Do you remember the sheet pan recipe for Pork Tenderloin and Veggies in December? The convenience of cooking it all on one sheet (less complicated! less cleanup!), made it a big winner for me. So I thought it would be fun to create a series of Sheet Pan Dinners just for you — easy and delicious meals that can be put together quickly.
And I’m delighted to be sharing recipe number two from the series today. Polenta with Sausage and Peppers! This looks amazing — I always love a colorful meal, and this one is perfect for the gloomy weather we’ve been having.
Before we jump into the recipe, I want to ask: What are your thoughts on Sheet Pan Dinners? Does the idea of a series sounds good to you?
Lindsey is developing this series, and here’s what she says about this meal:
The older I’m getting, or rather the older my children get, I find myself going back to the same foods I made when they were younger. I’m very nostalgic when it comes to cooking. I think missing those days when they were little stings a little less when the memories come with a side of a delicious dinner. Sausage and peppers is one of those meals I made quite often as a newlywed and young mother.
Truthfully, I’m not sure how we ended up making sausage and peppers so often. I had never even tried, or even heard of that combo, other than on pizza, before I moved to the East Coast. Once there it was everywhere! You could order sausage and peppers wedges (sandwiches) at the corner deli. At catered functions there were always one or two large trays brimming with juicy sausages, onions, red and green peppers.
These days I don’t make sausage and peppers nearly as often as I used to, but when I do it always reminds me of our time in New York. We often ate it in various forms — on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and my favorite, over polenta. Polenta was another food that I wasn’t properly introduced to until I lived in New York. It’s funny to think of that because now we eat it all the time. My kids have grown to love it as much as I do.
While I certainly like to prepare polenta from scratch (it’s as easy as boiling water), there are times when having a tube of prepared polenta comes in very handy. Making sausage and peppers in the oven along with heating up the polenta rounds, makes for a very easy sheet pan dinner. I’m still not tired of one pan meals!
This meal comes together pretty quickly, but requires a few minutes slicing onions and peppers, and polenta. Other than that, it’s nearly hands-off. (I’m not tired of those meals either!) But as with most easy recipes, the timing is everything.
Now when it comes to sausages, we use either hot or sweet Italian sausage. Depending on your preference, you can also use chicken or vegetarian sausage. My family likes the extra kick of heat from hot Italian sausage, plus another little pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. I also like to include a sprinkle of dry Italian herbs.
The veggies and sausages go into the oven first, and as they cook, they lose a little volume and that leaves plenty of space for the tomatoes and polenta rounds.
For even cooking, every 10 minutes or so, I stir the peppers and onions around. If you prefer them much more cooked, you can remove the sausages, tomatoes, and polenta, and keep roasting the veggies until they are extra roasted. Be sure to flip the polenta over halfway through cooking too. If you want a crisp top, you can also give everything a quick stint under a hot broiler — maybe 2-3 minutes.
And that’s it! Oh, except for the Parmesan cheese. You’ll want a good sprinkle on top. :)
Sheet Pan Dinner: Polenta with Sausage and Peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pan
1 pound chicken, pork, or vegetarian sausages
1 large onion, cut into strips
1 red bell peppers, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
2 teaspoons dry Italian herbs
Salt and pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tube (18 ounces) polenta, cut into 8 rounds
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Fresh grated parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil. Lay the sausages down the middle of the baking sheet.
2. Place onions and peppers in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, dry Italian herbs, salt and pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Gently toss. Arrange the onion and bell peppers on the baking sheet in an even layer around the sausages.
3. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven. Scoot the peppers off to one side to make room for the tomatoes and polenta rounds. Arrange them on the baking sheet. Season the tomatoes and polenta with a little salt and pepper. Place back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes, or until sausages are cooked through and veggies are tender.
4. Halfway through the remaining roasting time, flip the polenta rounds over. If desired, finish the roasting under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the polenta round tops.
5. To serve, place 1-2 polenta rounds on a plate and top with some of the sausage, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Thank you, Lindsey! I’ve never tried prepared polenta before, and I’m always happy to find a good kitchen shortcut, so I’m very much looking forward to adding this to my grocery list.
How about you, Dear Readers: Would you family enjoy this meal? We LOVE sausage and peppers at our house, but we usually go for a non-spicy sausage. How about you?
P.S. — If you’re a fan of easy meals, be sure to check out these other family-friendly recipes.
Credits: Recipe and photos by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.