Balkan Summer Sausage Stew

The Recipe: A hearty summer sausage stew, a great way to use up the summer sausage that so often shows up in gift baskets. The stew is packed with late-summer and early-fall vegetables so even though the sausage itself is calorie-dense, a serving adds up to about 200 calories. So good, this! I especially love it with a dollop of sour cream on top with some good bread for dunking into the juices.

The Conversation: A love letter to fall. (And if I may say so myself ... a lovely piece of writing.)

Balkan Summer Sausage Stew, another one-pot Quick Supper ♥, a small portion of flavor-packed summer sausage with zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes or turnips, a hearty, satisfying dinner. Low Carb. PP5.

Fall’s light is one of amber glow, somewhere between the eye-wincing harshness of summer and the wind-braced gray of winter.

Fall’s food, in turn, lies somewhere between the garden-bright salads of summer and the braised-brown meats of winter.

With modern supermarkets bearing strawberries in January and June and cranberries in relationships with May and December, we too easily forget that food comes in seasons, that seasons come with food.

But fall? Fall knows.

Fall knows it’s the open stretch between the dog days of summer and the sundogs of winter skies. Fall remembers summer sweat even as it girds for winter chill. Lustily, fall celebrates with the last of the tomatoes and the first of the apples, the last of the grill and the first of the gratins.

Fall, fall knows its place, its glorious amber-lit place. And so does fall’s food, on plates, and in our hearts.

ALANNA's TIPS This is a great recipe to use up the summer sausage (or other well-spiced sausages) that so often show up in gift baskets. The recipe calls for eight ounces but I've made it with six ounces, the extra's not missed in the least. If the sausage itself is quite spicy, you'll want to dial back the red pepper flakes. There's quite a bit of potato and zucchini to balance the spices, but still. Like many stews, Balkan Summer Sausage Stew’s flavors meld when the stew is cooked one day and served the next, it makes for great leftovers. But it is also good the first day when the potatoes and zucchini are still distinct and firm and fresh, that's the way I prefer serving it, fresh off the stove. For many years, I made this stew in a Dutch oven, all jumbled up in a typical messy stew. But for a dramatic appearance? A shallow skillet really shows off the architecture of the zucchini half moons. Bulk up the volume with little calorie consequence by adding extra onion, pepper and tomato – try okra, sweet corn and tomatillos too! Low carb eaters, substitute turnips for the potatoes, very good!


Rustic rib-sticking fall fare
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 7 cups
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped (or 1 tablespoon bacon grease)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (or thyme or sage)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf, optional
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes or 1 pound good tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 8 ounces summer sausage, skin removed, diced small
  • 2 medium potatoes, skins on, diced or 2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound zucchini, cut in half moons
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Good bread, for dunking

In a broad, shallow braising pan or skillet, start bacon on medium high. Add onions and peppers as prepped, then spices and bay leaf; cook until onions begin to brown.

Stir in tomatoes and water, bring to a boil.

Add summer sausage and potatoes, return to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer, cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until potatoes are nearly done.

Arrange the zucchini pieces on top, cover and let simmer until zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Serve in bowls with dollops of sour cream and good bread for dipping.

Made with potatoes 219 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 25mg Cholesterol; 1186mg Sodium; 21g Carb; 3g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 9g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5 & WW Points Plus 5
Made with turnips 181 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 25mg Cholesterol; 1206mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 3g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 8g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4 & WW Points Plus 4

Balkan Summer Sausage Stew, another one-pot Quick Supper ♥, a small portion of flavor-packed summer sausage with zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes or turnips, a hearty, satisfying dinner. Low Carb. PP5.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/16/2007

    I love sausage dishes, but this is the first I've seen calling for summer sausage. I'll put it on my list.


  2. Anonymous7/16/2007

    I also love sausage and this looks perfect for Autumn meals!


  3. Anonymous7/16/2007

    Summer Sausages included wth both Holiday gift baskets. Not too fond of them cold, so came to the internet to search for recipes. This sounds great. Will prepare soon.


  4. Sandy from Canada10/29/2015

    I really enjoy your emails, Alanna and keep them coming.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna