Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Total Time28 minutes

Gluten-free and low carb, this healthy and delicious zucchini zoodles with sausage and kale is a new spin on a typical pasta recipe.

Forkful of zucchini zoodles with sausage and kale.

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

vegetable spiralizer attachment on mixer

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.

sauteeing garlic

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.

cooking sausage in pan

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.

preparing kale

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. 

adding kale

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.

adding zucchini to pot

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.

top view of zucchini zoodles

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!

Easy Substitutions

  • 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!

zucchini zoodles closeup

More Sausage Recipes

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liz with zucchini zoodles

A quick and fun meal for the whole family, you’ll love my zucchini zoodles with sausage and kale.

Your fork is waiting.

top view of zucchini zoodles

Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale

4.42 stars average
Gluten free and low carb, this pasta recipe is made with zucchini zoodles (noodles), sweet Italian sausage and hearty kale. A healthy and delicious meal.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 18 minutes
TOTAL: 28 minutes
Servings4

Recipe Video

Ingredients
 

  • 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 316kcalCarbohydrates: 11.6gProtein: 24.4gFat: 20.3gSaturated Fat: 5.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 863mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 2g

Photo of Liz Della Croce

Hi, I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones. I believe in the power of real, wholesome ingredients that are bursting with flavor and won’t break the bank. Whether it’s a traditional Lebanese recipe from my family or a culinary creation from across the globe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that nutritious food can be exciting, affordable, and easy to prepare.

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5 responses to “Zucchini Zoodles with Sausage and Kale”

  1. Debra Avatar
    Debra

    This was an amazing recipe! I really enjoyed all the flavors and love sweet Italian sausage, so this will now be on of my go-to recipes when I need to throw together a quick dinner.

    1. Christina Avatar
      Christina

      Absolutely love this!!!!

      1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
        Liz DellaCroce

        I’m so glad to hear it!

  2. Kristen Avatar
    Kristen

    Random question – what is your nailpolish color in that photo? I love it! (And I love the recipe too!)

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I never know nail polish colors because I get shellac and it’s always just random numbers (i.e. 193). I’m so sorry!!! But thank you!!!

Liz Della Croce eating black bean dip

Hi I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones.