Healthy Sausage Pasta with Vegetables is made with lean Italian turkey sausage, broccoli, corn, cherry tomatoes, and garlic for a healthy and filling pasta with 350 calories per serving and 11 Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
This Healthy Sausage Pasta with Vegetables is a recipe I have been making for years, since the early 90's in fact. By packing the pasta with tons of veggies and lean protein, it's the perfect way to indulge in pasta without getting off track.
Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat and I honestly can't imagine life without a bowl of delicious pasta now and then. I love it. Luckily, there are lots of ways to make pasta dishes light and healthy and something that can fit into any diet. Let's take this dish for example. It's inspired by a Jacques Pepin recipe that originally called for Italian pork sausage and a hefty dose of olive oil. To lighten things up, all I had to do was substitute in a lean turkey sausage and use less olive oil. Since the original recipe called for lots of veggies, I didn't even have to think about ways to add more.
Let's dig into this recipe more. First let's talk about this killer combination of veggies. The pasta uses fresh broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and corn. So good. If you can find fresh corn, I highly recommend using it but if not, canned or frozen will work as well. Same goes for the cherry tomatoes. Fresh will taste the best, but if you can't find any flavorful tomatoes, then you can substitute canned diced tomatoes instead. Always think about what will give you the best flavor. Sometimes in the winter months, veggies can lack flavor and it makes sense to go with canned or frozen instead.
The "sauce" for this pasta is a simple combination of olive oil with the flavors of the cooked sausage, veggies, and then a touch of pasta water to thicken things up. You will be amazed that the dish feels flavorful and moist without ever creating an official sauce. Then top with some Parmesan cheese and dinner is ready.
Recipe Ideas for Healthy Sausage Pasta with Vegetables
- Vegetarian: To make this dish vegetarian, you have a few different options. Option one, you can simply leave out the sausage. However, if you want some protein, you could substitute vegetarian crumbles, tempeh, white beans, or garbanzo beans.
- Kick up the spice: Add more red pepper flakes or chop up a spicy pepper like a poblano or jalapeno and add it to the sauteed veggies.
- Switch out the veggies: Although I love this combination, you can use any veggies you like. Zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, onion, green beans, the options are endless.
- Different protein: If turkey sausage isn't your thing, add a protein that you enjoy. You could use chicken breast, ground chicken, or a different type of sausage. If you do opt for a plai protein, I would recommend seasoning it with grill seasoning or Italian seasoning to make sure it is nice and flavorful.
What is the best healthy sausage?
There are so many options when it comes to lean and healthier sausage these days. Everything from chicken to turkey to meatless products and many come in links or ground options. You can also make your own sausage using this Italian sausage seasoning and a package of ground chicken, turkey, lean pork, or beef. With that said, here are some of my favorite options for healthy sausage
- Trader Joes: You can pretty much always find a package of Trader Joe's chicken sausage in my fridge for quick and easy meals. With about 100 calories per link, tons of delicious flavors, and a price tag of $3.99-
$4.99, they are always a good option. Unfortunately, TJ's doesn't sell a ground chicken sausage, but in most recipes, sliced links will work just as well.
- Al Fresco: I have always liked the Al Fresco brand products and their chicken sausage is no exception. One thing I like about the Al Fresco sausages is that they offer both precooked and raw options. The raw options are great for recipes calling for ground sausage.
- Jennie O's: In terms of lean turkey sausage, Jennie O is pretty much the only brand I can consistently find. They come in both sweet and spicy Italian flavors and are sold raw with the ground turkey. Just pop them out of the casing when you need ground sausage.
- Applegate: In terms of clean eating, these are the best around and are free of nitrates, preservatives, and other fillers. Plus they come in great flavors and taste amazing. They are ususally a little pricier.
- Beyond Meat: When it comes to vegetarian sausage, it's hard to beat Beyond Meat. They have the texture and taste of real meat but are completely plant-based. You could serve these to meat-eating guests and they wouldn't even know it was something different.
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Healthy Sausage Pasta with Vegetables
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- 6 oz lean Italian turkey sausage
- 12 oz high fiber ziti
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 2 U cloves garlic, chopped (more to taste)
- 2 cups corn (fresh, canned, or thawed frozen)
- 12 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt to the water, and cook the pasta until it's al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Meanwhile break apart the sausage into small pieces and cook in 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan until nicely browned (about 10 minutes or so).
While the pasta is cooking and sausage is browning, rinse your broccoli florets and halve any of the tomatoes that are especially large.
Once the sausage has browned, add the broccoli and garlic to the pan, stir to combine everything and then reduce the heat, cover the pan and let cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the corn and tomatoes, cooking covered for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the drained pasta, reserved pasta water, salt and remaining olive oil. Stir to combine everything over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can dump everything into the pasta pot to combine if your saute pan isn't quite large enough.
Turn out to a warmed pasta bowl and serve with grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, if you like.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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