sheet pan roasted vegetables and sausages with… lemony basil pesto! i wasn’t kidding when i said i had a bunch of recipes coming that make use of that jar of lemony basil pesto that has taken up permanent residence in my fridge (i mean, i keep making and using the pesto – it’s not the same old batch sitting there getting funky). the pesto is just so good and this dinner is just so easy, thanks to our friend the sheet pan.
speaking of easy, though, it’s true confessions time, friends. back in september we bought a new oven, after our last one refused to participate in heat making anymore. and it’s awesome. it does all kinds of fancy things. like reliably turn on. and bake things at the temperature it’s set at. it’s pretty amazing.
and while i may sound just a *touch* snarky about these fancy features, a) i don’t take them for granted and b) it does *even more* than that. it’s just that i hadn’t tried any of the other features.
like convection baking.
convection baking is one of those things that has been around for years that i just never quite got around to learning about, likely because the ovens i’ve had over the years were focused on maybe trying to reliably produce heat. adding a fan to blow said heat around to even out hot spots and speed up cooking times was definitely not within the realm of possibilities. so i got used to getting by without such amenities.
until one night recently when dinner was supposed to be already happening (as dictated by my stomach) and the brussels sprouts i had planned were still stubbornly raw, on account of me not having yet roasted them. a tiny voice in the back of my head wondered if perhaps this wasn’t exactly the kind of situation that convection baking excels at, namely, quickly and evenly drying out and roasting vegetables so they get all golden and glowy.
i dug out the oven manual (yes, i am that kind of person) and decided to give this convection baking thing a whirl.
not only is it faster, it also produces more golden brown deliciousness (aka more maillard reaction takes place), since the fan drives off the water in the vegetables, allowing them to brown better in less time and without overcooking into mush.
in other words, there is a button on my oven that performs miracles and it is labeled “convection bake”. and i had no idea.
so, homework time: if you, too, have a miracle button on your oven and you’ve never tried it, please (please!) dig out your manual and figure out how to get your miracle on. probably you just push the button. (turns out it’s not quite so difficult as i used to imagine it might be.)
if you don’t have a miracle button, have no fear: i provide both convection and regular roasting timing below. and your sheet pan roasted vegetables and sausages with lemony basil pesto will also be delicious. i know this for sure since the first time i made this recipe, i had not yet affiliated* myself with this technology.
so as long as your oven produces even a rough approximation of the heat you ask it to, easy and delicious sheet pan roasted vegetables and sausages with lemony basil pesto can be yours. and that’s really all that matters on a wednesday night when you are trying to resist the siren song of the cereal box.
*the charmingly not-quite-right usage of this word is an homage to a receptionist at a health clinic who told my friend (back in 2005, but still) that she couldn’t look up the address of another health clinic for us because she, “wasn’t affiliated with the internet”. it’s become something of a phrase among this group of friends.
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
sheet pan roasted vegetables and sausages with lemony basil pesto is easy to make, healthy, and delicious – a perfect weeknight dinner.
- 2 medium/large heads of broccoli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 hot italian turkey sausage links (approximately 13 oz. / 369 g.), chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes
- 2 medium onions
- 10 oz. mushrooms (baby bella or white button mushrooms both work well)
- 4 tablespoons lemony basil pesto, more to taste
- preheat the oven to 425° F (same for conventional or convection baking). have on hand 2 large, rimmed baking sheets.
- trim the very end off of the broccoli stalk and then chop the stalk into ½” (1.25 cm) pieces. cut the head of the broccoli into florets, following the natural stalk divisions to minimize the little bits falling off everywhere. transfer to one of the baking sheets. coat the broccoli with about half of the olive oil. spread out in a thin layer. if you’re convection baking, the broccoli takes 5 minutes longer than the other vegetables/sausages so put the broccoli in the oven 5 minutes before the rest of the vegetables. if you’re baking conventionally, everything cooks in the same amount of time.
- slice the sausages into 3 pieces each (this is easier if the sausages have been in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up). set on the empty baking sheet.
- slice the onion from pole-to-pole to create 1/2” (1.25 cm) thick wedges. transfer to the baking sheet with the sausage.
- cut the mushrooms into quarters (6 pieces if they are really big). transfer to the baking sheet with the onion and sausage.
- coat the onions and mushrooms in the remaining olive oil. spread out in an even layer.
- convection: add the second baking sheet to the oven. roast for 15 minutes (so 20 minutes total for the broccoli that got the 5-minute head start). when time is up, the vegetables should be golden brown and tender. the sausage should be cooked through (165° F in the center/no pink).
- conventional: put both baking sheets in the oven. roast for 15 minutes. stir/flip everything around on its respective sheet and put back in the oven for about 10 more minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown and tender and the sausage is cooked through (165° F in the center/no pink).
- serve in individual bowls, each topped with a tablespoon of lemony basil pesto (or more to taste). i store all of the leftover sausages and vegetables together in an airtight container and just keep the lemony basil pesto separate. the sausage heats up best in the microwave so that it heats through quickly without drying out and the veggies are fine this way too, but if you want to maximize the deliciousness of the reheated veggies, spreading them out in an even layer and popping them in a 400° F degree oven for a few minutes until they are heated through will help them crisp back up.