Monitoring the levels of polluting gases such as CO and NOx from high temperature (500°C and higher) combustion environments requires materials with high thermal stability and resilience that can withstand harsh oxidizing and reducing environments. Au nanorods (AuNRs) have shown potential in plasmonic gas sensing due to their catalytic activity, high oxidation stability, and absorbance sensitivity to changes in the surrounding environment. By using electron beam lithography, AuNR geometries can be patterned with tight control of the rod dimensions and spacings, allowing tunability of their optical properties. Methods such as NR encapsulation within an yttria-stabilized zirconia overcoat layer with subsequent annealing procedures will be shown to improve temperature stability within a simulated harsh environment. Since light sources and spectrometers are typically required to obtain optical measurements, integration is a major barrier for harsh environment sensing. Plasmonic sensing results will be presented where thermal energy is harvested by the AuNRs, which replaces the need for an external incident light source. Results from gas sensing experiments that utilize thermal energy harvesting are in good agreement with experiments which use an external incident light source. Principal component analysis results demonstrate that by selecting the most “active” wavelengths in a plasmonic band, the wavelength space can be reduced from hundreds of monitored wavelengths to just four, without loss of information about selectivity of the AuNRs. By combining thermal stability, the thermal energy harvesting capability, and the selectivity in gas detection (achieved through multivariate analysis), integration of plasmonic sensors into combustion environments can be greatly simplified.