January 6, 2016

Whole Grain Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

Over the weekend we had our first snow; gentle, delicate flurries that drifted down peacefully from grey skies. It snowed last year too – our first year here in the Pacific Northwest – but just barely, and this time it actually stuck, coating the already icy ground with an inch-or-two-thick blanket of lovely, pure-white snow. We had fun watching the pup romp around in it, for a bit, but spent most of the day cozied up inside, escaping the cold, content to watch the snowflakes settling softly on the pines through the windows.

I do like the idea of starting the new year out fresh, with healthy-eating resolutions and lighter fare. There is something rejuvenating about this time of year, but Winter days like these still call for warm-you-up-from-the-inside comfort food. Hearty soups and stews and braises, and steamy bowls of pasta.

Green smoothies alone just aren’t gonna cut it.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

This flavorful pasta dish is a perfect compromise: soul-satisfying in the way that a big bowl of pasta should be, but packed with healthier ingredients in the form of whole grain penne pasta, lots of garlic, and dark green, broccoli florets. I toss in some chicken sausage (studded with sundried tomatoes) and a good bit of Parmesan, because really, what is pasta with parm?

Now, though this recipe is written for regular broccoli, I actually prefer using tender broccolini. Sometimes labeled as “young/baby broccoli” in the grocery store, broccolini is actually a hybrid, crossed with Kai-lan, or Chinese kale, and has a sweeter flavor, longer, more tender stock, and cooks to al dente perfection in a flash. If you can find it, go that route. If not, don’t worry, standard broccoli is, of course, still delicious.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

If you’re not a fan of broccoli/broccolini, you could also definitely use a combination of spinach, kale, Swiss chard or other dark leafy green, instead.

However you mix it up, one of my favorite parts of this recipe is that the whole thing comes together super quickly. You start a big pot of salty pasta water boiling, heat some olive oil, garlic and onion, sauté the broccoli and sausage, and everything’s ready to go by the time the whole-grain penne is cooked. After a quick toss together – and a generous dusting of Parmesan – a healthy, hearty, resolution-worthy dinner is on the table in under half an hour.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

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Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, minced
  • 4 (3 oz) links cooked/smoked chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 bunch broccoli,* chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for serving
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions (about 11 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-heat, until the butter is melted and the oil just begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped sausage to the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. During the last two minutes of cooking, add the chopped broccoli to the pasta pot. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  5. Add the drained pasta, broccoli, and reserved pasta water to the skillet with the sausage. Stir to combine. Add the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm with an extra dusting of Parmesan. Enjoy!

Notes

You can also substitute broccolini (sometimes labeled as young or baby broccoli), broccoli rabe, or another favorite green for the broccoli.

Make it gluten-free: Switch out the pasta for a gluten-free version. My favorite by far is Jovial brown rice pasta, which tastes as much like the “real” thing as any I’ve tried. I find it in several shapes at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage | via forkknifeswoon.com
 

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage – Emily J. Goodman
    March 7, 2019 at 11:38 am

    […] I am really excited about this post today! Along with having a great new pasta with broccoli and chicken sausage recipe to share with you THIS IS THE FIRST POST WRITTEN ON MY NEWLY DESIGNED BLOG ?✨  Do you like it?? For those of you have been following me for the past two years you know I have fallen in love with the 21 Day Fix program, especially the nutrition aspect. Being a foodie who has always enjoyed cooking and dining out in restaurants I never used to really pay attention to what I was eating or how MUCH I was eating. At the end of the summer of 2014 I decided that enough was enough. I was sick and tired of not feeling comfortable in my clothes and I knew a change had to be made. Enter the 21 Day Fix. Although it was a little overwhelming at first to read through all of the program information I was lucky to have an amazing coach who made sure I understood everything and was set up for success. She knew I was nervous about the size of the color coded containers but promised me that they were deceiving to eye and that if I filled them with food and then poured it out on a plate I would be very surprised at how much food they held. And she was right ?     While after two years I have been able to “graduate” to more advanced programs such as the 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity Max:30, and 22 Minute Hard Corps I still follow the Fix nutrition. Although I am able to better eyeball out my portion size I actually still prefer to use my containers to ensure I am staying on point to continue to see results. It is a lot easier for me to add a little extra bit here or a few more bites there if I am not measuring and honestly the portion size I get for meals using my containers is way more than enough to keep me full and happy! Here’s an example of a salad I had for lunch recently. You can see how I measured out all the ingredients in my containers and then assembled them on a plate – it’s a lot of food!     I get asked all the time how I track my containers each day and while there is a really cool app called the 21 Day Fix Tracker® I am much more of a pen and paper gal. I was super excited when I came across these adorable wellness journals for the 21 Day Fix from Carrie Elle while playing around on Instagram. How fun are the covers? They are so colorful!     I love these journals because I can track my progress with my weight and measurements and I can write out all my meals for the day or week and then mark off my containers as I eat them throughout the day. I also love that I can track my water and log what workout I did along with any notes I want to make for myself. If I am doing a program with weights and I know I will be ready to bump up my weight choice next time I do that workout I write that down! That way next time I go to do that workout I can just flip back check out my notes and remember to make that change.     These make great gifts and I love to give these out to the amazing people who join me in my monthly challenge groups. If these journals will help people stay on track and excited about their own health and fitness journey I want to share the goodness!     So in honor of creating the recipe below for Carrie Elle and her family and for my brand new wellness group that is kicking off September 5th I will be giving away journals to the next 3 people who decided to start their health and fitness journeys with me for the month of September. To enter just fill out this form so I can learn a bit more about you and your goals. Once completed I will reach back out to you within 24-28 hours to get started! I am so excited to be sharing my Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli recipe. I am always on the lookout for a recipe with minimal ingredients and that can be whipped up in under a half hour for those busy weekday nights. The chicken sausage is pre-cooked and packed full of flavor with a little bit of spice. I chose to use RP’s Pasta Gluten Free Fusilli. I found it in the refrigerated section of my grocery store alongside the other fresh pasta. I do not follow a gluten free diet but like to cut it out where I can and this is the first pasta I have tried that tastes just as good as regular pasta and it cooks in about 3 minutes. You can use any pasta you choose and I find whole grain or quinoa pasta to work really well in this recipe also!     I hope you enjoy this recipe and take time to check out all of Carrie Elle‘s amazing products – along with the wellness journals she has beautiful meal planners, blog planners, life planners, chore charts, and digital downloads. Thank you Carrie for partnering with me on this really fun post!   Adapted from Fork Knife Swoon […]

