Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles with Sausage

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles with Sausage

These 20-minute Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles with Sausage are the perfect low-carb and keto-friendly pasta dinner. Every bite is full of flavor, packed with protein and veggies, and I promise that no one will miss the pasta.

317 CAL 12g CARBS 21g FAT 31g PROTEIN 8

Sausage Zucchini Noodles with Garlic and Parmesan cheese is a healthier pasta meal everyone will love. Make it with just zucchini noodles or fold in some regular pasta as well for a heartier option. This delicious healthy pasta recipe is ready in just 20 minutes, packed with flavor, and is a great low-carb option when you are craving pasta. 

The key to making zucchini noodles delicious is knowing how to cook them so they don’t get soggy and then pairing them with a flavor-packed ingredient like sausage. The rest is easy.  Add some garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese, and dinner is ready.

Truth be told, I have been making a version of this at least once a week for dinner and the whole family loves it. Normally I make mine with just zucchini noodles and then mix in some real pasta for the bigger eaters in my home.

Mixing zucchini noodles with regular spaghetti noodles is also a great way to introduce it to picky eaters.  Start with just a few strands of zucchini and slowly add more each time you serve it.

If you still are looking for ways to use up all that summer zucchini, try these Shrimp Scampi Zoodles, Asian Zucchini Noodles, or Ground Turkey and Tomato Basil Zucchini Noodles.

Ingredients for zucchini pasta including ground sausage, zuchini noodles, garlic, olive oil, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients and Easy Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make this delicious pasta dinner. 

  • Zucchini: The base of this recipe is zucchini noodles. Homemade zoodles or store-bought zucchini noodles will work. You could also swap in spaghetti squash and other veggie noodles.
  • Sausage: To keep this dish light, usually I make it with ground turkey sausage or chicken sausage. Any type of ground sausage can be used, including beef. Choose a flavor that you enjoy. We usually use spicy Italian sausage, but sweet Italian sausage or flavored sausage is also delicious. Sausage links also work but they won’t infuse the dish with quite as much flavor. To make it even lighter, make your own sausage with lean ground turkey. 
  • Garlic: Most pasta dishes are packed with garlic and this recipe isn’t any different. Fresh minced garlic adds the best flavor. If the sausage has a lot of garlic flavor, you could leave it ou or use garlic powder. 
  • Parmesan: Cheese is a great way to finish a zucchini noodle dish. It adds richness, a slightly nutty flavor, and salt. Use any cheese you like including pecorino, romano, feta cheese, or goat cheese. This can be left off to make the recipe Paleo, dairy-free, and Whole30-friendly. 
  • Red pepper flakes: Leave this out if you prefer things less spicy or if you use spicy sausage.
  • Butter and olive oil: The combination of butter and garlic adds richness to the dish. Feel free to use just olive oil or just butter if you prefer. 
  • Optional: If you want a heartier sauce, add your favorite jarred marinara sauce or throw in a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes when cooking the sausage. They will burst and create a heartier sauce.

How to Prep Zucchini Noodles

Here are the three easiest ways to make zucchini noodles.

  • Spiralizer: This is the most popular and easiest way to make zucchini noodles. Both the larger spiralizers and hand-hold options work great.
  • Mandolin: Carefully slice the zucchini into planks that are about 1/8 inch thick. Then use a knife to slice those planks into noodles.
  • Vegetable peeler: There are some great vegetable peelers on the market to make vegetable noodles. They work just like a normal peeler but “peel” the vegetable into noodles. 

Note: Many grocery stores also sell premade zucchini noodles in the fresh produce section or freezer aisle. 

sausage, zucchini noodles, Parmesan cheese, and butter in a skillet.

How to Cook Zucchini Noodles (That Aren’t Soggy!)

The main complaint people have when cooking zoodles is that they come out mushy and soggy. Follow these easy tips to ensure your zucchini noodles are the perfect texture.

Follow these steps to ensure your zucchini noodles retain their texture and don’t release too much water during cooking.

1. Prep the Zucchini:

Use fresh zucchini for firmer noodles after cooking. Spiralize your zucchini into noodles or use a vegetable peeler for thin strips.

2. Salt and Rest (Optional)

Sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit in a colander for 20-30 minutes, then gently squeeze out excess moisture.

3. Avoid Overcooking

Zucchini noodles cook quickly and soften further after removing from heat. Aim for al dente texture.

4. Cooking Methods

  • Sautéing: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add noodles, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

  • Microwaving: Place noodles in a microwave-safe dish, cook for 1 minute, then in 30-second bursts as needed.

  • Baking: Spread noodles on a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake at 400°F for 7-10 minutes.

5. Pat Dry

After cooking, pat noodles dry with paper towels if there’s excess moisture.

6. Serve Immediately

Zucchini noodles are best served right after cooking to prevent them from becoming soggy.

Sausage and zucchini noodles served with Parmesan cheese in a bowl with red pepper flakes.

Recipe Ideas and Variations

There are so many ways to change up this recipe and make it your own. 

  • Add tomatoes: Add more flavors with cherry tomatoes, drained diced tomatoes, or sundried tomatoes. Or add some jarred marinara sauce or sundried tomato pesto. 
  • Add extra veggies: For more veggies, add some sauteed mushrooms or sauteed cauliflower. We also love throwing in some baby spinach or frozen peas. 
  • Change the cheese: Instead of Parmesan cheese, melt shredded mozzarella on top for a baked pasta-style dish. Or use crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese. 
  • Different pasta: Try this recipe with a different veggie noodle (spaghetti squash, butternut squash, palm noodles, or summer squash noodles) or use a combination of zucchini noodles and traditional pasta. 

Side Dishes for Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Although this dish is substantial enough to be a meal on its own, it is also delicious with a simple side dish. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the most common questions about this dish.

The most common reason for soggy zucchini noodles is overcooking. Make sure to only cook the zucchini until they are just barely tender. If they continue to cook, they will release a lot of liquid and get soggy. 

If you want to make sure they aren’t soggy, you can salt the zucchini noodles before cooking and place them in a colander. This will draw out some of the water. Then rinse, dry thoroughly, and cook. 

This dish works great with any type of sausage including chicken sausage, pork sausage, beef sausage, or turkey sausage. If you use precooked sausage links, you may need to add some extra seasoning since it won’t season the whole dish in the same way.

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