Spaghetti with Kale and Turkey Sausage

Posted on 1 April 2011 | 8 comments | share this

Desiree, a friend of mine who writes the blog Eat Drink Be Happy is doing a great weekly feature called the un-diet. The concept is 52 simple changes that will lead to a healthier and more vibrant you. In my books, this is the perfect way to make lasting change. The challenge for week 14 (this week) is to eat kale. Desiree asked if I would create a recipe using kale and photograph it for her blog. This was an easy task for this kale loving cook. The hard part was deciding which kale dish to feature. In the end I chose a pasta dish that has been appearing fairly regularly in our kitchen as of late. It is super simple, very tasty and sure to win over any reluctant kale eaters in your house. I mean who doesn’t like love a little pasta?

As with all simple Italian inspired dishes, the quality of the ingredients makes all the difference in the final product. Be sure to choose good quality sausage, pasta and fresh vibrant kale. This time around I used a turkey sausage with mustard greens and roasted garlic from Oyama Sausage Company on Granville Island. Chicken and spicy Italian sausages have also been tasty.

I have experimented with different varieties and shapes of pasta and all have worked out nicely. Whole grain pasta works particularly well in this recipe with the earthiness of the kale.

While the goal here was to feature kale, other greens like rapini, spinach or Swiss chard would be great as well. Use what is in season and what looks freshest as your guide.

This pasta dish is a great weekday meal, it comes together in no time and leftovers make great lunches. We made it recently on a trip to Tofino. It was the perfect comfort meal to tuck into after a day spent strolling the misty beach.

Buon Appetito!

Spaghetti with Kale and Turkey Sausage

Chicken or Italian pork sausage work well too, be sure to get the best quality you can. I like to use the kale stems as well as the leaves, but feel free to remove them and save for soup.

Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb turkey sausage, casings removed

1 large bunch kale, washed and cut into bite sized pieces (any variety)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Couple pinches dried chili flakes

¾ lb whole grain spaghetti or your preferred shape

2/3 cup chicken stock

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the kale in the hot water for 2-3 minutes, until bright green and tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Use this water to cook your pasta.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook, breaking them up into small pieces with a spatula, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, when the reserved cooking water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, see package for cooking time. Somewhere between 8-12 minutes for wholegrain pasta. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water.

While the pasta cooks, add the kale to the sausage in the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, stirring and scrapping the brown bits from the pan.

Add the cooked pasta and parmesan cheese and toss until combined. If a bit dry, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid from the pasta.
Serve with a fresh grinding of pepper and another sprinkle of parmesan cheese.


  • An other great recipe! Thanks Melissa… We usually have kale in the garden so we eat it with almost everything. The challenge for us is to find locally made sausages. I’ll have to stock up in Victoria on our next trip!

  • Thanks Annik. Yes, kale is wonderful for its long growing season on the West Coast. Cowichan Bay Farm has sausages I think you are almost to Victoria by then anyway.

    I was thinking it would be fun to come to Quadra this summer and do some cooking and photographing for the blog.

    Happy Spring!

  • Thanks for the info. We would love it if you came this summer. You are always welcome!

  • I don’t know how I missed this update! Looks delicious! 🙂

  • Thanks Karen. You were probably too busy with your head in the books.

    Hope you find some time to get in the kitchen soon.

  • Deelish! Love the simplicity of this one and how adaptable it is to any season. Could I share a link to this post on our upcoming newsletter for the Farmers Markets?

    Great work and thanks for your support of the locals!

  • It is a versatile and delicious recipe. I would love for you to share this recipe in the upcoming newsletter, that is very kind. Thanks so much for all your hard work and for helping get good food to the folks of Vancouver.

  • Leave a comment