Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach

~ This incredibly easy Italian pasta recipe from culinary star Kristin Sollenne is jam-crammed with more nutrition (hello, spinach!) and more flavor than you’d ever guess – even we were surprised! It’s simple Italian comfort food that comes together in a snap. Our families loved it, and we know yours will too! Read on to get this terrific recipe, learn about Kristin’s gorgeous new book, and WIN A COPY of her book for yourself! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less  

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Here at THK, we’re always searching for new ways to bring you recipes that meet our three standards: They have to be 1) quick and easy, 2) really nutritious, and 3) truly delicious – foods you and your family will genuinely look forward to eating.

That can be a tough combination to find, though, and when we do find inspiration that lives up to our standards, we just love passing it along to you!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Sure, we work hard to bring you those types of recipes every week here on our blog. And sometimes we also serve up inspiration through a round-up post featuring brilliant recipe ideas from other bloggers … or through the hundreds of yummy, healthy recipe ideas from all over the world that we pin every week to our healthy recipe Pinterest Boards.

Today, we’re thrilled to share another source of inspiration that we think you and your family will really enjoy!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

We were honored to be asked to preview a new cookbook by certified nutritionist and rising culinary star Kristin Sollenne, and we liked so much of what we saw that we wanted to share her, and her lovely new cookbook, with you! We’ve even got a delicious, super-easy recipe for you to try … and a GIVEAWAY! (Whoop! Whoop!!)

You’ve likely seen Kristin on TV … maybe on NBC’s TODAY show or as a guest judge on Beat Bobby Flay and Kitchen Casino. If you’re a fan of The Food Network, then you might remember that she was featured as a mentor on season 10 of Food Network Star, and she’s also already slated to be a season final judge for Worst Cooks in America. Wow, right?!?

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

She’s definitely getting attention for her (healthy!) culinary point of view!

And no wonder! We really think her philosophy resonates with today’s busy, health-minded home cooks! Her approach to cooking has been touted as a “contemporary food philosophy, approachable cooking tips and re-imagined healthy dishes” focusing on “clean ingredients and keeping it simple.” Amen, sister!

Her resume, her experience as an executive chef and culinary director, and the list of celebrities she’s cooked for (ahem … including Taylor Swift! Gah!!) are all impressive, but what we loved most was her commitment to making home cooking simpler and healthier while not compromising on flavor. That’s exactly what we strive for every day here at THK, and we’re thrilled to give a big attaboy to someone who is working hard to do the same!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

What probably inspired us most of all, though, is the story of exactly why Kristin began to focus her extensive culinary talents specifically on creating nutritious recipes. After receiving the news that her father had suffered a heart attack, she turned her attention to creating super-healthy meals for his recovery. The experience of helping her father regain his strength while still eating the Italian food he loved was a major influence on the direction of her culinary career – Kristin calls it her “Ah Ha moment.”

Building from that experience, she’s created her first book, Domestic Chic … A Fashionably Fabulous Guide to Cooking & Entertaining by the Seasons. It’s full of more than 100 recipes, centered around specific events, seasons, and party themes. It’s like a fun little roadmap (that even includes decor tips!) through 16 entertaining menus – full of recipes that are just as great when included as part of the overall menu, as they are when they’re enjoyed on their own for quiet family meals.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Sure – you can go all out and host a Mexican blowout with her full “Fiesta! Fiesta!” menu, or you can make her South of the Border Casserole, all on its own, for dinner this week. Her ideas for a Nautical Party would be so fun for a summer dinner party, but we whipped up the Chicken Satay with Peanut Coconut Sauce for just a regular-old, weeknight family dinner. No matter which way you use the recipes in Kristin’s book, they’re easy and delicious!

They’re also simple and approachable. And even though she’s a certified nutritionist, she doesn’t overwhelm you with difficult-to-understand nutrition information or hard-to-find ingredients. Glancing through the cookbook for the first time, one of the things we immediately noticed was that the recipes just felt welcoming, doable – not difficult or futzy.

We applaud Kristin’s approach to making everyday cooking … and special events and parties … so easy and enjoyable, so nutritious, and so really delicious. We love what she’s doing to encourage America to eat more healthfully, and to have fun doing it. That’s why we’re so thrilled to be able to bring you today’s recipe (and … psssst … another recipe next week!) as a sneak peek into her book, and to offer two lucky readers the chance to win their very own copy of Domestic Chic!

