Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers with Hot Italian Sausage

Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers are the perfect addition to a spicy Italian Sausage sandwich. They’re super easy to whip up, with just a few ingredients!

An Italian sausage sandwich with caramelized onions and peppers on it.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. This post contains Affiliate Links. Please see the disclaimer here.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of Italian sausage. There’s nothing like that first glorious bite, hot off the grill. A big old Italian sausage sandwich was actually my go-to order at Yankee Stadium when I lived in NYC and went to games. And I especially loved how they piled each sandwich high with onions and peppers with bonus points when I can smother this sandwich in cheese. So it seemed like a good idea to share an Italian sausage sandwich with my own recipe for some awesome sautéed peppers and onions that are slowly caramelized and finished with a little bit of balsamic vinegar, which adds the most perfect tang to contrast with the spicy sausage!

Since I’m a little older and a lot wiser now, I find myself looking for meat options that are not only deliciously flavorful, but super high-quality and more nutritious. Which is a big reason that I’m super excited for my third installment in my collaboration with Shady Brook Farms (if you’re located on the East Coast) and Honeysuckle White (if you live in the Midwest and on the West Coast).

A straight on image of a bite out of a sausage sandwich with this caramelized onion recipe

Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage Links

Shady Brook Farms turkeys are raised without growth-promoting antibiotics. They along with sister brand Honeysuckle White are the only major turkey brands to exclusively provide family farm-raised turkeys. This effort to help consumers understand
where their food comes from and how it was produced makes me feel good about serving these products to my friends and family.

The wide variety of turkey products that they provide makes it super easy to throw them on the grill and have a versatile and unique meal in no time. They taste awesome by themselves or act as the perfect base for seasoning combinations, flavors and toppings.

They come in a wide variety of delicious flavor, but today I opted to use the Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage Links as they add the perfect amount of spiciness without being overwhelming. And the Balsamic peppers and onions compliment the spicy kick from the sausage perfectly!

A Package of Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage links with the cooked sandwiches next to them

Click here to find the Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage Link that are featured in this recipe at a retailer near you!

Tips for how to caramelize onions and peppers

  • Give yourself plenty of time. You want to do this low and slow so that the onions don’t burn for that you’ll need time so that you’ll never have to raise the heat over medium.
  • I start the onions first and then add the peppers.
  • I wait until the last 5 minutes of baking to add the vinegar.

A picture showing how to caramelize onions in a pan

Frequently asked questions about this peppers and caramelized onions recipe

  • Why won’t my onions caramelize? It’s quite likely that your heat is too high. It also takes a good 30-40 minutes to get there, so be patient.
  • How do you cut an onion to caramelize? You’ll remove the root and the skin and then you can cut the onions however you want. The smaller they are, the quicker they’ll caramelize. For this recipe I kept everything to a rough dice to make them easier to eat when you bite into the sausage sandwich.
  • How do you caramelize onions without burning them? Once again, this comes back to using lower heat and stirring often.
  • How dark should caramelized onions be? It really comes down to personal preference, but generally darer than golden. The darker they get the more flavorful they’ll be.
  • Are caramelized onions high in sugar? Although they have a sweeter flavor (because the larger sugar molecules break down during the low and slow cooking) I don’t add additional sugar to this outside of the vinegar at the end.
  • Why are my caramelized onions bitter? Most likely they either burned or the outside cooked and the inside did not- both of these things are due to using heat that’s too high.
  • Can you make caramelized onions ahead of time? Yes, you can make these a couple days ahead and refrigerate until serving.
  • How long do caramelized onions last? Around 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.
  • How do you reheat caramelized onions? In the microwave or the stove over low heat.

Italian sausage on a grill.

Make it a meal!

A few great recipes to round out and complete this meal would be:

sauteed peppers and onions in a bowl

Helpful tools:

  1. Measuring cups
  2. Measuring spoons
  3. Chef’s knife
  4. Cutting board
  5. Large saute pan
  6. Wooden spoon
  7. Instant read thermometer
  8. Grill tongs and turner

A sausage sandwich with peppers and onions and cheese on it.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers are the perfect addition to a spicy Italian Sausage sandwich. They're super easy to whip up with just a few ingredients!

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramelized onions
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, roughly chopped (around 1 large onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, roughly chopped (around 1 1/2 large peppers)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt, to taste (optional)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1 package Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage Links (6 links total)
  • 6 hero rolls
  • 6 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add onions to the pan and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Reduce heat to medium low and add peppers. Saute 45 minutes stirring often (manage the heat so they don't burn!). Add balsamic vinegar for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking and remove from heat.

  4. While the onions and peppers caramelize, spray the grill with cooking spray and preheat to medium high.

  5. Add Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage Links to the grill. Cook for around 10 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, turning frequently. 

  6. While sausage links cook, preheat the broiler in the oven and line a sheet pan with parchment. Lay rolls onto sheet pan, cut side up.

  7. When sausage links are cooked through, place each link into a bun. Top with onions and peppers and then a slice of cheese.

  8. Broil 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted (keep a close eye on them so you don't burn them!). Serve immediately.

A Package of Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage links with the cooked sandwiches with peppers and onions around it.

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make it please tag me on Instagram with @thelifejolie so I can share it <3

Looking for some other recipes featuring Italian Sausage?

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Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers are the perfect addition to a spicy Italian Sausage sandwich. They're super easy to whip up with just a few ingredients!

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