Posted on January 5, 2018

Vegetarian Orecchiette Pasta with “Sausage” and Broccoli

Eating

I love the Skinnytaste.com website. There are so many delicious and weight-conscious dishes to make. In the past couple of months, I’ve made the broccoli cheese and potato soup and the pumpkin spice no-bake cheesecake. So. Much. Yum. (Plus, since I’m the type of person who could eat the same things over and over, it’s nice to add in a little variety.)

As I was browsing the other day, I found a recipe for orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli (original recipe here). It looked delicious but isn’t something my vegetarian family would be able to eat as is. Luckily, this is a recipe that is SUPER easy to “vegetarianize” and substitute in a meat replacement.

There are a few options out there but I decided (as a first attempt) to use the Field Roast brand Smoked Apple Sage Sausage. It also happens to be vegan, so if you leave out the cheese you can make this meal entirely vegan too! 

Here’s the original Skinnytaste recipe with my Field Roast substitution:

  • One package Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage 
  • 12 oz uncooked pasta (or brown rice or quinoa pasta for gluten-free)
  • 6 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets, no stems (16 oz)
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

The cooking instructions are pretty simple, which makes for a great (and filling) weeknight meal.

From Skinnytaste:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large nonstick skillet and brown the [vegetarian] sausage over medium-high, breaking it up as it cooks with a wooden spoon until browned, 5 to 7 minutes; remove from heat. [Note from Grace: The Field Roast won’t “break up” as it cooks like sausage made from meat does. Dice your veggie links into bite-sized pieces prior to cooking.]
  3. When the water boils, add the pasta and bring back to a boil, when the water is boiling, add broccoli and cook according to pasta instructions [until] al dente.
  4. When pasta is almost done cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and broccoli.
  5. Return the pot to the stove and set heat to high; add 1 tbsp olive oil, when hot, add garlic. Cook until golden, about 1 minute, reduce flame to low and add pasta back to the pot with the sausage.
  6. Mix well, add remaining olive oil, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste mixing well and smashing any large pieces of broccoli to break up.
  7. Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and mix well adding more if needed.
  8. Serve in pasta bowls with additional grated cheese on the side, if desired.

Recipe Review:

Overall, I enjoyed this meal. I definitely see myself making this again in the future and it seems like something that would respond well to substitutions (Brussels sprouts or cauliflower instead of broccoli, for example). My local grocery store only had one brand of orecchiette, so if you can’t find it in your store, a medium shell pasta should do the trick.

Since the meal isn’t heavily seasoned, the yummy flavors of the veggie sausage really stood out. I almost went with the Italian version of the Field Roast, but I’m glad I chose the Smoked Apple Sage instead! So good!

When I warmed up the leftovers the following night, I added a smidge of cream cheese and a garlic tomato spice blend which were a nice complement and made it less dry.

Bon appetit!

XO, Grace

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