Some days you just need a quick lunch or dinner idea that doesn’t involve much cooking. This was one of those days! I try to keep a package or two of pre-cooked sausages in the refrigerator for this very reason. Whole foods, and some supermarkets, have a good selection of gluten-free, pre-cooked chicken sausages. Some of the brands we like are Al Fresco, Applegate Farms, Aidells, Bilinski’s, and Coleman Natural/The Original Brat Hans. The particular sausages in this dish were The Original Brat Hans Sundried Tomato and Basil Chicken Sausages. Putting the rest of the meal together is basically throwing in whatever vegetables, herbs, and seasonings you can find.
On this day, I had a little fresh basil that was still hanging on outside, some zucchini, a red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, an onion, goat cheese, and a jar of pesto. Your results may vary. This involved a little cooking, but it made a great, colorful lunch reminiscent of a big bowl of pasta. Yum!
- 1 package of pre-cooked, gluten free, chicken sausages
- 2 zucchini
- 1 red bell pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- kosher salt and black pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, julienne
- basil pesto
- several basil leaves, torn into pieces
- soft goat cheese
Blacken the red bell pepper over an open flame, or under a broiler. If you haven’t done this before, this link has instructions and photos. Peel off the blackened skin, remove seeds and stem, and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
Thinly slice or julienne the zucchini to make zucchini noodles. This is a snap with the right tool: here’s another link, if you need it!
Gently heat the sausages until they are lightly browned and heated throughout. Allow sausages to cool enough to handle, then slice the sausages crosswise, at an angle, into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Add ~1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the onion and saute until onion is softened. Add zucchini noodles; saute, tossing frequently, until zucchini is tender to the bite, but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. If you’d like it a little spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes. Add sun-dried tomatoes (amount up to you) and the roasted red bell pepper strips. Toss to mix.
Add the sausage to the zucchini noodles and heat until sausage is rewarmed. Remove from heat. Stir in about a tablespoon of basil pesto. Serve with fresh basil and a dollop of goat cheese.
Soundtrack today consists of a old favorite, and one that will become one in time. First is The Only Ones, with Baby’s Got a Gun. I’ve loved this since it came out in 1980, and time hasn’t changed that. The Only Ones are best known for the song “Another Girl, Another Planet”, and this record has a bunch more of their punk/power pop sound.
The Fall have been together it seems forever, and their 29th album – Ersatz G.B. bodes well for many years more. Sounding like a drunken schoolteacher, Mark E. Smith has a knack for clever hooks and brilliant wordplay. Discover why legendary disc jockey John Peel called them his favorite band, explaining, “They are always different, they are always the same.”