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Spicy Pecan Italian “Sausage” and Grilled Vegetable Penne

Yields1 Serving

Simply season and ground pecans to create a plant-based version of spicy Italian “sausage.” In this recipe it’s added to grilled vegetables and pasta but you can also use it on a flatbread, pizza, soup and more.

 1 12-ounce package brown rice penne pasta
 1 tsp pecan or extra virgin olive oil
 2 small zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
 2 small yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise
 1 24-ounces jar pasta sauce (no sugar added), warmed
 Fresh basil leaves and parmesan cheese, optional, for garnish
Spicy Pecan Italian “Sausage”
 ½ medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
 ½ tbsp fennel seed
 ¼ tsp black pepper
 ¼ tsp paprika
 ¼ tsp garlic powder
  tsp sea salt
 ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
 1 cup raw pecan halves (or lightly toasted)
 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Preheat grill to medium-high.


Heat water in pot on stove top for pasta.


Make pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Make the spicy pecan Italian “sausage”:

In a pan over medium heat, add oil, onion, fennel seed, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and red pepper flakes (do not add pecans or vinegar yet). Cook 4 minutes or until onion is translucent.


Add pecans, red wine vinegar, and onion mixture to food processor and pulse until consistency of ground pork, about 8 to 10 pulses. Makes 1 cup pecan “sausage”.


Lightly brush zucchini and yellow squash with olive oil and place on hot grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until tender. Remove and chop into bite-sized cubes.


Serve family-style or in individual bowls. Layer pasta, vegetables, and pasta sauce. Top with pecan “sausage” and fresh basil and Parmesan if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Calories 380
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g24%

Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 320mg14%
Total Carbohydrate 58g20%

Dietary Fiber 6g24%
Protein 8g16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.