BIG big fan of hot Italian sausage over here so your basic Sausage + Peppers has been an easy go-to in our household for years. I always like using the mini tri-colored peppers when making this dish because they are so sweet and they get SO juicy when you roast them. However, from watching Jersey Shore, because my husband has insisted on re-watching this trash from Episode ONE *kill me* I saw “The Situation” makes traditional Sausage + Peppers in one casserole dish by topping a bed of sliced onions and full-sized peppers with WHOLE Italian sausages and just popping that right into the oven. So aside from being emotionally disturbed from the relationship that was Sammy + Ronny, I learned that my version of sausage + peppers isn’t what you’d find on Staten Island.
So when a vegan girlfriend of mine told me she was obsessed with this plant-based Italian sausage I knew I wanted to trick my husband to see if he could tell the difference. WARNING: When trying to trick your husband, don’t ask him to RECYCLE the craft paper wrapper for your vegan sausage. Whoops! I’ve actually never tried any other sausage substitutes so the No Evil Foods The Stallion Sausage was my first foray into plant-based alternatives. Look how exciting this is!
SHOPPING LIST: 2 bags mini peppers, 1 jalapeño, No Evil Foods The Stallion Sausage, chopped garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper
Chop the stems off of your mini peppers and slice your entire jalapeño into rounds. Jalapeño, as always, is completely optional but I love throwing this spicy little pepper into the mix. Toss your peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and onion powder and BROIL for 5 minutes. Your peppers should get black and blistered. Flip the peppers over and give them another 3-5 minutes under the broiler.
While your peppers are finishing up under the broiler, remove the casing from your sausages and slice all four sausages into 1/3″ thick rounds. In a large saucepan, add 1 tB. of coconut and sauté 1 tB. of chopped garlic. (I would actually add an entire sliced red onion at this point but my husband is one of those grown ups who still picks onions out of his food so I omitted for his sake). Because the vegan sausage has lots of sodium, I do not add any additional seasoning at this point. Once the garlic is lightly toasted (or your onions are translucent), add your sliced “sausage.” Continue to sauté until both sides of your sausage rounds are browned on each side and then you’re ready to go. Grab your mini peppers out of the broiler and add them to your sausage on the stovetop – JUICES INCLUDED. Give a quick mix and FINITO!!!!
While the dish is vegan AS IS, I like to put 1 tB. of pesto sauce on the bottom of my serving dish. After I pour the sausage (vegan or otherwise) and peppers into my serving bowl, I give the mixture a quick toss and the pesto just adds the final OOMPH of flavor – a little herbs, a little nuttiness, a little cheese – a little bit goes a long way. OH, and as for my “ruined” experiment, my quite opinionated husband said he definitely wouldn’t have been able to tell that his sausage was actually a vegan substitute. While the The Stallion maybe wasn’t as juicy as a pork or turkey-based sausage, it certainly had that delicious hot Italian flavor and a really nice, firm consistency that seared well on the stovetop for textural differentiation. Success! See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Taste No Evil. Love No Evil.