Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Pasta made with only five ingredients is a healthy weeknight dinner that is quick and easy to prepare. This simple pasta dish is loaded with garlic, turkey sausage, broccoli, and Parmesan cheese and still only has 360 calories per serving.
This five ingredient Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Pasta will get even the pickiest eaters to eat their broccoli. Get a complete meal with one lovely dish of pasta including whole grains, protein, and veggies. This One Pot Caprese Pasta and Chicken Broccoli Pasta are also always in our meal plan rotation.
This simple Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Pasta would never work without a delicious sausage. Sausage is one of my favorite ingredients to use since it has so much flavor on its own. It means that you don't have to worry about adding lots of spices or extra fat to give your dish flavor. And since sausage pairs perfectly with pasta, one of my go-to pasta dishes is this simple one, pairing turkey sausage, broccoli, and a touch of Parmesan cheese.
The sausage and garlic give the dish plenty of flavor and the Parmesan cheese and reserved pasta water create a creamy, light sauce. That's another good trick. Saving some starchy cooking liquid from the pasta is a great way to create a low-calorie creamy sauce without needing tons of cheese or heavy cream. As long as there is some fat in the dish, it will combine with the fat and emulsify to create a creamy sauce. Genius. In this dish, it combines with the garlicky olive oil, fat from the sausage, and cheese to create a dreamy garlicky cream sauce without using any cream at all.
Now let's talk veggies. I almost always use broccoli but almost any veggie you have on hand will work. I have made it with broccolini, cauliflower, asparagus, and zucchini with success. Sometimes I finish it with some fresh cherry tomatoes when they are in season. In winter months, you can use drained canned tomatoes. The canned fire roasted tomatoes add a really nice flavor.
Can I make a low carb or keto version of this Turkey Sausage Pasta with Broccoli?
Looking for a low carb version? You can substitute in spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for the regular pasta. However since you don't have the starchy water, you want to get the same creamy sauce. It will still taste great, just won't turn out exactly the same. To create a creamy sauce you could either add some cream cheese or heavy cream. You could also try this lighter version that uses spaghetti squash and is topped with walnuts, fresh herbs, and lemon juice. It's delicious.
How can I lighten up this Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Pasta?
There are a few different ways to lighten up this dish. The first is to substitute all or some of the noodles for a vegetable noodle like zucchini or spaghetti squash. I like spaghetti squash better in this dish since there is already a green veggie. You can also use 99% lean ground turkey instead of the sausage. For folks on Weight Watchers, this will make the dish 6 Freestyle Smartpoints instead of 9. If you do go this route, I would recommend seasoning the turkey well so you don't miss out on all the extra flavor. This Italian sausage seasoning recipe is great to add to the meat.
How could I make this into a vegetarian dish?
There are lots of great vegetarian sausage options on the market. You can either use a sausage link and slice it or look for a vegetarian sausage crumble, which is a little harder to find. You can also use the standard vegetarian crumble mixture and add the Italian seasoning mentioned above. If you don't want to use an alternative meat product, canned white beans or chickpeas are both delicious. Again just make sure to add extra seasoning so there is still plenty of flavor.
What's the healthiest pasta? Should I choose whole grain, high fiber, quinoa or rice based?
This is a tough question to answer and it really depends on your dietary needs and honestly on taste. In my opinion, there are some great healthier pasta options out there that use ancient grains or legumes, but none taste the same as traditional pasta. Since my family doesn't love alternative pasta, I almost always reach for either a whole grain pasta or a high fiber pasta. Both of these pass the husband and kid test and are healthier than a standard white pasta. Plus since I am almost always pairing the pasta with something healthy, this is a great choice for our family.
Next comes pasta made with quinoa, brown rice, beans, or lentils. Many experts believe these are healthier than a wheat-based pasta. Personally, I like this chickpea option, this lentil option, and this brown rice pasta. My toddler will eat all three of these options happily. One key step is not overcooking these types of pasta since they become gummy quickly. I also find the leftovers don't keep as well so I try to only make enough for one meal when I use these pasta options.
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Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Pasta
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- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli. Drain and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet under no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add some red pepper flakes here as well if you like things spicy. Stir in pasta, broccoli, and Parmesan cheese. Add the pasta water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring until a thin sauce forms. Serve with fresh lemon.
* 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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