Sausage and Peppers Casserole
If you like sausage and peppers and the cheesy goodness of a layered casserole, you’ll love this Sausage and Peppers Casserole! This delicious dinner is pretty low in net carbs, but I’ll give you tips for reducing the carbs even more if you prefer.
This Sausage and Peppers Casserole was one of those comfort food ideas that just popped into my head, but it’s a mock lasagna idea that was definitely inspired by my friend Lydia’s Slow Cooker Sausage and Four Cheese Lasagna. When I made that recipe for our family Christmas party, using my Casserole Crock Pot (affiliate link) it was a huge hit.
That got me thinking about a lower-carb mock lasagna casserole using roasted red peppers to stand in for the noodles. I first tried this recipe idea of a sausage and peppers casserole with Jake, adapting Lydia’s homemade sauce a little and using roasted red peppers from a jar to replace the noodles.
It was good, but I thought it could be improved, so the next time I cooked with Kara we made it again, making the sauce with hot Italian sausage and using fresh red peppers that we roasted in the oven. And it was so delicious with the freshly-roasted peppers
If you don’t have the time or desire to roast your own red peppers, go ahead and make this delicious casserole with roasted red peppers from a jar! But if you roast red peppers in the oven, that takes the recipe to a whole new level of deliciousness! And although this casserole does have a few carbs, it’s much lower in carbs than traditional lasagna and also gluten-free! And the recipe makes eight servings, so you can probably have it for more than one meal.
What ingredients do you need for this recipe:
- large red bell peppers or Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link)
- hot or mild Italian sausage
- olive oil
- Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
- canned crushed tomatoes
- canned diced tomatoes
- Dijon mustard, probably optional but highly recommended
- Italian Herb Seasoning (affiliate link)
- chopped fresh basil (I used my frozen basil; use basil pesto from a jar or chopped basil from a tube if you don’t have fresh or frozen basil.)
- grated Mozzarella
- cottage cheese
- Ricotta cheese (optional)
- grated Parmesan cheese
Do you have to roast red peppers to make this recipe?
If you don’t have time for the extra work of roasting peppers, just use two 12 oz. jars of Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link). Using peppers from a jar will slightly increase the carbs.
What if you don’t have ricotta cheese?
The ricotta cheese gives this Sausage and Peppers Casserole those lasagna flavors so many people like. But if you don’t have Ricotta or don’t want to buy two kinds of cheese, just use more cottage cheese and it will still be delicious.
Want more ideas for low-carb lasagna casseroles?
Check out Ten Amazing Low-Carb Lasagna Recipes to find low-carb lasagna recipes from Kalyn’s Kitchen and around the web!
Tips for Roasting the Peppers for Sausage and Peppers Casserole:
(Scroll down for complete printable recipe with nutritional information.)
- Cut 4 red peppers into quarters lengthwise, removing the stem end and seeds. (I used to make this with five peppers, but not I prefer using four large peppers for fewer carbs.)
- Put peppers on a baking sheet and broil just until the skin of the peppers is mostly black.
- Immediately put peppers into a plastic or glass bowl and cover with cling-wrap; let them steam for 15 minutes.
- Then peel off the skins and discard.
- If you’re not up to the extra work of roasting peppers, use two 12 oz. jars of Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link).
Assembling and Baking the Sausage and Peppers Casserole:
- Squeeze hot turkey Italian sausage out of the casings and brown in a little olive oil; when it’s brown add the finely diced onion and Minced Garlic (affiliate link)and cook a few minutes more.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Dijon mustard (Lydia’s secret ingredient), Italian Herb Seasoning (affiliate link), and a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, pesto, or basil from a tube. (You could skip the diced tomatoes if you want even less carbs.)
- Simmer over low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
- While sauce simmers, mix together the grated Mozzarella, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese (or more cottage cheese), eggs, 2-3 tablespoons basil, and freshly grated Parmesan to make the cheese mixture. (You can use less Ricotta or skip it completely and use a bit more cottage cheese if you want less carbs.)
- Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray and make layers of half the roasted peppers, half the sausage sauce, and half the cheese mixture.
- Then make a second layer of the other half of the roasted peppers, sausage sauce, and cheese mixture. Top with a little more grated Mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake at 375F/190C for about 45 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and the top is browned to your liking.
- As you can see, we had to try it right away! (That’s my photo from Instagram; are you following me there to see those kinds of recipe previews
- Serve hot, with more grated Parmesan to add at the table if desired.
