It may have its origins here from Italian American immigrants, but sausage and peppers – whether at the center of a dinner plate or wrapped in a hearty sandwich – has become loved by all Americans.
And who can blame us?
With the aromas of fennel and anise, the tastes and textures of peppers and onions, and the caramelized beauty of broiled or grilled sausages, this dish packs a wollop of flavor that prods gently and insistently at our most happy sense-memories.
Whether it’s in the bleachers of a baseball stadium, at a street cart in Chicago, or among the bustling crowds of Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy, chomping down on this hearty meal just simply makes us happy.
Broiled and charred sweet and spicy Italian sausage. Sweet colored and green bell peppers sautéed with sliced onions. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make a bit of extra sauce and add some fresh herbs.
So simple and straightforward. Indescribably comforting and satisfying.
But sometimes even the best, independently amazing gastronomical superstar needs a good sidekick, just the right delight to play a supporting role.
So, we’re here to help you track down both classic and new ideas for what to serve with sausage and peppers.
First of all, it’s good to remember that this Italian-American staple is incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into your main dish in a few ways – serve as-is at the center of your plate, turn it into a delectable hot sandwich, or serve it over pasta.
You kind of can’t go wrong.
That said, there are so many other ways dress up your sausage and peppers and nudge your meal up a notch.
Because they leave room to incorporate different flavors and textures from the main dish, using other staples, such as rice or polenta, in your side dishes can be one satisfying approach.
You can also explore contrasting textures with complementary flavors, such as a crisp, light salad featuring fresh fennel to bring a new dimension to the sausage flavors.
Or lean into the classics with Italian dishes like risotto (with a twist!) and stunning textures like burrata.
And while sweet Italian sausage is a classic go-to, you can switch things up by using hot Italian sausage or even chorizo too.
So much sausage, so little time.
Side Dish for Sausage and Peppers: A Delicious Wish List
Okay, let’s get our favorite sausage on the grill and dig into a bunch of great ideas to round out your meal. And, oh, what a satisfying meal it’s gonna be…
1. Broccoli Rabe with Onions and Red Pepper Flakes
There’s something about sausages and green veggies that make them besties on the plate. The combination of sweet Italian sausage just seems to really be inclined to pair well with the slight bitterness of broccoli.
Or in this case, the broccoli rabe.
Jack and Martha have a recipe for broccoli rabe with onions and red pepper flakes that will make sausage and peppers sit up and take notice. Grab the recipe at A Family Feast.
2. Ancient Grains Risotto
We love a short-grain rice risotto as much as anyone.
And we mean, anyone.
But sometimes it’s fun to change it up, and try something new.
And by “new” we mean “old.”
Ancient grains are all the rage at the moment, and there’s a reason for that. They’re undeniably delicious and flavorful.
And when they come with mushrooms and goat cheese, well – that’s just an outstanding side dish for spicy Italian sausages and peppers.
Grab Krystal’s recipe at Natural Fit Foodie.
3. Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons
We love a hearty salad with a twist. Maybe a little something unexpected in the vinaigrette like pickle brine.
Or meats combined with fruit.
Or – and stay with us here – cubes of polenta instead of croutons.
You might be thinking, “What the what?”
But how delicious does that sound? Pure, fried cornmeal goodness atop a Caesar salad next to Italian sausage and peppers.
This makes us very happy. Such a fun side dish for sausage and peppers, and especially as a side dish for sausage and peppers sandwich meals.
We love the recipe from Carrian and Cade at Oh, Sweet Basil and we think you will too.
4. Cauliflower Steaks
We love to play with our food. And we don’t just mean tossing rolls back and forth at the dinner table, which we may or may not do.
Playing with food means making the unexpected appear out of nowhere. Like, crunchy cauliflower steaks when people might be expecting florets. Voila!
Picture how wonderfully a richly hued Portuguese sausage and mounds of peppers will look on the plate next to thick cauliflower steaks.
We like Jessica’s recipe at Jessica Gavin along with chimichurri to tie the whole plate together.
5. Grilled Zucchini
When we think of grilled Italian sausage and bell peppers, we think of other veggies we’d love to throw on the grill too.
Come one, come all!
And in our mind, zucchini is the perfect grill mate. When it gets a little light char the flavor melds perfectly with the main meal.
And we all like our sides to “meld perfectly” don’t we? Oh, yeah, we do!
We particularly like Lee’s recipe at Fit Foodie Finds.
Take a gander and tell us what you think.
6. Caramelized Onion Bread
When we want caramelized onions, we want caramelized onions. We want them to be sweet and brown and loaded with flavor.
They pair amazingly well with sausage and peppers when they’re slow cooked to perfection.
And we also love bread to eat with our sausage and peppers.
We bet you can guess where we’re going with this. Puffy bread? Garlic bread? Flat focaccia bread? But for now…
Hello, caramelized onion bread!
Port and Fin have a fantastic recipe for our newest favorite bread addiction over at Port and Fin. Grab all the delicious details at the link.
7. Baked Polenta Fries
We love corn with sausages and peppers. It’s just pure flavor synchronicity on the plate.
And we thought that it might be fun to switch it up, and serve some baked polenta with the sausages instead of corn kernels.
Then we ran across this recipe for polenta “fries,” and we realized that strips of buttery polenta browned to perfection is exactly what we were looking for.
Grab the recipe from Archana at Archana’s Kitchen for all the corny goodness.
