Welcome to the world of Italian sausage – a flavorful and versatile ingredient that can make any dish sing with its savory notes. Whether it’s grilled on a summer day, simmered in a hearty stew, or twirled onto a fork with your favorite pasta, there’s something inherently satisfying about a well-cooked Italian sausage.
So, ready to bring a bit of that Italian magic to your table?
Dive in and explore our delicious pairing suggestions; who knows, you might just discover your next culinary obsession!
I’ve put all the recipes in specific categories to help you find your favorites faster. Jump around using the navigation below!
Italian sausage has a rich and bold flavor that can be balanced out beautifully with a fresh and crunchy salad.
The acidity in vinaigrettes and pickled ingredients often found in salads can cut through the fattiness of the sausage, providing a refreshing contrast. They are also often light, making them a perfect counterpart to the heavier sausage.
Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas
This green salad with apples, cranberries, and pepitas is a great pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a refreshing contrast to the rich and bold flavors of the sausage. The crispness of the apples, the tartness of the cranberries, and the crunch of the pepitas provide a textural balance to the sausage.
To serve it with Italian sausage, simply plate the salad alongside the sausage or serve it as a side dish. The acidity in the dressing will help cut through the fattiness of the sausage, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Give your taste buds a treat with this Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas from Cookie and Kate.
Tomato-Basil Vidalia Onion Salad
This tomato-basil Vidalia onion salad is a great pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a refreshing and tangy contrast to the rich and bold flavors of the sausage. The acidity in the Italian salad dressing and the freshness of the tomatoes and basil help to cut through the fattiness of the sausage, creating a balanced and delicious combination.
To serve it with Italian sausage, simply plate a portion of the salad alongside the sausage, allowing the flavors to complement each other.
A traditional Italian salad consisting of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze. The creaminess of the mozzarella and the fresh flavors of the tomatoes and basil provide a wonderful balance to the hearty sausage.
Serve sliced sausage on the side of the salad or create a layered tower alternating slices of sausage with the Caprese ingredients for a unique presentation.
Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad
This recipe for grilled romaine Caesar salad is a good pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a fresh and crunchy salad that complements the rich and bold flavor of the sausage. The acidity from the lemon juice in the dressing and the freshness of the romaine lettuce help to cut through the fattiness of the sausage, providing a refreshing contrast.
To serve it with Italian sausage, simply grill the sausage alongside the romaine lettuce and white beans, and then serve the salad as a side dish or on top of the sausage for added flavor and texture.
Here’s the Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad with Herbed White Beans recipe if you’re interested, courtesy of Minimalist Baker.
This antipasto salad recipe is a good pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a refreshing and crunchy contrast to the rich and bold flavor of the sausage. The combination of chopped prosciutto, salami, mozzarella, artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, and olives creates a flavorful and diverse salad that complements the sausage.
To serve, simply plate the salad alongside the Italian sausage, allowing the flavors to complement each other.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
The Mediterranean farro salad with hummus dressing is a great pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a refreshing and crunchy contrast to the rich and bold flavor of the sausage. The acidity in the vinaigrette and pickled ingredients in the salad help cut through the fattiness of the sausage, creating a well-balanced and satisfying combination.
To serve it with Italian sausage, simply plate the salad alongside the sausage for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Serving appetizers like cheese boards or antipasto platters alongside Italian sausage can create a well-rounded meal. The appetizers can introduce a variety of flavors and textures to the dining experience, complementing the richness of the sausage and giving diners a wider array of tastes to enjoy.
A selection of cheeses with varying textures and flavors makes a simple yet elegant appetizer that can complement the bold taste of Italian sausage.
Opt for a variety of cheeses including sharp cheddar, a soft brie, a tangy blue cheese, and a nutty Gouda.
Pair the cheese and sausage on a cracker or bread slice for a delightful bite.
Olives and Pickles
Offering a variety of marinated olives and pickles provides a tangy, salty contrast to the rich Italian sausage. You can serve the sausage sliced on a platter alongside bowls of different olives and pickles. The brininess of these accompaniments can cut through the sausage’s richness and refresh the palate.
