Saturday, December 4, 2010

Spaghetti with Turkey Sausage, Olives, and Tomato Sauce

I like a good pasta and love to experiment with flavours and ingredients to create new recipes - especially at this time of year when the belt begins to tighten - it's nice to have a balance of reduced calorie/sodium/fat inspired meals to counteract the richness of the holiday season.

But how to enjoy healthy ingredients without sacrificing flavour or texture?

That's where today's recipe comes in.

It's been a hectic week and I felt like the comfort of some kind of pasta with Italian sausage. Unfortunately, though, Italian sausage is high in fat and calories and after Giada's Lemon Risotto and my Holiday Appetizer Party, I was feeling the need to tone it down.

I started thinking... could I incorporate a lower fat turkey sausage into a bolognese style sauce and make it taste like Italian sausage?

There is nothing I like better than a creative challenge :-)

So I set to work thinking about the kinds of flavours I could incorporate to recreate the taste of Italian sausage. Flavours like thyme, and basil, oregano, and maybe even a little heat. And then I thought about all the good things that go into a bolognese sauce - the sweetness of carrot, rich flavourful stock, onions and celery... the only component I decided to omit was milk because I didn't think it was necessary in this particular rendition.

And the result of my efforts....

A deliciously, rich and savoury slow simmered sauce with a mere smidgeon of the fat and calories you might find in regular Italian sausage.

Compare the difference:

100 grams Italian Sausage: 323 calories, 26 grams fat
100 grams turkey sausage: 88 calories, 8.75 grams fat

To make this even healthier you could serve over whole wheat spaghetti and substitute the olive oil with cooking spray.

Spaghetti with Turkey Sausage, Olives, and Tomato Sauce
For printable recipe click HERE

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced into small squares
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 package turkey sausage (12 links) removed from casings
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced and pitted
  • 1 540 ml (18 fluid ounce) can Aylmer's Accents Tomatoes or other brand of low sodium stewed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or decrease amount if you like your sauce less spicy)
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat olive oil on medium high in a heavy bottomed dutch oven and sautee the sausage, onions, carrots and celery until the meat is cooked and begins to brown and stick to bottom of pan.
  2. Add thyme, oregano, basil, and minced garlic. Stir well to incorporate.
  3. Add chicken stock and stir well to get any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the wine. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer on medium heat until the stock and wine have almost completely reduced.
  5. Add the olives, tomatoes, bay leaf, balsamic vinegar, salt to taste, and cayenne pepper if using. Bring to a good simmer then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer stirring occasionally 30 minutes.
  6. Serve over al dente spaghetti with fresh parmesan arregiano cheese.
Buon appetito!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Oh my this does sounds so good! You sound a lot like me though. I like to experiment with new and old flavors in pasta and also like to lighten things up. Most it's to use what I happen to have!

    Very nice post, you even broke it down to the calorie count! I'm impressed! :D

  2. It does sound good. I don't have turkey sausage though, but I imagine I could substitute? Hope you're having a great weekend.

  3. Wow! This looks absolutely delicious! (And so healthy!) I can't wait to try it!

  4. What a great meal and perfect for Christmas! Great inspiration there for the table setting. I'm new here and happy to find your blog that's filled with great things!

  5. Great experiment, Lyndsay - looks like a wonderful outcome. Great idea to substitute turkey for Italian sausage, and boost it up with plenty of flavour :-)