A couple of weeks ago at my Weight Watchers meeting, we talked about the importance of healthy fats and why your body (and your weight loss success!) depends upon them. I know that we all like to keep our Points low in the Weight Watchers Recipes that we make so that we can eat more foods throughout the day, but every now and then, it is important to spend those Points on some good, healthy fats. One of my favorite recipes to do this with, is my Shells with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto Recipe. It is loaded with fiber and protein, hunger-busting carbs, and a delicious flavor. Most of the fat in this dish comes from the olive oil, which is a wonderful healthy fat, and a necessary ingredient to create the right texture for the pesto. By adding broccoli into the pesto, I was able to give the sauce some more substance and nutrients, without adding extra fat or calories. Traditional pesto sauces are made with nuts, which you can certainly do with this recipe too, but I wanted to try and keep it as Weight Watchers friendly as possible, so I relied only on the Parmesan and olive oil for fat in the pesto sauce. The end result was a beautiful and delicious meal that clocked in at 9 Points + per serving. This Weight Watchers Pasta Recipe was a huge hit with my family, and we’ll be making this nutritious dish again for sure. Enjoy!
Shells with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto
Indulge in this healthy pasta recipe that is full of fiber and protein, but still low on fat. Using a basil and broccoli pesto gives this dish a fresh and delicious flavor while adding fantastic nutrients and keeping the amount of fat very low.
- 8oz whole wheat pasta shells
- 6 oz chicken sausage, casing removed, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 cups broccoli florets (1 ½ cups steamed)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Prepare pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Pulse together the 1 ½ cups steamed broccoli, parsley, basil, garlic, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil and 1/2 cup water, process until smooth.
- Spray a medium sized non-stick skillet with non-fat cooking spray and set over medium high heat. Add in sausage and remaining 1 ½ cups un-steamed broccoli, and zucchini and cook until sausage is well browned and broccoli and zucchini are crisp/tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the pesto, sausage, and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to coat (adding more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce). Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat, High protein
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Entire recipe makes 4 servings
Serving size is about 1 heaping cup
Each serving = 9 Points +
PER SERVING: 355 calories; 8.5g fat; 50g carbohydrates; 21g protein; 8g fiber