Saturday, May 04, 2013

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Salad Recipe with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil Vinaigrette

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Salad
This delicious pasta salad has broken Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Turkey Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Olives, and a Basil Vinaigrette.

It's a big party day at my house, and this delicious Whole Wheat Spaghetti Salad with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil Vinaigrette is on the menu.   When I tested the recipe with Jake, this salad was so good that after I sent most of the leftovers home with him, I had to make it again a few days later!   Today our family is celebrating graduations and birthdays, and I'm especially excited that my sister Laurel and her family are here from Oklahoma to attend the graduation of my niece Amanda from Snow College.  They'll be coming to the party and then spending the night at my house before they fly back home (and I am so thrilled to have a bigger house where there's room for my family to stay!)  

Utah is finally having pretty consistent warm weather, and this is a perfect salad for all the summer pot-lucks that will be happening over the next few months.  I used my favorite Garofalo Organic Whole Wheat Italian Spaghetti, but you can use any kind of whole wheat pasta shape.  To make a more diet-friendly version of pasta salad, I use less pasta and more of the other ingredients like low-fat turkey Italian Sausage, cherry tomatoes, and olives.  I'm excited to have basil growing in my kitchen window, so I used that in the dressing, but you can use a few tablespoons of purchased or homemade Basil Pesto if you don't have any fresh basil.  (If you have frozen basil or frozen pesto, this is a perfect use for it.)  I'm sure this salad is going to be a repeater at my house; hope you like it!

I used 5th Street Grill Turkey Italian Sausage, a product I discovered at Costco which has only 3.5 grams of fat per link and no nitrates or nitrites.  (I am loving this sausage!)

Start a big pot of salted water boiling for the pasta, and break the spaghetti into pieces about 2 inches long.

While the pasta water starts to boil, brown the sausage well on the outside.  (You could probably skip this step, but it does add a lot of flavor.)

Drain the olives; then cut the olives and tomatoes in half.

Cook the spaghetti until it's barely al dente, and then rinse with cold water and drain well.

As soon as the sausage has cooled enough, but it into thick slices and then brown again so the sausage is brown on all sides.

I used the bowl of my Immersion Blenderto make the dressing, but you can whisk it together by hand and add finely chopped basil if you don't have one.

Put the drained spaghetti, olives, and tomatoes in a bowl pour over the dressing and gently toss.

Mix in the cooled Italian sausage slices and toss again.

Then add the chopped parsley, sliced green onions, and Parmesan and toss again.  Season the salad with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and serve (or you can make ahead and refrigerate for a few hours.)

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Salad with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil Vinaigrette
(Makes at least 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)

4 or 5 links turkey Italian Sausage (I used 4 links - 12 oz.)
2-3 tsp. olive oil, for browning the sausage 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, broken into pieces about 2 inches long (I love Garofalo Organic Whole Wheat Italian Spaghetti, but you can make this with any kind of whole wheat pasta shape)
salt, for pasta cooking water
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 can black olives (6 oz. drained weight), drained and cut in half
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 T coarsely grated fresh Parmesan
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar would work)
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried Italian Herb Blend
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
10-12 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (or you can use about 2 T purchased or homemade basil pesto if you don't have fresh basil)

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan and start browning the sausage over medium heat.  While sausage browns, break the spaghetti into pieces and start a big pot of water boiling to cook the pasta, adding a generous amount of salt to the water.  When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta, reduce heat to a low boil, and cook pasta until it's barely al-dente.  (Check the package for cooking time; I cooked my spaghetti for exactly 9 minutes.)  Drain the pasta into a colander placed in the sink, rinse with cold water, and let it drain well.

As soon as the sausage is browned on all sides, remove from the pan and let cool until you can slice it.  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Drain the olives and cut in half.  Chop the parsley and slice the green onions and finely chop the basil (or measure the pesto if you don't have fresh basil.)

Cut the cooled sausage into thick slices, add a little more olive oil to the frying pan, and brown the sausage slices again on both sides.  Let cool.

While the sausage is cooling and pasta is draining, whisk or blend together the white balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, Italian herb blend, garlic powder, and olive oil to make the dressing, then whisk or blend in the finely chopped basil (or basil pesto.)

Put the cooled and drained spaghetti, sliced tomatoes, and sliced olives into a large bowl and gently toss with the dressing.  Add the cooled and browned sausage slices and toss again, then add the chopped parsley, sliced green onion, and coarsely grated fresh Parmesan and toss again.  Season the salad well with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve, or refrigerate for a few hours before serving.  (Remember the pasta cooking water and the olives are salty, so it doesn't need much salt.)

I don't normally like to refrigerate things with fresh tomatoes, but this salad was still really good after it had been in the fridge overnight.

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South Beach Suggestions:
It's important to use whole wheat pasta and low-fat turkey Italian sausage if you're making this for the South Beach Diet, and my proportions which use less pasta and more low-glycemic ingredients make this salad more diet-friendly. Still, even with those adaptations, I'm guessing a salad like this is probably Phase 3 for the South Beach Diet, or maybe a small serving of this for Phase 2 if the rest of the meal was all healthy  foods.  

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Whole Wheat Pasta Salad for Summer Parties:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Salmon, Tomatoes, and Herb Dressing ~ Cookin' Canuck
Tuna Pasta Salad with Lemon, Green Olives, and Cucumbers ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Whole Wheat Mediterranean Pasta Salad ~ Eat Live Run
Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, Olives, and Herbs ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Mediterranean Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Always Order Dessert  
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. What a beautiful salad, Kalyn! It's perfect for a potluck, or anytime you want to make something ahead of time. (Which is all of the time when I'm entertaining.) I'll definitely be trying this one.

  2. Lucky family to (a) have so many things to celebrate, and (b) get to eat this pasta salad! I think pasta salad gets a bad name from too much mayonnaise, so I love that your version doesn't have any.

  3. This looks gorgeous and absolutely delicious. I'll be making it as soon as the weather here finally warms up. However I think I'll use Kalamata olives instead of the canned black ones. Their flavor would go really well here.

    I've not been able to find the Garofalo whole wheat pasta at my Costco. I'll probably have to sub regular white spaghetti. Sure wish I could get the whole wheat. I'd love to find a whole wheat pasta that tastes good.

  4. Katesmom, I know you can get the Garofalo whole wheat pasta from if that helps. I really love this brand!

  5. YUM. What a great combination of flavors! What's funny is that the whole time I was reading the post I was picturing eating it warm. I bet it would be good both warm and cold. Pinning it now! :)

  6. Susan, I think you could eat it warm. Glad you like it!

  7. There is no doubt that I would enjoy this salad immensely Kalyn.

  8. I've never thought to do a pasta salad using spaghetti noodles--I love it!

  9. Alejandra, really liked the spaghetti in this! I think it was partly inspired by a deli spaghetti salad I used to love.

  10. Everything I love in this including the whole wheat pasta, which I am just beginning to like.

    I just figured out how to follow you in bloglovin' and feedly. So much easier for me than email, so you'll know what happened to me there.

  11. Sam, glad you like it. I need to try Feedly; I'm looking for something to replace Google Reader.


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