Today’s lunch recipe is a quick throw together from the fridge as I’m flying solo today while Chris is traveling for work. This recipe makes enough for four so the leftovers will serve as lunch again later this week. Fully cooked Italian sausage makes this a breeze!
It’s perfect for this time of year when gardens are overflowing with produce. Time to use up all the zucchini and peppers flooding your counters! Feel free to substitute what you have grown or on hand and make it your own.
What is the difference between Italian sausage and regular sausage?
The main difference between the various types of sausage is the spices used and the type of meat or blend of meat used in the sausage. Italian sausage is traditionally made with pork but I’ve seen turkey and chicken Italian sausage also.
Types of Italian Sausage
There are two types of Italian sausage. Hot and Sweet (Mild). Both are seasoned with garlic and fennel or anise seeds. The hot version adds red pepper flakes to give it a kick. I use sweet Italian sausage in this recipe but if you like the heat, hot would work just as well! I also love the sweet Italian Sausage on my Homemade pizzas also!
How to cook Italian sausage?
This recipe calls for fully cooked sausages which can be purchased at most grocery stores. It makes this recipe a quick meal. However, if you just have uncooked sausage links my favorite method to cook sausages is on the stovetop.
There is no need to poke holes in the sausage, this only allows the juices to escape. Add about a ½ cup of water to a large skillet and turn onto med-high heat. Add the sausages and cover. Let simmer for 10 mins covered.
Then uncover and allow the water to evaporate and the skin to get browned, about 10 mins. Turn sausages a few times during the browning process. Cooked sausage should temp at 160°F when it’s done.
You can really play with this recipe. It’s so easy to adapt to whatever you have on hand or an abundance of in the garden. It’s also a great recipe for cleaning out the fridge of produce that might be on its last leg.
A meat alternative can be used in place of the sausage or you can forgo it altogether and beef up the protein with some beans, grains, or tofu!
Quick & Easy Italian Sausage, Zucchini, Potato Skillet
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 links sweet Italian Sausage, fully cooked and sliced
- 2 cups tiny potatoes, sliced
- 2 zucchini, med, quartered
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- Dizzle of balsalmic vinegar or glaze (optional)
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, then add sliced sausage and sautè, flipping sausage until browned. Remove from the pan and put aside.
- Put potatoes in the microwave for 2 min to cook. Then put potatoes cut-side down into the same pan the sausage was removed from. Brown for 2-4 mins then set side with sausage.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the skillet together with the zucchini, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic cloves. Then sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, onion powder, pepper, and salt. Stir.
- Let cook till the onion is translucent, and veggies are near tender for 5 minutes.
- Add sausage and potatoes back into the skillet together. Stir and cook 5-7 more mins. Taste and add additional salt or olive oil if needed. Finish with fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or glaze.