This Italian Sausage and Pesto Veggie Sheet Pan Meal is an all-in-one complete dinner that is loaded with veggies and Italian sausage coated in a basil pesto and roasted to perfection. A fun little weeknight dinner spin on Italian cuisine!
Piper had the orthodontist this morning (appointment 3 of 3) in the-put on process. Today’s addition was an upper expander that covers much of the roof of her mouth and has a wheel that will be turned every 4 days, slowly widening her jaw. The poor girl could barely talk when I dropped her at camp and I was sure to dose her with Tylenol. A few hours later, I was getting a call with her in tears at lunch time, trying to eat her usual. It wasn’t going so well but I didn’t hear from her the rest of the day, so that’s positive. The girls’ birthday party is in the books – a joint ice-skating party on a Friday night. Should be fun! They also got MUCH needed and long-overdue hair cuts, lopping off all of the dead, chlorine-damaged goldie locks caused from the twice-a-day swim sessions so far this summer. It was a productive, busy day for my two and we’re all anxious for the weekend ahead. It looks to be another busy one, but with beautiful weather and with more guests in town. Summer is finishing in chaos and it was timely to add a new sheet pan meal to our rotation of favorites. You’ll enjoy this one, too, I have no doubt!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Weeknight Warriors: EVERYTHING for this recipe can be prepped ahead of time! Store the potatoes separate from the other veggies and sausage if you go this route. This easy sheet pan sausage meal is a great recipe for those who love to meal prep! The roasting time is all hands-off so you’re available for all of the other demands of busy weeknights.
- Family Favorite: All kids love sausage – it’s packed with flavor. Also packed with flavor? Pesto sauce. Kids LOVE pesto and because it’s a beautiful shade of GREEN and a sauce versus a vegetable, the odds of them trying (and loving!) this pesto recipe is high. As a sheet pan supper the whole family will love and offering easy clean-up, it’s sure to enter your dinner rotation and make routine appearances at your table!
- Veggie Lovers: Isn’t EVERYONE trying to eat more vegetables? With good reason, of course! It is recommended that we eat 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day and most of us fall short of this recommendation. This recipe is FULL of vegetables (as well as healthy fats and whole foods) making it an incredibly healthy meal that can easily be adapted to feature your favorite veggies.
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Potatoes: I used good’ol Russet potatoes in this sheet pan dinner, however 2-2.5 pounds of potatoes of any variety will work great. Sweet potatoes wouldn’t be my first choice to pair with pesto, however Yukon gold potatoes, red potatoes, baby potatoes (whole), or white potatoes work great.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is my go-to as a minimally processed, rich, wholesome oil that’s great in this blueberry dressing. You can absolutely substitute in another mild-flavored oil of choice, such as sunflower, safflower, or avocado oil. All are high in unsaturated fats and offer a neutral-ish flavor.
- Pesto: I am such a huge fan of pesto! It can easily transform easy recipes into the perfect meal. If you are up for making homemade pesto, it’s one of my favorite ways to use fresh herbs like basil. I would recommend trying Basil Pesto with Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, and Lemon or Arugula-Basil Pesto. You can certainly find vegan pesto recipes online, as well. Costco also has a refrigerated basil pesto that has so much flavor and a beautiful, bright green hue! You can find basil pesto in most major retailers near the pasta sauce.
- Broccoli: Fresh broccoli browns or bags of fresh broccoli florets are perfect here (big fan of the bags myself!). It’s best to avoid frozen, if possible, when roasting due to the excess moisture that results from thawing. If you do use frozen, thaw first and drain all excess moisture. Reduce the roasting time by 10 minutes as the vegetables have been pre-cooked. Cauliflower is a great option to swap in for fresh broccoli, too!
- Zucchini: A medium zucchini is 6-8 inches in length and not overly seedy. Summer zucchini fresh from the garden are amazing but fresh zucchini is available year-round in the grocery store in most areas of the US making it one of the big reasons I’m such a big fan of zucchini! You can easily swap in yellow squash or even small eggplants, if you wish.
- Onion: A sweet, vedalia onion or red onion are great in this recipe however white onions work, as well. If you do not care for onion, you can swap in mushrooms or omit altogether.
- Italian Sausage: I used a fully cooked sweet Italian chicken sausage. Any full cooked Italian sausage links will work well and the roast time is short enough to ensure even fully cooked options remain juicy Italian sausages that have been cut into smaller pieces for the ease of serving and eating. You can find turkey sausage, chicken sausage, and pork sausage varieties, as well as vegetarian options. About 20-24 ounces of any version will work great. There’s also sweet and spicy Italian sausage options available – choose the type of sausage you and your family or guests love!
- Parmesan Cheese: A high quality grated or shaved Parmesan is perfection! Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or another hard cheese work great, as well. If you have fresh mozzarella cheese, that would also be good!