- This recipe stays good in the fridge for at least a week, or it can be frozen, and reheats beautifully.
Make it a Low-Carb Meal:
This can definitely be a one-dish meal. But if you want something else, I’d love this with Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad, Stir-Fried Spinach, Roasted Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower Rice with Basil, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts, or Lemony Green Beans served on the side.
More Casseroles with Lasagna Flavors:
- Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna Casserole
- Mock Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- No-Noodle Lasagna with Sausage and Basil
- Chicken Alfredo Mock Lasagna Casserole
- Slow Cooker Mexican Lasagna Casserole
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep where you’ll find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
- 4 large red bell peppers (see notes)
- one 19.5 oz. package hot or mild Italian sausage
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 2 tsp. minced garlic (or more)
- one 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes with juice
- one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice (see notes)
- 1 T Dijon mustard (probably optional but highly recommended)
- 1 tsp. Italian Herb Seasoning
- 6 T chopped fresh basil, divided (see notes if you don't have fresh basil)
- 1 1/3 C grated Mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 15 oz. Ricotta cheese (or more cottage cheese)
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 C grated Parmesan, divided
- Preheat broiler and spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Cut each pepper in quarters lengthwise, cutting away the stem and seeds, and place peppers skin side up on the baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet with the peppers about 3-4 inches away from the broiler heat element and broil peppers until the skin is mostly black and charred. (You will have to watch them, actual time will depend on your broiler.)
- When the pepper skins are mostly black and charred immediately transfer peppers to a plastic or glass bowl and cover with cling-wrap. Let them steam in the bowl about 15 minutes, then peel the skins from the peppers. (The skin should come off quite easily, but no problem if a little skin stays on.)
- While the peppers steam, heat the olive oil in a large deep frying pan, squeeze the Italian sausage into the pan and cook over medium-high heat until the sausage is nicely browned and all liquid has evaporated. Break it apart with a turner (or use an old-fashioned potato masher (affiliate link) while it cooks.
- When the sausage is brown add the diced onion and minced garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Dijon mustard, Italian Herb Seasoning (affiliate link), and 3 T chopped basil, stir to combine.
- Then turn the heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and you have a thick sauce, about 15-20 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, mix 2/3 cup Mozzarella, cottage cheese, Ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the other 3 T chopped basil to make the cheese mixture.
- Switch the oven to bake and preheat to 375F/190C. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. (I used a dish that was 13" x 8" but any similar size will work.)
- Make layers with half the roasted peppers, half the sausage sauce, and half the cheese mixture, spreading out the sauce and cheese mixture so it's even and covers the whole surface.
- Then make a second layer of each ingredient with the second half of the roasted peppers, sausage sauce, and cheese mixture. Sprinkle the other 2/3 cup grated Mozzarella and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan over the top.
- Bake 40 - 45 minutes or until the the casserole is bubbling and the top is browned to your liking.
- Serve hot, with a little more grated Parmesan to add at the table if desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days and can also be frozen, and this reheats well.
I used to make this with five peppers but now I prefer using only four red peppers for fewer carbs.
If you're not up for roasting peppers, use 2 12 oz. jars of Roasted Red Peppers (affiliate link), drain them well and pat dry. Using peppers from a jar will be slightly more carbs.
I used my frozen basil; use basil pesto from a jar or chopped basil from a tube if you don't have fresh or frozen basil.
To make a version of this recipe that's still tasty but even lower in carbs use 4 peppers instead of five, skip the can of diced tomatoes in the sauce, and use less ricotta (or skip it completely and use a bit more cottage cheese).
This recipe inspired by Slow Cooker Sausage and Four Cheese Lasagna from The Perfect Pantry and perfected with recipe testing help from Jake and Kara.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 318Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 766mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3.1gSugar: 16gProtein: 20g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Peppers and tomatoes both have some carbs, but this has only about 17 net carbs per serving, and it’s much lower in carbs than traditional lasagna recipes. If you’re making this for the original South Beach Diet they would recommend low-fat sausage, cottage cheese, Ricotta, and Mozzarella; other low-carb diet plans would prefer full-fat ingredients.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Casserole Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This Sausage and Peppers Casserole was first posted in 2016. It was updated in 2022 with a new title to make it less confusing and a few minor changes to make it slightly lower in carbs.