I cannot stop grilling this month! Taking advantage of our back deck and grill is probably one of the things I look most forward to during the summer. We’ve really been working on turning the deck into an extension of the rest of our house so that it’s a comfortable place to hang out during the warmer months. Since buying the townhouse 3 years ago we’ve slowly been making improvements to the “room” by adding cushioned furniture, an outdoor rug, citronella lanterns and, of course, the grill. We’ve even been teaching the cat to get comfortable with a harness and leash so she can sit outside with us. It’s truly becoming a family affair.
Don’t be fooled by the hesitant look; Sofi loves going outside and begs us to go back out again at the end of the evening. So between the cat joining us and the changes to our deck, summer outdoor grilling has become quite the weekly ritual for us.
Even though sometimes we like to keep things very basic with hamburgers and hot dogs, we also like to grill up a variety of meat, seafood and vegetables. I like to change things up! We’ve been hosting gatherings and invited the neighbors over, so I’m always finding new ways to experiment with the menu. One of my recent favorite meals was a simple grilled summer pasta salad that I made using Al Fresco All Natural Sweet Italian Sausage. The whole dinner was ready in 30 minutes which made it perfect for a relaxed evening. I really love using their chicken sausages when I’m trying to keep the meal light because they have 70% less fat and 35% less sodium than pork products. They’re also gluten-free (which doesn’t matter when I’m adding them to pasta but it comes in handy for other recipes). Jeff and I also big fans of the buffalo style chicken sausage, though I’ve had trouble finding it locally a few times. If you can find it, try swapping it out in this recipe for a spicier version and add a few shakes of hot sauce to enhance the flavors!
This is s a healthy, flavorful, filling meal and it’s also a great way to use up vegetables that might be nearing the end of their shelf life. A good charring on the grill has this wonderful way of bringing life back to vegetables. And this dinner is a perfect way to celebrate summer grilling.
- 1½ cups orzo
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ - 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large green or poblano pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced in half from root to tip
- 1 yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
- a neutral high heat oil for grilling (such as vegetable or peanut oil)
- 4 links sweet Italian sausage (I used Al Fresco All Natural)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo according to package instructions and then drain. Place the cooked orzo in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, toss the green pepper, onion, squash and zucchini with a light coating of the high heat oil, just enough to prevent it from sticking to the grill.
- Use tongs to carefully place the vegetables and sausage on the hot grill and then close the lid. After 3-4 minutes, use the tongs to turn the sausage and flip the vegetables and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the sausage and vegetables are nicely charred on both sides. Remove from the grill and allow everything to cool for several minutes until it can be handled comfortably.
- Slice the sausage thinly and add to the orzo.
- Remove the stem and seeds from the top of the pepper and then peel away the skin, discarding. Dice the roasted pepper.
- Slice off and discard the root of the onion and dice coarsely. Slice the squash and zucchini. Add all of the vegetables to the orzo and sausage and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
Disclaimer: I was paid to develop a recipe for Al Fresco all natural. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you so much for reading my sponsored posts; they help support my blog!