Gluten-free and low carb, this healthy and delicious zucchini zoodles with sausage and kale is a new spin on a typical pasta recipe.
One of my all-time favorite high protein and low carb dinner recipes is Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale. Easy to make, kid-friendly, and packed with flavor, it is always a family favorite. My kids love watching me spiralize veggies, so if you want to get your kids to like zucchini noodles, I highly recommend keeping them in the kitchen to help you cook dinner. I don’t think it’s ever too early to include your kids in meal making!
- Zucchini: Look for larger zucchinis which are easier to spiralize and give you longer “noodles” for the dish.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is preferred for this dish but regular olive oil will work fine too.
- Garlic: Aromatic garlic is a must in this dish. It adds a slight punch of heat which mellows and sweetens as it cooks.
- Italian Sausage: Italian sausage is scented with garlic, fennel and other spices adding tons of flavor to the zucchini noodles and kale. We love using a combination of sweet and spicy but either works. Turkey sausage is also a great option.
- Kale: Hearty, leafy kale is a nutrient powerhouse in this dish. Perfect for absorbing all of the cooking juices from the sausage and excess water from the zucchini noodles.
- Parmesan Cheese: High quality parmigianno reggiano is a great option for this recipe because it’s nutty, pungent and perfectly salty.
- Optional garnishes: Before serving, I love sprinkling with chili flakes and fresh herbs such as basil or Italian parsley.
How to Make Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale
To get started, first, turn your zucchini into noodles with your favorite vegetable spiralizer. Pro tip: If you and your family are not 100% sure about zucchini noodles yet, start off by replacing half of the pasta first. Chances are, your family won’t notice the zucchini noodles mixed in with the traditional spaghetti.
Then, heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Grate garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds — or until it becomes aromatic.
Remove the sweet Italian sausage from casings and cook in the pan until browned, using a wooden spoon to break down meat into bite-sized pieces.
Then you’ll prepare the kale. To do this, soak your greens in a large bowl of cold water, then lift them out of the water, allowing the dirty water to fall back into the bowl. Chop the stems (which are packed with nutrients) and fold the leaves together and use a knife to cut them into slices. Rotate the slices and chop them in the other direction to make small pieces.
Once the sausage is fully cooked, add the kale to the pan and sauté it until it starts to wilt and turn bright green, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Then toss in the remaining olive oil and zucchini noodles to the pan. Sauté the mixture until the zucchini is just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. NOTE: You don’t want to boil or pre-cook the zucchini before this point. This is the secret to firm, tender zucchini noodles that aren’t overly mushy.
Then add on the parmesan cheese and check for seasoning. Garnish with some fresh basil or chili flakes for an extra kick, and enjoy your Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale!
- Swap the protein: You could make this dish with ground beef, chicken, or turkey instead of sausage, although I think it’ll impact the flavor quite a bit. Or experiment with sweet sausage vs spicy sausage!
- Switch out the greens. If kale isn’t your favorite, or you happen to have something else on hand, you could use spinach, chard, or any other leafy green!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you cook zoodles so they are not mushy?
There is no need to boil or pre-cook the zucchini noodles! The key to tender, not overly mushy zucchini noodles is to cook them right in the pan with the sausage, garlic, oil and other spices.
Can you spiralize zucchini ahead of time?
Yes, you can spiralize the zucchini up to 3 days before you plan to use them, then take them out of the fridge and pat them dry and then cook!
What are zoodles made out of?
The term zoodle is a combination of “zucchini” and “noodle.” So they’re made of zucchini, but you could use young yellow squash as well in most recipes!
More Sausage Recipes
- Sausage, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup
- Sausage, Kale and Bean Soup
- Sausage, Eggplant and Kale Pasta
- Sausage and Kale Gnocchi Pasta
- Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage and Kale Pasta
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A quick and fun meal for the whole family, you’ll love my zucchini zoodles with sausage and kale.
Your fork is waiting.
Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale
- 3 medium zucchini (spiralized)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4 links sweet Italian sausage (casings removed, pork or turkey both work)
- 4 cups kale (chopped)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- chili flakes and minced basil (optional garnish)
- Using your favorite vegetable spiralizer, turn your zucchini into noodles; set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove sausage from casings and heat in the pan using a wooden spoon to break down meat into bite-sized pieces. Cook until cooked through and golden brown, about 7-9 minutes.
- Add kale to the pan and sauté until it starts to wilt and turn bright green, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Toss in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and zucchini noodles to the pan and saute until zucchini is just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Right before removing from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and toss until melted. Check for seasoning then add salt or pepper to taste. Garnish with chili flakes and basil if you wish to serve.