- Gluten-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
- High-Fiber: With nearly 6 grams of fiber per serving, this sheet pan dinner is high in fiber.
- Balanced: This meal is a nice balance of carbohydrate (30 grams), protein (19 grams), and fat (25 grams). Much of the fat in the recipe is from unsaturated fat sources.
- Vegetarian: Eliminate the sausage to make this meal vegetarian.
Can I roast the potatoes along with everything else?
If you want to expedite the roasting of the potatoes (first 20 minutes of baking), you can microwave the diced potatoes for 3-4 minutes before adding to the sheet pan with the remaining veggies and sausage to par-cook them. That said, the potatoes can get a bit mushy this way and won’t as easily turn that beautiful golden brown that is associated with roasting. The potatoes do require about double the roasting time of the other veggies, so if you’re short on time, consider using a different vegetable in place of potatoes – bell pepper, asparagus, yellow squash, mushrooms, etc. as they require less roasting time. Be sure everything is in a single layer, no matter the veggies you choose.
What makes pesto SO high in calories and fat? It’s expensive, too. Why?
Traditional pesto is made with olive oil and pine nuts – both ingredients are very high in fat (mostly healthy, unsaturated fats) but fat is very calorie-dense. Most pesto recipes also contain cheese which is high in fat. Pesto is packed with flavor-rich ingredients, so a little bit goes a long way. Don’t let the higher calorie tag scare you off! The cost of pesto is largely driven by the high-cost pine nuts that are contained in a traditional pesto. Olive oil is also an expensive oil as compared to others. The quality ingredients is what drives up the cost, but it’s worth the cost, for sure! If you want to keep things a bit more cost-effective, try sunflower seeds or pistachios in place of pine nuts. You can also use arugula in place of a portion of the fresh basil as basil can be costly, especially at certain times through the year.
How do you keep your large baking sheets from needing to get washed? I want the easy cleanup!
To keep your baking sheet from needing thorough wash, start with a large piece of aluminum foil that has overhang, allowing you to fully wrap over the rim of the baking sheet. Then, top with parchment paper. You can use more than 1 layer of either aluminum foil or parchment, if needed.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- Any combination of fresh veggies will work in this recipe (note: the potatoes do require longer roasting as noted in the recipe). Suggested ideas to increase the variety of vegetables would include root vegetables (winter), cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bell peppers (red bell pepper – yum!), cherry tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, etc.
- This recipe makes A LOT. As noted, you can cut the recipe in half very easily. If you aren’t super handy “mixing” on a baking sheet, you can combine everything in a large bowl. I skip this step to reduce the number of dishes, but you can absolutely do that to keep the prep a bit easier.
- The key to roasting the perfect sheet pan meals is to allow enough space for the vegetables to properly roast – depending on the size of your sheet pans, consider using 2 or even 3 pans and ensuring the fresh vegetable in an even layer.
- If you LOVE garlic, add additional fresh garlic along with the pesto or sprinkle garlic powder over the veggies before roasting. A bit of Italian seasoning thrown in would be delicious, as well.
- A bit of heat with the addition of crushed red pepper flakes makes for a fun version of this recipe.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual portions, as desired, by microwaving or roasting/baking for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- 6 small potatoes (about 5-6 oz each), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
- 2/3 cup prepared pesto, divided
- 12 oz broccoli florets
- 2 small zucchini, cut into half-moons
- 1 onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 20 oz cooked chicken Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place cut potatoes on one baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and 1/3 cup pesto; toss to coat and spread into an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Roast potatoes for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the remaining veggies.
- Place the broccoli, zucchini, onion, and sausage on the remaining baking sheet and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and remaining 1/3 cup pesto; toss to coat.
- When the potatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, remove from oven and push the potatoes to one side of the baking sheet; transfer half the broccoli and sausage mixture to the potato baking sheet and then transfer half of the potatoes to the other baking sheet to create the same mixture of meat, veggies, and potatoes on each baking sheet. Spread the food in an even layer over the entire baking sheet, trying not to overlap ingredients.
- Roast the veggies, meat, and potatoes for 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.
This makes a lot and is perfect for meal prepping. Cut the recipe in half if you don't want to prepare in bulk.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 recipe (about 2 cups)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 25.6gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 814mgCarbohydrates: 30.8gFiber: 5.8gSugar: 5.1gProtein: 19.1g
I adore a good sheet pan meal! So many options!
- Sheet Pan Buffalo Shrimp and Veggies
- Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma
- Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner
- Easy Sheet Pan Cajun Sausage and Veggies
- Sheet Pan Hawaiian Shrimp
- Sheet Pan Cuban and Black Bean Rice Bowls
- Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with Fall Vegetables
- Sheet Pan Hawaiian Pineapple and Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
- Easy Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas