a single layer on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When it comes time to bake, remove from the refrigerator while the oven is preheating. Then bake as directed, adding 5 extra minutes before adding the tomatoes.
Sausage and Peppers recipe Meal Prep
Sausage and Peppers make excellent meal prep to make ahead and serve later. Here’s how:
- Divide rice, potatoes, quinoa or polenta between 4-6 containers if using.
- Top with sausage and peppers and any additional add-ins. Don’t close containers until sausage has cooled.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Baked Sausage and Peppers recipe Leftovers
If you are fortunate enough to have leftover Sausage, Peppers and Onions, it stores beautifully to be enjoyed another day.
- Storage: Allow leftover Sausage and Peppers to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container or portion into smaller containers. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- How to reheat: Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute, then at additional 30 second intervals as needed. For larger portions, reheat in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Reheating leftovers in a skillet is a great time to add diced tomatoes or marinara sauce.
Can I freeze Sausage, Peppers and Onions recipe?
Italian Sausage and Peppers is best served fresh as frozen, cooked bell peppers will lose their appealing crisp-tender texture and become soft/soggy. You can, however, freeze the sausage without any problems.
What is a good side dish with sausage and peppers recipe?
Baked Sausage and Peppers is definitely the star of the show, but we love it with a supporting side dish or two such as a fresh green salad or crusty bread. Here are some of our favorite sides to serve with Sausage and Peppers to elevate it the next level:
- Bread: is the easiest side to add and perfect to mop up the leftover juices. Go simple with a side of crusty bread or we’re obsessed with my Garlic Bread recipe, Dinner Rolls, or Garlic Parmesan Butter Breadsticks.
- Green Salad: my Cucumber Tomato Salad with Italian Dressing is crisp and refreshing as well as my Green Bean Salad and Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch or go sweeter with Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad or Cranberry Apple Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- Pasta Salads: are always a fabulous addition to round out the meal, especially because you can prep them ahead of time. Try Sausage and Peppers with BLT Pasta Salad with Lemon Chive Dressing or Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad with Lemon Chive Dressing. Salad
- Fruit: sweet, refreshing fruit pairs beautifully with the robust, tangy Sausage and Peppers. Creamy Grape Salad, Berry Salad in Mascarpone, Perfect Fruit Salad or Winter Fruit Salad are all winners.
- Potatoes: if you don’t want to serve Sausage and Peppers over mashed potatoes, then you can serve potatoes as a side. Baked Parmesan fries, Hashbrown Casserole,Twice Baked Potatoes, Potato Salad, Kicked Up Classy Creamy Potato Salad, Smashed Potatoes all pair beautifully without introducing too many new flavors.
- Comfort food: other comforting sides include Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese, Slow Cooker Creamed Corn or Corn Casserole for the win.
HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS
- Large Jelly Roll Pan (15”L x 21:W x 1”H): I use this pan all the time for sheet pan meals and roasting vegetables. You don’t want your veggies to overlap or they will steam instead of caramelize. This pan is commercial grade, 18-gauge aluminum for great strength and durability and can hold your heaviest food without warping.
- Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
- Cutting Board: I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic.
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