8. Caprese Salad
For some recipes, we really love a very artfully composed caprese salad on a platter.
However, we also like to play with shapes and sizes. And little cherry tomatoes just scream that they want to be bundled in a bowl with like-sized cheese and loads of chopped basil.
Who are we to argue with cherry tomatoes?
They may be sweet – but they’re also quite opinionated.
And a chopped caprese is absolutely the perfect side to sausage and peppers.
A little bite of this, a little bite of that, and the next thing you know the plate is clean as a whistle.
We really like Kelly’s recipe at Trial and Eater.
9. Arugula Salad with Burrata
When it comes to flavors and textures, sometimes we find that opposites attract.
Sweet Italian sausage and red bell peppers will nestle cozily with peppery arugula and super crazy creamy burrata on the plate.
We especially like our salads to have a touch of balsamic vinegar for a touch of sweetness.
So, when we stumbled on this recipe from Anna Viva La Food we made a mental note to put the salad into our roster of sides for sausage and peppers.
Because, burrata. And arugula. And balsamic.
10. Roasted Assorted Vegetables
Sausage and peppers love their additional veggies.
Bring on the savory broccoli!
Bring on the sweet tomatoes!
And bring on earthy mushrooms!
There’s room on the plate for everyone to play off each other’s flavors.
Julie over at Table for Two has a fantastic recipe that will take Italian sausage and bell peppers exactly where they want to go. By which we mean, “Full-Bodied Flavor Town on a Plate.”
11. Arancini balls
Little savory arancini are perfectly craveable when pulling together a meal of sausage and peppers.
This is the answer to the eternal question of what to serve with sausage and peppers.
And they’re loaded with rice and peas and cheese.
They kind of just sell themselves on the plate.
“Oh, hey. Were you looking at us? We thought so.”
And we thought we’d tie the meal together with pork sausages and pork in the arancini.
Double the pork, double the fun!
Chef Pasquale has all the fried fun here at Orsara Recipes.
12. Mom’s Sweet Onion Coleslaw
If grating onion is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
We knew we wanted a unique coleslaw to go with our sausage and pepper sub, so we took to the internet. And we found a recipe that intrigued us.
Grated onion provides the base for a tangy mayo-less coleslaw that reverberates with flavor.
The flavor just keeps coming and coming, and makes our palate dance with joy.
Look no further for an amazing side dish for a sausage and peppers sandwich.
Try Brenda’s recipe over at A Farm Girl’s Dabbles for all the tanginess that your sausage and peppers crave.
13. French Fries
Big and hearty French fries are the perfect side to a hefty sausage and pepper hoagie.
We love the crunchy exterior that rocks the soft potato interior. When these guys are perfectly fried, it’s like a gaggle of textures flying around your mouth.
The perfect French fry makes the perfect meal even more – well – perfect.
Grab Stephanie’s recipe over at The Cozy Cook and start rinsing the starch off those potatoes.
You know what you’re having for dinner tonight.
What to Serve with Sausage and Peppers: Begin at the Beginning
So, that’s a lot to take in. Let your mind relax for a minute before we move on from side dishes to another approach to what goes with sausage and peppers: the world of appetizers.
All right. Are you ready to move on?
Okay, here goes.
You could start the evening off with grilled cherry tomato crostini for a lightly smoky flavor.
Or a bruschetta with tart giardiniera.
Or maybe savory white beans with rosemary.
An abundant antipasto platter filled with meats, pickles, with pesto and breadsticks would also start the evening off on a festive note.
So many delicious options. Yum.
I’ll Drink to That!
Of course, one of the most classic combinations of drink and food is beer and sausage. So, what are some of the best drink combinations for your sausage and peppers?
Well, a nice, red, malty porter is an interesting choice for the Italian sausage.
A German lager is another good choice, especially if you’re using a spicier Italian sausage.
The dry, slightly spicy and fruity flavors of a saison or farmhouse ale play really well with the anise flavors, especially if you’re using sweet Italian sausage.
But maybe you have some wine lovers around your table?
Well, in that case, an off-dry Alsatian or German riesling really brings out the sweet notes in the Italian sausage. And a crisp chablis is another wonderful fit for the sweet sausage.
For a spicier Italian sausage, you can’t go wrong with a Sicilian red like a hearty and full-bodied primitivo or a sangiovese.
Desserts for the Win!
After a rich meal of sausage and peppers, a light fruit salad with an orange vinaigrette would round the evening out incredibly well.
You could also simply stick to the classics like ricotta-filled cannoli or panna cotta.
When planning an evening centered around flavorful sausage and peppers, the main thing to remember is to play with colors and textures to bring out the best of the main ingredients.
They are the star of the show after all!
And don’t forget to get the best ingredients possible. Go visit a neighborhood butcher shop for the best quality sausage available. They love to talk about their products, and you’ll walk out of the shop with a smile on your face.
We hope this collection of ideas gets you psyched for your upcoming feast and takes some of the mystery away from deciding what to serve with sausage and peppers.
What’s your favorite thing to serve with this succulent classic?
What to Serve with Sausage and Peppers
- Broccoli Rabe
- Grains Risotto
- Caesar Salad
- Cauliflower Steaks
- Grilled Zucchini
- Onion Bread
- Polenta Fries
- Caprese Salad
- Arugula Salad
- Assorted Vegetables
- Arancini balls
- Onion Coleslaw
- French Fries
- Choose your desired Sausage and Peppers side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Sausage and Peppers side to complete your meal!