If you’ve relegated sausage rolls solely to the finger-food category, you’re missing out. Bulked out with vegetables, they make a splendid dinner or lunch that will entice even picky eaters. Zucchini and onion—which are finely grated in an almost equal ratio to the ground meat—are cheap and plentiful, and they prove to be flavorful padding along with the panko, stretching the meat further. But perhaps more importantly, they provide pools of moisture that enable you to mix the meat vigorously in the style of dumplings or kebabs, making the filling juicy and bouncy rather than dense and leaden. The resulting sausage rolls are light but substantial, encased in buttery, burnished pastry.
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medium zucchini (about 8 oz. total), scrubbed
small white onion (about 4 oz.), halved
oz. ground pork
cup finely chopped parsley
Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
tsp. coarsely ground fennel seeds
tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
tsp. freshly ground black pepper
tsp. garlic powder
package frozen puff pastry, thawed
Grate 2 medium zucchini (about 8 oz. total), scrubbed, and 1 small white onion (about 4 oz.), halved, on the small holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add 8 oz. ground pork, 1¾ cups panko, ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest, 2 tsp. coarsely ground fennel seeds, 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 2 tsp. garlic powder, and 2 tsp. paprika. Beat 1 large egg in a small bowl to blend; set 2 Tbsp. egg aside in another small bowl. Add remaining egg to zucchini mixture and, using a sturdy wooden spoon or your hands, mix vigorously until evenly combined (it’s preferable to overmix rather than undermix here).
Unfold puff pastry sheets from 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed. (If using a 14-oz. package with only 1 sheet of pastry, cut in half lengthwise and roll out each half on lightly floured surface until about 14×9″.) Working with 1 sheet, spoon half of meat mixture about 1″ away from edge of pastry closest to you. Pat mixture into sausage shape, running along length of pastry. Fold pastry up and over mixture, then roll up to encase fully. Gently run your thumb along seam to seal (no need to pinch both ends of roll closed). Place sausage roll, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining sheet of pastry and meat mixture. Chill, uncovered, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375°. Brush sausage rolls with reserved egg. Using a paring knife, cut slashes in top of pastry at regular intervals. Cut each roll into 6 pieces to make a total of 12. Arrange evenly on baking sheet and bake until rolls are puffed and light golden brown, 30–40 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake until deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes longer.