  • Reply
    17 Easy Whole Grain Pasta Recipes That Don’t Suck | SoftLabPro
    January 27, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    […] whole wheat pasta with broccoli and chicken sausage tastes great with whatever kind of sausage you like, actually. Go sweet or spicy, and try different […]

  • Reply
    17 Easy Whole Grain Pasta Recipes That Don't Suck | Health Premiere
    January 27, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    […] entire wheat pasta with broccoli and hen sausage tastes nice with no matter roughly sausage you favor, in truth. Go candy or highly spiced, and take […]

  • Reply
    17 Easy Whole Grain Pasta Recipes That Don't Suck - STYLECASTER - W Contest
    January 27, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    […] whole wheat pasta with broccoli and chicken sausage tastes great with whatever kind of sausage you like, actually. Go sweet or spicy, and try different […]

  • Reply
    5 Easy, Healthy Dinners That Can Also Work As Lunch
    January 8, 2019 at 9:16 am

    […] Pin It | Make It […]

  • Reply
    Shabreah
    February 4, 2018 at 8:51 am

    How many calories in each serving please?

  • Reply
    Ingrid
    January 5, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I’ll be making this for dinner with friends tomorrow night, as I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and it seems like a good cold weather not-too-unhealthy meal! Wondering if I could add a little goat cheese for creaminess and flavor to the sauce. Anyone tried that?

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 5, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      Hi, Ingrid! I would never, ever discourage you from adding goat cheese (to just about any pasta dish)! It would be super yummy here. Enjoy!! 😊

  • Reply
    RuthAnn L.
    December 11, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Awesome recipe! Made it with kale and it was sooo good. Just a tad on the saltier side.. but overall so yummy!

  • Reply
    Katie Rodriguez
    July 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Made this tonight. I was so excited to try but it was incredibly bland. After all, the “sauce” is just pasta water and cheese. I even used some sausage that had lots of flavor. I was really excited and it looked so good, but I was disappointed.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 23, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Does it have enough flavor without a sauce? Is it bland?

  • Reply
    National Noodle Month - Health Alliance Blog - Helping You Be Your Best
    March 26, 2017 at 1:10 am

    […] Whole Grain Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage […]

  • Reply
    Natalie
    September 13, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    I made this tonight and it was great. We went back for seconds. The only thing I changed was added some diced fresh tomatoes to the top which added extra color and flavor. Will be making this again, thank you!

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 14, 2016 at 11:39 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks, Natalie!

  • Reply
    Pam
    January 15, 2016 at 12:31 am

    For whatever reason I can’t get any of these recipes to print . Has anyone else had this problem ? And I have two different printers.

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Pam! I’m sorry you’re having an issue with the recipe printing – I will definitely look into it. Would you mind sharing which browser you use?

  • Reply
    Aysegul
    January 11, 2016 at 5:37 am

    I am hungry just looking at this dish. I love how practical, healthy, and easy-to-make this is.
    Best meal for the chilly weather outside!
    XOXO

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 11, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Thanks so much, Aysegul! XO!

  • Reply
    Lydia Plunk
    January 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Hi, Laura! Any recommendation on whole wheat pasta brands?

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 7, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Hi Lydia! I’m honestly not super picky (give me just about any pasta and I’ll be a happy girl), but I am a big fan of Delallo organic whole wheat penne and often buy the Whole Foods 365 brand organic pastas. If you’re looking for a gluten-free version, I don’t think you can beat Jovial’s brown rice pastas. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Reply
        Lydia Plunk
        January 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        Thank you! I make my own “regular” pastas- but the whole wheat and gluten-free, I’ve not had much success with. So the info is VERY useful.

  • Reply
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps
    January 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    The perfect winter meal — healthy, hearty and beautiful!

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Nicole! Hope you are enjoying lots of snuggle time with your little one!

  • Reply
    Heidi @foodiecrush
    January 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    I’m with you on the broccoli rabe, I love it’s slightly bitter bite.

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks, Heidi!

  • Reply
    Joan
    January 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    This looks like a great way to start the New Year — healthy, but hearty!

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks, Joan!!