Are you pressed for time and still need to make dinner tonight? Perhaps you thought cooking in the oven takes hours and is only meant for Christmas casseroles or for baking cookies. Here we’ll teach you how to cook Italian sausage in the oven. Why the oven? Because it is one of the easiest and most accessible tools in our kitchens.
Your Italian sausage guarantees a fast, delicious and nutritional meal that is meant to go in the oven. By cooking our meals this way we avoid added fats, dryness and save time by creating one-pot (or pan) meals. Italian sausage is a classic meal for two, or for many, the trick is that it is full of flavor and nutritional content, which will leave you satisfied and happy.
So, what is this amazing Italian sausage we talk about? This sausage is most often made with pork and seasoned with garlic, fennel or anise. Italian sausages in the US are in most cases either “hot” (spicy thanks to added red pepper flakes) or sweet.
Today, Italian sausage is iconic for families across America, but Italian immigrants first introduced them, and they became widely popular in cookouts, pizza and during holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Luckily, sausages have left behind their bad reputation as junk food and are now seen as a high protein and lean meat option.
This time we have used sweet Italian sausage, but you can certainly use the hot type instead. Though you can cook them in many forms, such as grilled or fried, make sure you start off with this oven-baked recipe, as it is healthier and simpler. Finish up a long workday, or make the weekend more fun with this recipe, and accompany it with a good wine or a cold beer, and let’s get started!
Baked Italian Sausage with Veggies, Potatoes and Thyme
Servings: 2 / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 140 g Sweet Italian Sausage
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large peeled and cubed potato
- Medium-large yellow, green or red bell pepper cut into juliennes
- ½ large sliced onion
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- ¼ teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ garlic clove minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 baking pan that fits in the oven
- Tin foil or parchment paper to cover pan
- Cutting board
If you don’t like potatoes or are trying to cut calories, use 1 sweet potato, or you can cut carbs and use:
- 1 zucchini or
- 1 carrot or
- 1 granny smith apple
Veggies are always easy to make and provide you with flavor, fiber and good carbs. Zucchini and carrots go well with bell peppers and onions, and make a healthy meal. While apples add a citrus and sweet flavor to change things up and make it more fun, this is one of our favorites for the fall.
For this recipe, we will use tin foil or parchment paper to save time. But if you have time to spare, you can leave the sausage, veggies and potatoes in the oven for a longer time and at a lower temperature.
Step 1: Take the sausages out of fridge. Do this at least 20 minutes before you start cooking for better results. Pierce your sausages in two or three places with a fork.
Step 2: Pre-heat oven to 375° – 400° F (200° C).
Step 3: Cut a piece of tin foil, or parchment paper, the size of the bottom of your pan. Line your pan with the foil, or parchment paper, and add olive oil to it. It’s easier and faster to add it with a kitchen brush).
Step 4: Wash and dry all your veggies.
Using the cutting board and a good, sharp knife cut the onion into slices. (For help learning how to cut onions, check this out) On the same cutting board, cut the yellow, green or red pepper into juliennes. (For help learning how to cut green peppers go here.)
Wash your potato and peel it. Cut the potato into half-inch cubes. (To learn how to peel and cut potatoes, check this out). Sprinkle thyme on top of the veggies and potato. Wash your garlic clove and mince it. (To learn how to peel and mince garlic, go here) Add the minced garlic to your potato and veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5: Don’t forget to put everything in a bowl and add your white wine to it. Stir everything together to make sure that it’s all well seasoned
Step 6: Take the baking pan. Spread the mix of veggies, potato and thyme at the bottom of your baking pan as a single flat layer. To save time and add flavor, you can sauté the veggies and potatoes on a pan at the stove for a couple of minutes before putting it on the baking pan).
Step 7: Take your sausages and carefully place them on top of the veggies and potato mix.
Step 8: Take your baking pan to the already heated oven. Be careful to note that the temperature is between 375° and 400° F (200° C). Set a timer to 30 minutes. Start cooking!
Tip: at 15 minutes, use your kitchen tongs to turn over your sausages so that they are browned evenly.
After 30 minutes have passed, take your pan out of the oven using potholders and check that the potatoes are fork-tender. Otherwise, put the pan back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes.
If it all looks good after the timer is done, then it’s time to take the pan out of the oven again. Before anything, grab your thermometer and pierce the sausages, the minimum internal temperature for the sausages to be consumable is 165° F. Never eat undercooked food, it is very dangerous and could lead to food poisoning.
Make sure everything tastes good; you can add more salt and pepper to taste. Check that your oven is off and serve. Don’t forget to grab a cold beer, or an Italian red wine. You can get a better idea on what wine to drink with your meal here.
Did you enjoy this tutorial?
Keep in mind that Italian sausages make great one-pot meals, but can also be used for garnishing your favorite bread as an appetizer, or as an add-in for pasta, and most importantly, they are a must for your Thanksgiving stuffing (try this stuffing recipe out).
And if you feel more adventurous in the kitchen now, you can take off the skin of the sausage and grind it with your fork. Now, your sausage can be transformed into a breakfast patty, Sloppy Joe, and even your chili for Superbowl season.
Veggies and potatoes are meant to complement this recipe, but you can cook some different side dishes.
Some suggestions for alternative complementary sides are:
- Polenta with green beans (check these 4 easy ways how to cook polenta), is perfect for a warm dinner on a cold night
- Orzo with fava beans and bacon, is good for any time of the year
- Creamy spinach with toasted pine nuts and mashed potatoes, a very hearty and home-cooked meal that will make a great comfort food
- Pasta with artichokes, black olives, tomatoes, basil, and Italian parsley, this one is easy and fresh
- Fennel salad with red onion, olive oil, spinach, blue cheese and balsamic vinegar. Something perfect for the summer time and as a lighter lunch option.
- Flat bread with cauliflower, cilantro, and Gruyere cheese. (Learn to make your own flatbread here). Try cutting your sausage in half and serve to others as appetizer or main dish.
- Rice with shrimp, onion, tomatoes, and peas. This one is more creole, but equally easy and yummy.
The trick when cooking with the oven and saving money and time, is to plan one-pot meals, which simplify your life. But this is not always the case, try these suggested side dishes or experiment on your own.
Remember that this recipe is not tied to Italian sausage only. You can follow these same steps for regular sausages, turkey sausage, chicken sausage, vegan sausage or even chorizo!
Change up the veggies, maybe swap the thyme for some basil and add tomatoes, and you’ll have an even more Italian meal. Or cook some chorizo in the oven, some yellow rice, add some black beans, cilantro and guacamole and your meal will be Mexican.
If you are particularly hungry, or it’s the weekend and you want to plan a different kind of brunch, try out cooking your Italian sausage in the oven and add it to a pepper and cheddar omelet, spice things up with some hot sauce too.
If you are planning to have some people over, or don’t know how hungry everyone is, don’t worry, just double up the portions for the veggies and condiments, and take a couple extra sausages out of the fridge.
The beauty of using the oven is that it frees up your time to create sides, or to relax, and doesn’t require too much of your energy. Don’t forget to share with your friends and leave your comments below!