Prosciutto and Melon
This traditional Italian appetizer pairs the salty, thin slices of prosciutto with sweet, ripe melon. This combination of sweet and savory can complement the flavors of Italian sausage.
You can serve the sausage sliced on a platter alongside the prosciutto-wrapped melon for a refreshing contrast.
(This appetizer also pairs well with tortellini soup.)
Peach Caprese Skewers
The peach caprese skewers recipe is a good pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a refreshing and light contrast to the richness of the sausage. The combination of juicy peaches, sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil provides a burst of flavors that complement the savory and robust taste of the sausage.
To serve, you can arrange the skewers alongside the Italian sausage on a platter, allowing guests to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures in one meal.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
This stuffed zucchini boat recipe is a brilliant pairing for Italian sausage because it showcases the sausage as the star of the show. The sausage provides a burst of flavor that’s beautifully balanced by the fresh, subtle sweetness of the zucchini. Additionally, the diced vegetables, tomatoes, and cheese complement the sausage, creating a symphony of flavors.
To serve, you could place these zucchini boats alongside other Italian appetizers such as a classic bruschetta or an antipasto platter. The variety in taste and texture makes for an engaging, well-rounded dining experience.
Keep in mind that these zucchini boats themselves include sausage in the stuffing, so when planning your meal, ensure other dishes complement rather than overload the sausage flavor. Enjoy these delightful boats as an appetizer, and let their robust flavors set the tone for the meal to come.
Sounds like something up your alley? Here’s the Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe, courtesy of What Should I Make For… – Recipes for breakfast, dessert and everything else..
Italian sausages are often served in or with bread to soak up their juices and provide a textural contrast. The hearty flavor of the sausage pairs well with both simple crusty bread and flavored bread varieties.
Bread also acts as a perfect vehicle for other accompaniments like grilled onions and peppers or marinara sauce.
Italian Crusty Bread
This type of bread is simple, but its hearty texture and crust make it an ideal companion for Italian sausage. Slice the bread and serve alongside the sausage, perfect for soaking up any juices or sauces.
These rolls are the traditional choice for Italian sausage sandwiches.
The soft inside and crusty outside of hoagie rolls are perfect for holding grilled or cooked Italian sausages, along with other toppings like onions, peppers, or a spoonful of marinara sauce.
The robust flavor of garlic complements the savory notes of Italian sausage very well.
Warm garlic bread can be used to make a simple sausage sandwich, or served on the side as an aromatic accompaniment.
Grilled slices of bread topped with tomatoes, garlic, and basil. While typically served as an appetizer, bruschetta can also pair well with Italian sausage.
You can place a cooked sausage on top of a piece of bruschetta for a hearty, flavorful bite.
An Italian bread flavored with olive oil, salt, and sometimes herbs. Its airy texture and unique flavor profile can complement the sausage nicely.
Cut the focaccia into slices and serve it on the side, or use it as a base for an open-faced Italian sausage sandwich.
(In case you have a bunch of focaccia leftover and no idea what to do with it, check out our article on what to serve with focaccia.)
Condiments and Sauces
Condiments and sauces like marinara, mustard, or relish can add an extra layer of flavor to Italian sausage, enhancing its savory profile with their tanginess or sweetness.
This is one of the easiest condiments to serve with Italian sausage. Mustard’s tangy and slightly spicy flavor enhances the savory taste of the sausage. A simple dollop of mustard on the side of a sausage dish allows for customizable flavor enhancement.
A sweet pickle relish can provide a delightful contrast to the rich and savory flavors of Italian sausage. The crunchy texture and sweet-tangy taste work well to balance the hearty sausage. Like mustard, it’s an easy addition to any sausage dish.
Onion Jam Recipe
This onion jam recipe is a great pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a balance of savory and sweet flavors. The caramelized onions and red wine vinegar provide a tangy and slightly sweet taste, which complements the richness of the sausage.
You can serve the onion jam as a condiment alongside grilled or roasted Italian sausages, or even use it as a topping for sandwiches or bruschetta to add a burst of flavor.
