Italian Summer Sausage “Pasta”

Italian Summer SausageSummer time means buying fruit and vegetables when they LOOK, FEEL & TASTE their best. The other day at the grocery store I snagged big beautiful bell peppers and zucchini. In our home, a quick, wash, cut and sautee is how we enjoy our veggies but I was definitely in the mood for something a little more SOPHISTICATED!

Internally, I wanted a BIG BOWL OF PASTA! Sometimes, I think I should have been born part Italian that’s how MUCH I love pasta.

But being gluten-free really does limit you. Most restaurants in our area offer GF meal options but very rarely do you see gluten-free noodle dishes on the menu. My guess is because the noodles are expensive and their texture and taste is something to get used too. Since, my husband and I are also fitness minded we don’t do noodles too often.

When we do break out the noodles in our house, we usually go for something like this:

 Italian Summer Sausage

      or like thisItalian Summer Sausage

 

 

 

 

 

Both are great and SUPER HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES but if your used to your wheat infused noodles than both of these options are going to be hard sells to your tongue…not going to lie. 😉

Alright, so here’s another nugget of truth, we eat gluten-free noodles so infrequently that my 2 1/2 year old daughter doesn’t eat them. Once in awhile she does but very rarely. She’ll eat around them and even suck the sauce off the noodles but then they pop right out again. She’s just not a big fan. And then there’s my fitness hubby that doesn’t want to eat them because of the nutritional content. So that leaves me to slowly eat through an expensive box of gluten-free noodles…which usually does not happen. Tired of throwing away the half eaten box of pasta noodles, I started coming up with HEALTHIER alternative noodle options.

This list does NOT disappoint. There’s variety and depending on your skill level in the kitchen all of these options are pretty non threatening. 🙂

The best part about these options is that they are easier on our pocket book and they fit our food philosophy of  “Try to Eat Food In It’s Original Form.” Basically, eat whole foods whole.

Here’s Our List of Alternative Noodles:

1. Quinoa
2. Brown Rice
3. Spaghetti Squash
4. Zucchini Noodles Curled or shredded

Of course you can always buy 100% whole wheat pasta noodles too for a healthier option. Just check your food labels to make sure it’s really 100% whole wheat and not “enriched flour.” Enriched flour means that the wheat has been striped leaving only a fraction of the nutritional value of vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can read more about this here.

Besides, being gluten-free, I’ve come to realize that using a vegetable pasta alternative benefits my family in 3 ways.

Benefit 1: Mom & dad don’t have to worry about the carbs growing our waistline.

Benefit 2: My family & children get another serving of vegetables into their day.

Benefit 3: Using vegetables makes you feel lighter & doesn’t leave you feeling groggy.

Okay, so if you have never used zucchini as a pasta alternative than here’s a great place to start.

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I love this vegetable cutter. It was a one of the few birthday gifts my husband picked out for me all on his own the first year we got married. I was complaining that cutting vegetables was taking way too much time. This literally saved me from NEVER buying a vegetable again. LOVE LOVE it!! It is also perfect for when we make homemade sweet potato fries. 🙂

Alright, time to make this AMAZING low calorie, great tastin and easy Italian Summer Sausage dish.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Italian Summer Sausage:

Serves: 4-5
Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

– 1.5 pounds of ground pork
– 3 medium zucchini
– 1 small onion diced
– 1 cup goat cheese (optional)
– 1 bell pepper diced
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tsp. oregano
– 1 tsp. basil
– 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
– salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cut and chop bell pepper and onion with 1 tbsp olive oil.

2. Curl zucchini using your spiral vegetable slicer or thinly slice zucchini. Add to onion and bell pepper and continue cooking.

3. Once vegetables become tender, add ground pork and begin browning. Add seasonings and let meat and vegetables simmer for 3-5 minutes.

4. Top with goat cheese or parmesan

Italian Summer Sausage

I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite pasta dishes?

2 thoughts on “Italian Summer Sausage “Pasta””

  1. Actually 100% whole wheat pasta noodles are not a healthier option. According to Dr. Peter Osborne of glutenfreesociety.org there are no real gluten free grains even for people who aren’t celiac or don’t have a gluten intolerance like we do.

    I do miss pasta and other starchy carbs sometimes, but I have gone grain free and feel so much better.

    1. Hi Suzanne, thank you for sharing. I would agree with you that most of us could do better with a lot less grains in our life and the tendency of being GF is just consuming the same amount of grains but different types. It’s really about moving towards a “whole foods” approach and a plant based diet. That’s awesome that you are grain-free!

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