Make this fantastic pasta recipe this week … with savory Italian sausage, tangy parmesan and mellow, sweet onions, it’s a perfect recipe to showcase Kristin’s knack at simplified Italian comfort food. And if you make it with whole-grain pasta and turkey sausage, (plus all that amazing spinach!), you’ll see exactly how terrific she is at making really nutritious meals taste truly fantastic!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Oh! And don’t forget to pop back next week when we showcase another of our favorite recipes from her book … and sign up now to win your very own copy of Domestic Chic, so you can keep right on cooking Kristin’s deliciously nutritious recipes all year long, season by yummy season!

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Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach

Preparation 10 min. 2017-08-17T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 12-15 min. 2017-08-17T00:00:00+00:00
Serves Approximately 11 cups     adjust servings


  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices (or substitute with turkey sausage) (see note)
  • 10 ounces spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Sea salt to taste (we recommend starting with about 3/4 teaspoon and adjusting to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (we used 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound orecchiette (see note)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan


  1. In a large skillet, sauté garlic and onion for 2 to 3 minutes in olive oil, until lightly browned.
  2. Add sausage and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until sausage is no longer pink.
  3. Add spinach and vegetable broth, and let spinach wilt. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, and cook orecchiette until al dente. Drain pasta and add into pan with sausage mixture. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with grated parmesan on top. (We also added some shredded parmesan just for presentation.)


Recipe Notes

THK Notes and Recommendations:

Sausage: We took Kristin's recommendation to use lower-fat sweet Italian turkey sausage in this recipe, and we encourage you to do the same. Also, we like saving a little step and simply removing the casings from our Italian sausage links (or purchasing bulk) and just crumbling the sausage as it browns, rather than cutting it into slices. Use whichever method you prefer.

Orecchiette: We're not always able to find whole-wheat or whole-grain orecchiette in our local stores, but we try to use whole-grain pastas whenever we can. If you can't find whole-grain orecchiette, you might try substituting any other small pasta shape that your store offers in a whole-grain variety.

For reheating: If you happen to have leftovers from this recipe, we found that adding just a little bit of additional leftover vegetable broth loosens and remoistens this pasta beautifully during reheating.

We'd love to see your photos of this recipe! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and tag @TwoHealthyKitchens!


Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}


Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach — 31 Comments

    • Hi Olivia! Apologies on the tardy response – I was out of the country for several days and am still catching up! Hope this answer is in time to help you out. And yes – definitely ground sausage works great in this orecchiette recipe! As we mentioned in one of the recipe notes, that’s actually what we typically use – sweet Italian turkey sausage that’s either bulk, or casings removed and crumbled. We love it that way – I’d be excited to hear if you do, too! Thanks so much for the question, and have a fabulous weekend! ~Shelley

    • Hi Valerie! You’re so right – the world needs more recipes featuring orecchiette!! It’s so darn cute – why isn’t it more popular?! We love this meal – it’s quick and delicious! A must-try for sure! 🙂 ~G&S

    • Great dish! I used the turkey sausage, and the meal just seems so much lighter–not greasy–plus, it’s such a refreshing alternative to alfredo pasta dishes.

      • Sue – you’re the best! We just LOVE that you made this already! AND that you let us know how much you loved it!! It is a perfectly filling dinner … without feeling heavy! So good! Hope you’ll add it to your regular recipes – we know we will! 😀 ~G&S

  1. My favorite homemade Italian meal is Lasagna and I make it healthier my using low fat cottage cheese and part skim mozzarella. Delicious.

  2. I love Italian food. I make mine healthier by adding greens – spinach or kale to many of my pasta recipes and soups too. It kind of disappears in the mix of flavors and adds a bunch of nutrition.

    • We can’t get over how spinach just sort of disappeared into the dish! But all that nutrition was there!! It’s so great to have those bonus nutrients in a meal! Great tip, Jenn!! (And yeah … we’re HUGE fans of Italian, too!) 😀 ~G&S

  3. I love pizza, lasagna, spaghetti and sometimes I use whole wheat pasta (flour) to make them, but recently, I’ve used zucchini as the crust for my pizza, zucchini slices for the lasagna noodles and spiralized zucchini for the spaghetti pasta. My husband and I actually love these dishes made with zucchini almost better than with pasta. I’m excited to try out Kristin’s cookbook. Thanks for the giveaway!

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