By Amber Marie Arevalos

Pasta is an easy meal that the whole family can enjoy!  This recipe adds plenty servings of vegetables and protein for a complete nutrient meal. 

Although you can use any type of protein, Italian sausage really makes this recipe authentic.  One link of Italian sausage holds 16g of protein, 35g of fat and .7g of carbohydrates.  Traditionally, Italian sausage is made from pork, but if you are unable to tolerate pork or want the recipe to be healthier, go for a sausage made of chicken or ground turkey.  There are also meatless Italian sausage options.

Adding the zucchini to this recipe adds so many beneficial nutrients.  Zucchini’s are packed with vitamin C, potassium and folate.  It also contains plenty of vitamin A and manganese. All of these nutrients are linked to having healthy hair, skin, nails and heart.


  • 1 lb penne
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or spicy will work)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add oil to a large, wide pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add in the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add in the sausage and break it into small pieces.  Cook until sausage is brown and cooked through.
  3. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic.  Stir in the tomato paste.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the penne into the boiling water and cook for 9 to 10 minutes, or until al dente.
  6. Drain the pasta, reserving a 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Toss the pasta immediately into the pot with the sauce and stir well to combine.  Add in some of the reserved cooking water, if needed.  Finally, stir in the basil.
  7. Remove from heat and divide among serving bowls.  Top with Parmesan, a little chopped basil and serve at once!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

  • Calories 446 kcal 20%
  • Protein 24 .22 g 44%
  • Total lipid (fat) 26.18 g 54%
  • Carbohydrate 28.63 g 12%

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