Overall, this recipe enhances the savory profile of Italian sausage with its tanginess and sweetness, making it a delicious combination.
A classic Italian sauce, marinara adds a tangy and robust flavor that complements Italian sausage. It’s relatively easy to make, but does require some simmering time to develop its full flavor.
You can either cook the sausage directly in the sauce, enhancing the overall flavor, or simply serve it on the side.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
This takes some effort to make but can add a smoky and sweet flavor to Italian sausage. Homemade barbecue sauce allows for customization – you can make it as sweet, spicy, or smoky as you like.
This is great for grilling sausages or can be used as a dipping sauce.
Whether roasted, grilled, sautéed, or stewed, vegetables add a lighter, often healthier component to a meal featuring Italian sausage. The natural sweetness of vegetables like bell peppers or onions complements the savory sausage, and the variety of possible vegetable preparations can offer contrasting textures and flavors.
Simple Sauteed Broccoli
This recipe for sautéed broccoli is a good pairing with Italian sausage because it provides a lighter and healthier component to balance out the richness of the sausage. The crisp-tender and flavorful broccoli complements the savory sausage, and the Italian seasoning and garlic powder in the recipe enhance the overall Italian flavor profile.
To serve it with Italian sausage, you can simply plate the sautéed broccoli alongside the sausage or mix them together for a delicious and well-rounded meal.
A classic comfort food, mashed potatoes are creamy, soft, and pair well with almost everything, including Italian sausage.
The creaminess of the mashed potatoes complements the savory sausage, and the potatoes can also soak up the delicious juices from the sausage.
As a lower-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower pairs well with Italian sausage. The creamy texture of the cauliflower complements the sausage, and its light flavor won’t compete with the sausage’s seasonings.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted until caramelized and crispy, Brussels sprouts provide a slightly bitter, earthy contrast to the savory sausage. The roasting process intensifies their flavor, making them a strong contender to stand up to Italian sausage.
(Roasted Brussels sprouts also pair well with cilantro lime chicken.)
This recipe for roasted vegetables is a great pairing with Italian sausage because it offers a lighter and healthier component to balance out the richness of the sausage. The roasted vegetables, with their natural sweetness and contrasting textures, complement the savory flavors of the sausage.
To serve, simply plate the roasted vegetables alongside the Italian sausage for a delicious and well-rounded meal.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffing bell peppers with a mixture of rice, tomatoes, onions, and seasonings makes a visually appealing and tasty side dish.
You can serve these alongside Italian sausage or even incorporate diced sausage into the stuffing for an integrated experience.
Grains, Starches, and Pasta Dishes
Italian sausage pairs well with dishes that include grains, starches, or pasta. These bases absorb the rich flavors of the sausage, enhancing their taste and providing a comforting, balanced meal.
From polenta and risotto to pasta dishes, these combinations highlight the savory intensity of Italian sausage, offering a satisfying, familiar, and hearty dining experience.
Creamy Polenta with Eggs & Mediterranean Greens
This recipe is a good pairing with Italian sausage because the creamy polenta provides a smooth and comforting base that complements the savory flavors of the sausage. The addition of goat cheese adds a tangy and creamy element to the polenta, enhancing its richness.
The Mediterranean greens, such as arugula and sundried tomatoes, add a fresh and vibrant contrast to the dish, balancing out the richness of the sausage and polenta. Overall, this combination creates a satisfying and well-rounded meal.
Chicken Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes
This recipe for chicken penne pasta with sundried tomatoes is a good pairing with Italian sausage because it provides a flavorful and hearty meal. The rich flavors of the sausage will complement the savory chicken, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes in the pasta dish.
To serve it with Italian sausage, you can either cook the sausage separately and serve it alongside the pasta or incorporate cooked and crumbled Italian sausage into the sauce for an added burst of flavor.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
This dish takes spaghetti noodles and tosses them with garlic and oil, with a sprinkle of chili flakes for heat. The strong garlic flavor and the heat from the chili flakes can stand up to the bold flavors of Italian sausage.
A classic Italian dish, risotto has a creamy, almost velvety texture that complements the firmness of Italian sausage. The parmesan in the risotto adds a salty, umami note that pairs well with the sausage’s seasonings.
