RECIPE: Sheet-pan sausage is a blueprint for future meals

Spicy Sheet-Pan Sausage and Chickpeas
(CHRIS HUNT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
Spicy Sheet-Pan Sausage and Chickpeas (CHRIS HUNT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

There’s a reason sheet-pan dinners appear frequently in this column — they’re simple, easy to prepare, and almost as easy to clean up. You can also get creative with them without too much effort. Switch up the proteins and seasonings, add a new favorite vegetable, and top with whatever herbs or salad greens look freshest at the grocery store. So think of this sheet-pan recipe for spicy sausage with chickpeas and broccolini as more of a blueprint than a prescriptive set of directions.

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I use broccolini and chickpeas because they require little prep or cook time. Just trim the woody ends off the broccolini and drain the chickpeas. After 15 minutes in the oven, they will crisp on the outside and turn tender in the center. But, if your protein of choice necessitates a longer cook time, they can tolerate it. You could use regular broccoli, cauliflower or even green beans instead of the broccolini, and swap a hearty bean, like pinto, or even cubed haloumi or feta cheese for the chickpeas.

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To season the mix, I stir in a jarred tikka masala simmer sauce, one of my favorite weeknight shortcuts. Simmer sauces, which you can find in the international aisle of the supermarket, are packed with flavorful ingredients and can easily be used as a seasoning mixture instead of the base for a saucy dish. Just about any simmer sauce will work here, so use something that suits your mood. Finally, I like to use merguez lamb sausages in this recipe, but you can opt for any spice-heavy sausage you’d like. Mexican chorizo and spicy Italian will work just as well as merguez.

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Once cooked, you’ll want to finish the dish with a spritz or drizzle of acid. The acidity will bring out the bright, tangy flavors in the sauce and balance the spicy heat. I like fresh lime with the simmer sauce, but lemon or a complex vinegar such as sherry would also work.

No matter which ingredients you use for this flexible dish, serve it right away, straight from the sheet pan.

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Spicy Sheet-Pan Sausage and Chickpeas
  • 2 small or 1 large bunch broccolini, trimmed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup store-bought tikka masala simmer sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) merguez, Mexican chorizo, or spicy Italian sausages
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Salt
  • On the side: Yogurt and steamed rice
  • Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
  • Combine the broccolini and chickpeas on a rimmed sheet pan. Add the tikka masala sauce and olive oil and toss well to coat. Spread into an even layer and top with the sausages.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook until the broccolini is charred and the sausages are cooked through and browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lime over the top. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt. Serve dolloped with yogurt, with rice on the side. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 578 calories (percent of calories from fat, 62), 24 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 41 grams total fat (12 grams saturated), 76 milligrams cholesterol, 1,228 milligrams sodium.
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