No-Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Italian Sausage
No-Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Italian Sausage also has roasted red pepper and olives, and this is a fun dinner or side dish! The combination of ingredients was inspired by my brother’s favorite pasta salad recipe, but this no-pasta version is really low in carbs!
I’m one of those people who likes to hang on to summer foods as long as possible, and zucchini is plentiful all through September. So I hope if you’re still getting zucchini from your garden or the Farmers Market you’ll remember this No-Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Italian Sausage as a great idea for a late-summer dinner!
I called this a “No-Pasta” salad because there’s no pasta, but it’s a salad featuring the ingredients from my brother Mark’s favorite pasta salad on the blog, something I make occasionally for family parties. And Mark isn’t the only member of my family who goes crazy over this pasta salad with Italian sausage, zucchini, roasted red peppers, olives, and of course Parmesan cheese!
But pasta salads aren’t really a carb-conscious choice, so this No-Pasta Salad was the happy result when I decided to create a low-carb salad with all those favorite ingredients. It took me a few tries to get it right, but in this version we ended up with everyone loved the pasta salad ingredients without the pasta! And if you’re still getting a few too many zucchini, I hope you’ll like having a new way to use them!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- turkey or pork uncooked Italian sausage
- canned black olives
- Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link)
- Newman’s Own Classic Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link), or other low-sugar vinaigrette
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- coarsely-grated or freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Want More Ideas for Low-Carb Pasta Salads?
Another low-carb salad with that pasta salad vibe is my favorite Zucchini Noodle Mock Pasta Salad. And I’ve also enjoyed Pesto Pasta Salad and Low-Carb Italian Pasta Salad that are made with hearts of palm pasta!
Want more Salads that use Zucchini?
Check out Amazing Salads with Zucchini for lots more ideas for using that prolific summer vegetable!
How to make this Salad with Zucchini and Italian Sausage:
(Scroll down for complete printable recipe with nutritional information.)
- I used my favorite Turkey Italian Sausage, but use pork sausage if you prefer. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the sausage on all sides until it’s firm.
- While sausage cooks drain the olives, and drain the jar of roasted red peppers and chop them into short strips.
- When sausage is browned, let it cool enough to handle and then cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick.
- Then put the cut sausage back into the same frying pan and brown the cut sides, adding a little more olive oil if needed. (Don’t rush this step; the browning adds flavor!)
- While the sausage browns, wash zucchini if needed, cut the ends off, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into half-moon slices about as thick as the sausage pieces.
- When sausage is brown, remove it from the pan. You may need to wipe out the frying pan a little, depending on how much liquid your sausage released, but a little browned bits on the bottom of the pan will flavor the zucchini.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil and cook zucchini over medium-high heat until it’s starting to soften but still a little firm, about 4-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the zucchini cool in the pan for a few minutes.
- Then add the 1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing to the pan with the slightly-warm zucchini and let it marinate for a few minutes. (Sorry I didn’t get a good photo of that step. Blogger fail!)
- Combine the browned sausage slices with the drained olives and red pepper strips in a large bowl.
- Add the zucchini that’s been marinating in the frying pan plus any dressing left in the pan.
- Season salad to taste with a little salt and fresh-ground black pepper and then gently stir in the freshly-grated Parmesan.
- Serve right away if possible, or chill in the fridge for an hour or two.
- This will keep overnight in the fridge but it’s definitely best when it’s freshly made.
More Salads with Zucchini:
Marinated Zucchini Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Fresh and Healthy Greek Zucchini Salad ~ Fifteen Spatulas
Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Mediterranean Salad with Zucchini Ribbons ~ Boulder Locavore
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
- 2 T olive oil, divided
- one 19.5 oz pkg. turkey or pork uncooked Italian sausage (see notes)
- one 6 oz. can black olives, drained
- one 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into short strips
- 3 small zucchini (about 8 inches long)
- 1/2 cup Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (see notes)
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup coarsely-grated or freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (more or less to taste)
- Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add sausage links and cook over medium-high heat until sausage is firm and well-browned on all sides.
- While sausage browns, drain olives well and set aside. Drain red bell peppers well, then cut peppers into short strips.
- When sausage is browned remove to a cutting board and let it cool enough to handle. Then cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick.
- Add another teaspoon or so of olive oil to the pan if needed and heat the oil over medium-high heat; then add the sausage slices and brown well on both sides. (Don't rush this step; browning the sausage adds flavor.
- While sausage browns, wash the zucchini if needed and dry with paper towel. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then slice into slices the same thickness as the sausage pieces.
- When sausage is browned, remove it to a cutting board. Wipe out the pan if there is a lot of browned residue in the bottom. (This will depend on the sausage you used. Some brown bits in the pan don't matter and they'll add flavor to the zucchini.)
- Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, then add the zucchini slices and cook just until the zucchini is barely starting to soften, about 4-5 minutes,
- Turn off heat and let zucchini cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Then add the salad dressing and stir to coat all the zucchini. Let zucchini marinate in the dressing for about 5 minutes.
- Combine cooked sausage pieces, olives, and red pepper strips in a salad bowl.
- Then add the slightly-marinated zucchini and any dressing left in the pan. Season the salad with a little salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste.
- Add grated Parmesan and gently combine. This is best served right away but it can be refrigerated for a short time if needed.
- Leftovers will keep overnight in the fridge but the salad is far better when it's freshly made.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 805mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 38g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This No-Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Italian Sausage is great recipe for any low-carb or Keto diet, including any phase of the original South Beach Diet. South Beach would prefer lower-fat turkey sausage and other low-carb plans would recommend higher-fat sausage. You will want to use less Parmesan cheese if you’re following the letter-of-the-law for South Beach.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Check out Zucchini Recipes for more ideas to use that zucchini. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2018. It was last updated with more information in 2022.