i know the other day when i was begging you to buy january basil and make lemony basil pesto, i promised a prompt return to more seasonal fare. and here i am with zucchini. hang on for just a second before you split, pretty please?
the spiralized zucchini noodles are just a vehicle for not only my (our?) beloved lemony basil pesto but also for hot italian sausage and shredded brussels sprouts that have been sautéed such that they basically melt into the sausage and pesto. are you back on board with me?
i do hope so, for this one skillet dinner is easy, delicious, and filling. and if january zucchini is just too much, you could certainly make this with spiralized parsnips, carrots, or sweet potatoes, all of which are much more in season. or if you haven’t foresworn carbs in a fit of resolution-making, you could use straight up pasta(!), you rebel you.
if you’re into trying spiralized vegetables but not (yet?) into buying another thing to find a home for in the kitchen (aka a spiralizer), a) know that you and i are twins and b) know that trader joe’s (and probably other fancy-ish stores) sell pre-spiralized vegetables.
trader joe’s for one has spiralized zucchini and sweet potatoes. though i generally self-identify as a precut veggie skeptic, for now, i love this precut option as i experiment and figure out how i feel about spiralized veggies (a trend which started in, oh, 2014. what can i say? i’m hip.).
before i look down and realize i’ve just written hundreds of words discussing curly vegetable strips, let’s talk about the real stars here, the brussels sprouts and the sausage. i’m totally having a moment with simple roasted brussels sprouts (favorite roasting method coming soon) but this recipe predates that small obsession.
in fact, it’s probably more accurate to chalk this recipe up to my ongoing obsession with shaved brussels sprouts (also available presliced from trader joe’s, in case you don’t have a food processor). i have historically confined said shaved brussels sprouts to salads but, well, it’s ridiculously freezing outside recently (not today, of course, but generally recently) and i want my food HOT!. and it turns out sautéed brussels sprouts are not terrible. not terrible at all.
i already knew that hot italian turkey sausage is one of my favorite ways to add protein and flavor to a dish and it turns out to play quite well with lemony basil pesto. it was actually a happy accident that i had some of the pesto in the fridge the first time i tried this recipe for brussels sprouts and sausage with spiralized zucchini noodles. the recipe i was working from was good, but in modifying it a bit, i had flattened the taste a bit and the pesto was PERFECT for bringing all of the flavors out and making the whole thing just WORK.
in fact, i’m thinking that this brussels sprouts and sausage with spiralized zucchini noodles needs to go on the meal plan for next week, even though maybe i’m supposed to be testing new recipes or something…
- 16 oz. (424 g.) spiralized zucchini, see notes
- 4 links (~13 oz. / 369 g.) hot italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 5 oz. (142 g.) brussels sprouts, thinly sliced, see notes
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup lemony basil pesto, more to taste
- ¼ cup (1 3/8 oz. / 38 g.) pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or pine nuts, optional, for topping
- spread the spiralized zucchini out on a double layer of paper towels and place two more paper towels on top. press to remove excess moisture. set aside.
- heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add the sausage and use a spatula to crumble the sausage as it browns. cook until the sausage is cooked through (no pink in the center), about 6 – 8 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.
- set the now empty skillet back over medium heat and add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. once hot, add the brussels sprouts, shallots, and garlic. sauté until soft and golden brown, about 4 – 5 minutes. transfer to the large bowl with the sausage.
- set the empty skillet back on the heat again and add the final 2 teaspoons olive oil. add the zucchini and crushed red pepper to the skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the zucchini noodles are cooked to your liking (i like mine on the less cooked side, so they still have a little bit of structure to them).
- combine the zucchini with the sausage/brussels sprouts mixture and add the lemony basil pesto. toss to combine. taste to see if you want to add more pesto, then serve topped with pepitas or pine nuts.
if you don’t have a spiralizer, trader joe’s sells pre-spiralized zucchini (and sweet potatoes, if you’d rather).
the slicing blade on the food processor is the easy and fast way to slice the brussels sprouts but you can also cut them on a mandoline or with a knife. some stores, including trader joe’s, also sell presliced brussels sprouts.
adapted from brussels sprouts and sausage parsnip spiralized pasta over at skinny taste.