Friday, June 7, 2013

Sausage-Zucchini Pasta

There's an interesting twist to this pasta dish, but I'll save that reveal for later.

Sausage, zucchini and tomatoes are a great combination for pasta sauce. Since tomatoes aren't in season yet, I used canned Cento crushed tomatoes, which is quite tasty and means this dish comes together quickly in about 30 minutes.

So what's the big twist? This dish is vegan (*unless you put cheese in it). I used Field Roast Italian sausages, which are made from grain, red wine, a mix of vegetables (eggplant, onion, red pepper) and spices. I was skeptical about whether I would like them, as I'm suspicious of foods that masquerade as other foods, but they were actually pretty tasty. Of course, feel free to substitute cooked meat sausage in this dish, but if you've never tried vegan "meat," this is a good opportunity to give it a chance.

Sausage-Zucchini Pasta

1 lb. short pasta, such as casarecce
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt, to taste
2 green zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch coins
2 yellow zucchini (summer squash), cut into 1/4-inch coins
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried oregano
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 lb. cooked vegan Italian sausage (such as Field Roast), cut into 1/4-inch coins (may substitute uncooked meat sausage that is browned separately or first before adding the onion and garlic). 
3/4 cup dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
*Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (optional, served at the table; obviously no longer vegan if you add cheese)

1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and sauté until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté another 8-10 minutes until softened and the onions are starting to brown. Add thyme, oregano, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, pepper, and sausage, and sauté just a few minutes until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the wine, then add the tomatoes and water. Increase heat and cook until the mixture bubbles then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir in and half the fresh basil, reserving the rest to top the pasta dishes. Add the pasta to the pan and stir with the sauce until evenly combined. Serve topped with fresh basil and, if desired, grated parmesan cheese.

*The addition of parmesan cheese, while tasty, would make this dish vegetarian rather than vegan.


  1. This can't be vegan. I enjoyed it too much!

  2. I was surprised by how much I liked it. Sure, the vegan sausage isn't exactly like meat sausage, but it was still tasty. I think it has its own merits.