“I love cleaning up dirty dishes” said no one ever, especially after a hectic day!
Our sheet-pan sausage dinner combines sweet Italian sausages with a medley of fennel, onion and carrots, roasted together on a single baking sheet pan until slightly charred, soft and oh so savory. Then, garnish with orange slices and a drizzle of balsamic and you’re good to go!
Roasting the sausages at a higher temperature gives them the same golden-brown color that you would get from a hot skillet or grill. Fennel has a sweet, earthy flavor like licorice that is delicious roasted and in salads. It pairs beautifully with sausage and root vegetables.
Since all the cooking on one pan, the flavors meld together in delicious ways. Once dinner is in the oven, your work is done, and clean-up is a breeze (especially if you line the pan with foil before you start).
And while this meal is great on its own you can serve over a bed of mashed potatoes for even more hearty, gut-friendly goodness.
Why we love these ingredients
In Mediterranean countries, a bit of fennel after a meal is thought to help with digestion and relieve gassiness. And modern science agrees!
Fennel contains anti-spasmodic properties which help soothe cramps and flatulence. It also reduces bad bacteria and feeds good bacteria to help balance your microbiome.
What’s more, fennel stimulates the production of digestive juices, which helps reduce stomach inflammation. And not only does fennel increase the absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat, it contains lots of potassium to support your heart and blood pressure. A lot of remarkable health benefits from just one plant!
The medicinal use of rosemary goes back centuries and for good reason. A potent immune booster, rosemary contains compounds called carnosic and rosmarinic acids which have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
Rosemary is especially rich in phytochemicals that help improve vision health, regulate liver function and protect the health of your lungs. Other research says rosemary may reduce stress and anxiety, too.
Orange protects your cells from damage, helps your body make collagen, boosts your immune system, slows the advance of age-related macular degeneration and fight free radical damage. Plus, it’s high fiber and enzyme content facilitates digestion and slows down the absorption of fats.
Some pro tips to get you started
When it comes to sausage, go organic. Which means avoiding nitrates! Organic foods are not allowed to have preservatives like synthetic nitrates or nitrites in them. Nitrate-free sausages are generally made with all-natural ingredients and spices. They may contain preservatives to increase shelf life, but these aren’t dangerous to your health. Look on the label to see if it says “nitrate-free”, “no nitrates”, or “no nitrates added”.
To prepare the fennel, cut off the stalks attached to the top of the fennel bulb. Discard the stalks themselves, but save the soft green fronds attached to them. Those wispy fronds have a flavor like dill and are a wonderful addition to salads, dips, and as a garnish.
Next, cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and trim off the very end of the core side. Then cut lengthwise into thin slices.
Whole orange segments are what takes this dish to the next level. To remove them, cut the ends off orange to reveal flesh. Rest orange upright on a cut side and cut down around orange to remove peel and white pith, rotating it as you go. Discard peel.
Working over a small bowl, hold orange in your hand and cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes to extract any remaining juice into bowl, then discard membranes.
Now, let’s get cooking!
Roast Sausage with Fennel and Orange
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 3 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced lengthwise
- ¼ cup fennel fronds, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium red onion, halved through root end, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 carrots, sliced 1” thick
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 6 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 1/2 lb. total)
- 1-2 medium tangerine, clementine, or navel orange
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place a rack in highest position in oven; preheat to 425°F.
- Put fennel slices, red onion, carrots and rosemary sprigs in a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle veggies with oil, season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Prick the sausages slightly with a fork and drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Arrange the sausages on top of the veggie mixture. Space the sausages evenly and nestle them into the vegetable. Roast until sausages are browned on top and cooked though and fennel is tender and deeply browned in spots, 25–30 minutes.
- Add the balsamic vinegar to the bowl with the orange segments and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Remove baking sheet from oven. Pour any extra juices from orange over sausage and fennel mixture and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Time to serve! Transfer sausages and fennel mixture to a platter. Crumble rosemary leaves over and scatter reserved orange segments and fennel fronds on top. Season with sea salt and a bit more pepper; drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Bon Appetit!