Instant Pot Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage
This recipe is a good pairing with Italian sausage because the flavors of the sausage complement the pasta and marinara sauce. The sausage adds a rich and savory element to the dish, while the pasta and sauce provide a comforting and satisfying base.
To serve, simply plate the penne pasta with Italian sausage and top with Parmesan cheese and parsley for added flavor and garnish. It’s a delicious and hearty meal that is sure to please.
This recipe for spaghetti carbonara is a good pairing with Italian sausage because both the sausage and the carbonara sauce are rich and flavorful. The creamy egg and cheese sauce of the carbonara complements the savory taste of the sausage, creating a harmonious combination.
To serve it with Italian sausage, you can either cook the sausage separately and serve it alongside the carbonara or incorporate it into the dish by cooking it with the pancetta and garlic.
Either way, it will add an extra layer of deliciousness to the dish.
This recipe for fettuccine alfredo is a good pairing with Italian sausage because the rich and creamy sauce complements the savory flavors of the sausage. The pasta acts as a perfect vehicle to soak up the flavors of the sausage and the alfredo sauce, creating a satisfying and comforting meal.
To serve it with Italian sausage, you can either slice the sausage and toss it with the pasta and sauce, or serve the sausage on the side as a protein accompaniment to the dish.
Best Italian Sausage Lasagna + Video
This recipe is a good pairing because the Italian sausage adds a flavorful and robust element to the lasagna. The sausage is cooked with tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, which creates a rich and tangy sauce that complements the cheese and noodles. The combination of the sausage, cheese, and pasta creates a comforting and satisfying meal that is perfect for a family dinner or gathering.
To serve this Italian sausage lasagna, you can pair it with a side salad or some garlic bread. The freshness of the salad or the crunchiness of the bread will provide a nice contrast to the creamy and cheesy lasagna.
Side dishes like coleslaw, and eggplant parmesan salad add a variety of flavors and textures to a meal with Italian sausage. These sides can also help balance the richness of the sausage with their own unique profiles – sweetness, acidity, creaminess, or crunch.
This is an easy side dish that offers a nice contrast to Italian sausage. The cool, crunchy texture of the cabbage and the tangy dressing help balance out the richness and heat of the sausage.
Creamy Crockpot Mac and Cheese
This creamy crockpot mac and cheese recipe is a great pairing with Italian sausage because it adds a creamy and comforting element to the meal. The richness of the mac and cheese complements the bold flavors of the Italian sausage, creating a delicious combination.
To serve, simply plate the Italian sausage alongside a generous portion of the creamy mac and cheese for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
Healthy Keto Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
This recipe for keto eggplant parmesan is a good pairing with Italian sausage because it provides a flavorful and satisfying side dish that complements the richness of the sausage. The eggplant slices are breaded and baked until tender, then layered with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese for a delicious and hearty combination.
Serve the eggplant parmesan alongside the Italian sausage for a complete and satisfying meal that offers a balance of flavors and textures.
After a savory main course featuring Italian sausage, traditional Italian desserts like tiramisu, cannoli, or panna cotta can add a sweet ending to the meal.
The rich and creamy textures of many Italian desserts provide a pleasant contrast to the hearty sausage.
Traditional Sicilian cannoli are tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. The sweet and creamy filling provides a nice contrast to the savory sausage.
Offer a cannoli as a sweet finish to balance out the rich, savory flavors of the meal.
An Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded. The flavorings vary, but vanilla is commonly used. The rich, creamy texture and mildly sweet flavor make it a great counterpoint to the savory Italian sausage.
This classic Italian dessert is made with ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, and flavored with cocoa. It is a bit more involved to prepare, but its creamy texture and contrasting flavors of sweet and bitter make it a nice finish to a meal with Italian sausage.
Also known as Italian doughnuts, zeppole are deep-fried dough balls, usually topped with powdered sugar and sometimes filled with custard or jelly. The sweetness of the zeppole offers a lovely contrast to the hearty sausage, and the warm doughnuts bring comfort to the end of the meal.