By Laura Mack
September 9, 2016
Hot off the grill, these juicy, slightly spicy Italian sausages with tender, smoky-sweet peppers and onion will have your mouth watering in anticipation. High-quality ingredients, fresh from the farmer’s market, make a delicious low carb meal in less than 30 minutes!
Still traveling in our RV along the northern coast of Washington State, Dale and I arrived recently in Port Townsend. We first discovered this incredibly picturesque Victorian-era seaport on the Olympic Peninsula during our honeymoon 30 years ago and we’ve been returning to this magical place for many years since.
Surrounded by water on three sides, Port Townsend is blessed with beautiful vistas and a temperate climate that we find irresistible. The waterways of this area of the Puget Sound are dotted with sailboats, kayaks, and other pleasure craft, along with freighters, cruise ships, and the Washington State Ferries traveling to and from Whidbey Island. Celebrating the area’s rich maritime heritage, the Northwest Maritime Center, home of the annual Wooden Boat Festival, is nestled along the historic waterfront. It’s adjacent to Point Hudson Marina and RV Park, where we are staying. I start each day here with a cup of coffee and a perfect view of the ferries coming and going. Heaven!
As a foodie and whole foods advocate, there’s a lot to appreciate about Port Townsend and the surrounding area. The seafood of the region is stellar and includes many types of wild salmon, halibut, albacore tuna, and cod, along with crab and other shellfish, including spot prawns and mussels from nearby Penn Cove. The temperate climate I mentioned earlier, along with fertile soil, helps fill the local farmer’s markets with fresh produce. There is also an abundance of local grass-fed and pasture-raised sources of beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, not to mention dairy and artisan cheeses. It was a red-letter day when I discovered plain (no sugar added) kefir made from whole milk sourced from local pastured cows! It’s kind of geeky, I know, but I find it nearly impossible to find whole milk kefir where I live, especially using milk from pastured cows. At any rate, I’ve been impressed with the plain whole milk kefir from Grace Harbor Farms.
Of course, there are some terrific local restaurants that I patronize occasionally that feature the local bounty, but I enjoy creating my own simple dishes after shopping at the local farmer’s markets, as well as the Food Co-Op. In fact, the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Port Townsend is one of my favorite farmer’s markets anywhere.
My first stop at the market was to check out the gorgeous local “Evie” strawberries. A few berries with a dollop of heavy cream is a simply delicious keto-friendly dessert.
I usually scope out the entire market for inspiration before I decide what to purchase. On this day, my inspiration began with some spicy Italian sausages made from local, pastured pork that I figured would be wonderful off the grill. And what goes better with grilled Italian sausage than peppers and onions?
If I were at the grocery store, I’d probably choose red and green bell peppers for this dish, but those weren’t available this day at the farmer’s market. Instead, I found some marvelous-looking Anaheim chiles, which are mild and could take the place of green bell peppers. Then I spied some unusual red peppers in a long, somewhat contorted shape, plus some small round ones as well, and the farmer informed me that they were both sweet varieties. I chose a combination of the two. Last, but not least, I picked up a Walla Walla onion, which is a well-known sweet onion in Washington State. Onions, especially sweet ones, can be a little carby, but a reasonable portion balanced with peppers comes in at about 10 net carbs per serving, which I think is a fair trade for the burst of flavor, color, and nutrition that they bring to the table.
I rinsed the peppers, then sliced them in half, and removed the stems and seeds. I peeled the onion and trimmed the ends to create a flat surface before inserting three bamboo skewers evenly spaced and sliced the onion between the skewers. This gave me three thick slices of onion, each held together with a skewer. I brushed the vegetables with avocado oil and seasoned with salt and pepper before placing on a grill topper preheated over a high flame (see this post for more info on grill toppers). I closed the lid and grilled each side for about 5 minutes to develop some charring and blisters.
Once I had a nice char on the onion and peppers, I removed them to a cutting board to cool slightly. I wrapped the Italian sausages tightly in heavy-duty foil and placed them on the grill to partially cook by steaming. I closed the lid to keep the temperature up and let the sausages cook for about 4 minutes before turning and repeating on the other side.
While the sausages were par-cooking, I sliced the peppers into strips and cut the onion slices crosswise to separate. I spread them out on a small (quarter-size) sheet pan that I’d greased lightly with avocado oil.
To finish the dish, I removed the grill topper pan (carefully!), unwrapped the sausages from the foil, and placed them on one side of the grill. I laid the small sheet pan on the other side of the grill, closed the lid, and let everything develop more color and finish cooking, turning the sausages and stirring the peppers and onion every few minutes to keep them from burning.
At this point, I would have typically plated everything up stylishly and taken the time to photograph the finished dish for the blog. However, on this particular evening, the aroma was so enticing and we were simply too hungry to wait. I guess you’ll have to use your imagination this time!
Sometimes, the simplest, freshest ingredients make the most satisfying meals, and this was one of those cases. As my carb budget allowed, I added a small glass of peppery Zinfandel wine that complemented the grilled Italian sausages with sweet peppers and onion perfectly. Don’t let anyone tell you that eating low carb, high fat has to be boring or complicated, nor that you have to give up enjoyable, delicious food for good health. These tired paradigms need to be put to rest, one meal at a time!
What are some of your favorite keto-friendly farmer’s market finds? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet Peppers and Onion
Author: Laura Mack
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Hot off the grill, these juicy, slightly spicy Italian sausages with tender, smoky-sweet peppers and onion will have your mouth watering in anticipation. High-quality ingredients, fresh from the farmer's market, make a delicious low carb meal in less than 30 minutes!
1 pound Italian sausages, raw, sweet or spicy (no added sugars or fillers)
1 medium sweet onion
1 large green bell pepper
1½ large red bell pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil, divided
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your grill over high heat while you prep the sausage and vegetables.
- Place the sausages in a single layer on a large sheet of heavy-duty foil. Wrap snugly and fold the edges of the foil to crimp. Set packet aside.
- Rinse the peppers, slice in half lengthwise, and remove stems and seeds. Peel the onion and trim the ends to create a flat surface before inserting three bamboo skewers, evenly spaced. Slice the onion between the skewers. This will give you three thick slices of onion, each held together with a skewer.
- Brush the vegetables with 2 teaspoons of avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the grill topper on the preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, arrange the peppers and onion on the pan. Close the lid and grill each side for about 5 minutes to develop some charring and blisters.
- Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board to cool slightly. Place the foil packet of sausages on the grill to partially cook by steaming. Close the lid to keep the temperature up and let the sausages cook for about 4 minutes before turning and repeating on the other side.
- While the sausages are par-cooking, slice peppers into strips. Remove the skewers from the onion slices and cut slices crosswise to separate into strips. Spread the vegetables out on a small (quarter-size) sheet pan greased with the remaining 1 teaspoon of avocado oil.
- Remove the grill topper pan (carefully!), unwrap the sausages from the foil, and place them on one side of the grill. Lay the small sheet pan on the other side of the grill, close the lid, and let everything develop more color, and finish cooking, turning the sausages and stirring the peppers and onion every few minutes to keep them from burning.
- Serve immediately. Leftovers can be kept, tightly covered, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Nutritional info* per serving: 477 cal, 39.4 g total fat (79%), 12.6g total carbs, 2.7 g fiber, 9.9 g net carbs, and 17.8 g protein.
*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from www.nutritiondata.self.com, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.