Friday, June 15, 2012

SEXY Summer Side Dishes: Turkey Sausage and Spinach Penne

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Penne

Let's face it, we all get a little tired of potato salad and macaroni side dishes in the summertime.  I crave it every year around Memorial Day when the barbecue season starts, but by the 4th of July, I'm really looking for something lighter, healthier and a little more appetizing.

Over the next week or so, I'll be sharing some SEXY Summer Side Dishes!  They're easy, healthy, delicious and colorful.  You'll be the success of the barbecue this season, you'll look fabulous in your bikini and you'll have a happy, full tummy!

First, I'm sharing my Turkey Sausage and Spinach Penne.  It's got just a bit of Italian Turkey Sausage, some fire roasted red peppers and lots of healthy, fresh spinach.  This is a perfect compliment to a lean steak or turkey burger barbecue, and its only got about 250 calories per serving!

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Penne

  • 3 Italian turkey sausages (about 9 ounces), casings removed
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 8 ounces dried penne
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dried ground sage
  • 8 oz. white or button mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the red bell pepper in half lengthwise and remove the inside seeds and membrane.  On an open flame or gas burner, place the pepper directly on the flame.  Roast it on high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, until soft and blackened.  You can also place it in in the broiler if you don't have a gas burner or grill.  Remove from the heat, allow the pepper to cool for about 5 minutes and slice it into thin strips.  Set aside.
  2. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Add the penne and cook on high heat for 8-10 minutes, until the noodles are soft.  Drain, set aside and keep warm.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the sausages (remove the casings first) and break them up into small pieces.   Add the mushrooms, sage and Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir and cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until the sausages are cooked through and everything is browned.
  4. In a large serving bowl, add baby spinach, roasted red pepper and scallions.  Mix until combined.  Stir in the sausage mixture and the warm penne and mix until the spinach is slightly wilted. Top with Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

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