Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage

This delicious baked ziti recipe comes from one of this month's Weight Watchers Weekly handouts.  I made several adjustments from the original recipe..but was pretty happy with the results.  It makes a fairly easy weeknight meal paired with a veggie salad.  One hearty serving comes in at 8p+.

Since the original recipe called for 3/4 of a pound of spicy turkey sausage, I used my scale to measure out that much raw sausage.  It came out to 3 links of the sausage I used. My sausage wasn't "spicy" so I added some crushed red pepper and smoked paprika to the sauce when I made it. ( I can find a use for smoked paprika in just about anything, I love the stuff!)  I also added 2 garlic cloves to the sauce, that wasn't called for in the original version.

I had to substitute red bell pepper for the green.  I would have used green, but my market was all out of green peppers!  ( how does that even happen?)  Doesn't matter though, I prefer the red peppers anyway.  They are less bitter than green ones.  I also subbed whole wheat penne pasta for the ziti.  Could not find ziti in the whole wheat variety anywhere.  Since the pasta came in a box of "13-point-some-ounce" size, I once again used my scale to measure out 12 oz.  Maybe the elusive whole wheat ziti already comes in a 12 oz box?  IDK.  My scale was used once again to perfectly measure out 6 oz. of mozzarella cheese, since most  preshredded cheeses come in at least an 8 oz. package.  The last adjustment I made to the original recipe was to add water to the sauce.  I like a lot of sauce and I don't care for a dry pasta dish.  The addition of water did not effect the finished product's taste, but I believe it greatly improved the texture.

When cooking your pasta, remember to under cook it by a few minutes.  It will finish cooking in the oven...and nobody likes mushy pasta! 

After all the changes and family gave this dish two thumbs up.  I actually liked the addition of the peas.

Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage 
adapted from Weight Watchers Weekly Handout

Servings - 8   Serving Size - 1/8th of recipe   Points Plus per Serving - 8 Points+
Calories - 312.5,   Total Fat - 7.4g,   Carb. - 45.5g,   Protein - 21.1g,   Fiber - 7.7g

3/4 lb raw, spicy ( or not) turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped ( or green)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes ( or to taste)
smoked paprika, to taste  (optional)
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 - 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 - 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/2 of one of the empty 14 oz. cans of tomatoes filled with water (optional)
10 oz. frozen green peas
12 oz. uncooked whole-wheat ziti OR penne, UNDER cooked according to package directions by a few minutes
6 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.  Once the pasta is cooked and drained, open the frozen peas and place on top of the hot pasta. 

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  

3.  In a large nonstick skillet , crumble the sausage and brown over medium heat.  Drain off any fat, and add garlic, onion and pepper.  Cook stirring often until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, crushed pepper flakes,smoked paprika, both cans of tomatoes, water (if using), oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seed, salt and pepper.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.  

4. Stir in the cooked pasta and peas and half the cheese.  Spread evenly in the 13 x 9 " baking pan.  Top evenly with remaining cheese. 
5.  Bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes.  Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. 


Great weeknight meal!  ( with enough leftovers for lunch the next day!)  

I missed my WW meeting this week due to some bad weather we had forecasted.  That totally doesn't give me a free pass to eat off plan and not exercise!  According to my home scale, I am down about another pound...but not officially.  Even though we have had a really easy winter this year so far ( with a few snowstorms and arctic blasts thrown in for fun) I will be happy when weather isn't a factor in determining where and how I spend my time.  

I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote for the BEST vegetable soup recipe on FavDiets Blog Hop!  I won!  Woo hoo!  I wish I could share my prize with everyone...but a product review will have to do.  I am looking forward to trying some of the new Quaker products that was the prize.  


  1. I always enjoy adding veggies to pasta dishes! And I'm with you- lots of sauce. Looks fantastic

  2. This looks delicious! I love a great pasta recipe. :D

  3. Congrats on your win that is awesome! This pasta dish looks wonderful and I like all of your changes. I recently bought some smoked paprika but now cant remember what recipe I bought it for. How are you getting along with your new lap top? I am finally getting use to my new keyboard and making fewer typing mistakes! Hope your winter is a short one. I remember having to work my life around snow storms when we lived in the Midwest!

    1. Yes! Tami...I am getting better at it. Funny learning curve isn't it? lol Smoked paprika....OMG...using it in everything! LOVE the stuff!

  4. How much did 1/8th of the recipe turn out to be? I am not good about how to figure out the correct amount. I made this recipe as well. The husband loved it!

    1. My best guesstimate would be about a cup and a half or so.

  5. Hi Renee. YAY!!!!! Congrats on the win. Well deserved my friend, your recipes are ALWAYS stella!!!!!

  6. OH geez....your recipes are not "stella", they're STELLAR!

  7. Hi Renee, this recipe looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I love pasta dishes with vegetables as well as meat. I am going to make this one very soon. Thanks for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris


Thank you for visiting! Share what's on your mind and make my day! Make this recipe? I'd love to hear how it turned out for you! Share on social media with #RKArecipes