Papa Cantella's Favorite Light Sausage Recipes


Papa Cantella's Favorite Light Sausage Recipes Header


Is sausage light? It can be!

Sausage is one of the most versatile meats on the planet. It’s savory, it’s flavor-packed, and it’s endlessly adaptable. Some of our very favorite sausage recipes didn’t start out “sausage recipes” at all!

At Papa Cantella’s, we get a lot of questions about how our sausage-loving customers can incorporate their favorite sausage blends into a lighter, healthier way of eating. We hear those concerns loud and clear and are always testing and re-testing light sausage recipes in our own kitchens to find delicious combinations that won’t weigh us down.

Here are a few of Papa’s favorite light sausage recipes.


Italian Sausage Frittata

A frittata is actually a type of Spanish omelet. The term has become shorthand for almost any egg dish cooked in a pan then finished off in the oven. We love frittatas because you can throw in almost anything you have in your fridge! They feed a crowd and the best part is you can eat them warm or at room temperature.

Italian Sausage Frittata

  • 1/2 pound of traditional Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
  • 1 1/2 cups of onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 ounces of fresh mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 11/2 teaspoons of fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh, ripe tomatoes (chopped)
  • 6 fresh eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of Half & Half – can reduce or omit if necessary
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan or Romano cheese (grated) – can reduce or omit if necessary
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg


In a medium-sized skillet, cook the sausage and onion in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for about six or seven minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage. Add the mushrooms and butter. Continue to cook for another three or four minutes. Add the basil, parsley and tomatoes. Cook for three or four minutes more. Drain off any liquid and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Stir into the eggs the Half & Half, cheese, salt, pepper, oregano, nutmeg, and the sausage and onion mixture.

Pour mixture into a ten inch glass baking dish, lightly oiled, and baked at 350 degrees for about forty to forty-five minutes, or until the eggs are done. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the edges are set.

If you’re feeling adventurous, place a clean plate over the pan and flip the frittata out of the pan for serving. You can also serve slices directly out of the baking dish.


Light Sausage Dishes


Wilted Spinach Sausage Salad

Who says spinach has to be cold to be healthy? We love wilting spinach because you can actually pack in a lot of extra vitamins and minerals into every bite. The savory taste of sausage is a natural complement to the slight bitterness of spinach – and this salad has enough great protein to keep you full. Feel free to add additional chopped veggies as you like.

Wilted Spinach Sausage Salad

  • 1 pound of fresh spinach (net weight, after removing the stems)
  • 1/2 cup of green onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound of fresh traditional Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 1/4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese (grated) - optional


Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly, and pat dry on paper towels. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put into a large bowl. Add the green onion and ground black pepper. Toss the salad and chill it.

Just before serving the salad, in a medium-sized sauté pan, cook the sausage in the olive oil over medium heat for twelve to fourteen minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage, being careful not to crumble the sausage too finely. Drain if you like before moving on to the next step.

Add the vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir all of the ingredients together while simmering for another minute or two. Slowly mix in the hot sausage dressing to the spinach. Toss until the leaves are well coated and slightly wilted. Add the chopped egg to the salad and toss again. Top with the cheese if desired. Serve immediately while sausage is warm.


Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms with breadcrumbs are one of our all-time favorite Italian hors d oeuvres. They’re simple to make and everyone loves them! As far as easy sausage appetizers go, they’re pretty much the cream of the crop. Of all the hors d oeuvres Italian people love, these are one of the very lightest options on the menu. Stuffed mushrooms, sausage, breadcrumbs, and cheese…what more could you ask for?

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • ½ pound of fresh traditional Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
  • 1 ¼ – cups of onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of green bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 pound of fresh mushrooms (medium-sized) (save the caps, remove the stems & chop them finely)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt – freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3 ounce) package of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (melted)
  • ¼ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • fresh parsley (for garnish)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion in the olive oil over medium heat for five to six minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, mushroom stems, salt, and pepper to taste. Continue to cook the mixture for six or seven more minutes or until the onion and bell pepper are tender. Turn off the heat and stir the cream cheese into the mixture. Fill the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture, approximately one teaspoon each.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the butter and the breadcrumbs. (Use a teaspoon, if necessary, to help keep the mixture from falling out of the mushroom cap as you turn it over into the breadcrumbs.)

Press the stuffed mushroom caps firmly into the buttered breadcrumbs. Put two tablespoons of water into a nine inch by thirteen-inch glass baking dish. Place the mushroom caps in the dish, breaded sides up. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned. Sprinkle on fresh parsley and serve.


Healthy Sausage Casserole Recipes


Sicilian Sausage Soup

Sicilian sausage soup is a classic for a reason. It’s simple, it’s filling, and it’s far lighter than any cream-based soup. It’s the perfect use for traditional Italian sausage, particularly Papa Cantella’s house blend, whose carefully-chosen herbs and spices compliment the dish’s flavor profile beautifully. If you’re looking for something soul-warming but light, think Sicilian sausage soup.

Sicilian Sausage Soup

  • 1 pound of fresh traditional Italian sausage (removed from casings)
  • 1 1/2 cups of onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 cup of whole-grain elbow macaroni

In a four to six-quart stock pot, cook the sausage and the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about ten minutes or until the onion turns transparent, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, the basil, and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for twenty-five minutes, partially covered, until the macaroni is tender.


Easy Sheet Pan Dinners



Spiedini is one of those Italian hors d oeuvres that shows up on every holiday table. What is Spiedini? “Spiedini” actually means “skewers” and it’s a meaty dish and we actually love to eat as a main with a delicious fresh salad on the side. A few of the easiest ways to lighten up Spiedini are to switch the breadcrumbs to whole grain, to use just the egg whites and not the yolks, or even to swap the beef steak for chicken, pounded then! )We know, we know…that doesn’t make traditional Spiedini, but it sure is tasty!) When you want the real thing, turn to Papa C’s original family recipe from Villa Rosa, Sicily, printed below. It’s over 100 years old!


  • 3 pounds of beef round steak (1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • ½ pound fresh Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
  • 1¼ cups of onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed or chopped garlic
  • 1½ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup of Parmesan or Romano cheese (grated)
  • ½ tablespoons of fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ egg (hard boiled and grated)
  • 50 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

Round steak is usually about one-half inch thick. Slice the meat in half to about one-fourth inch thickness. Pound the meat to an even thickness and cut into pieces about 3.5” square. Set the steak aside.

In a medium-sized frying pan cook the onion, garlic, and sausage in the butter over medium heat for seven or eight minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in the sausage, onion, and grated egg. (The filling should not be too dry or too moist). Preheat the broiler on your oven.

Put about one tablespoon of filling in the center of a piece of the round steak and tightly roll it with a small overlap. Place the “Spiedini” on a skewer, along with a bay leaf. Repeat the above process for the remaining pieces of steak. Put on eight Spiedini per skewer, with a bay leaf between each one (but none on the ends). Brush with the olive oil. Broil the Spiedini for six to seven minutes per side and serve hot.


Sausage Links and Orange Salad

Sometimes the perfect grilled sausage is best left alone. Few light dinners are in heavier rotation in the Papa Cantella’s family kitchens than savory grilled sausage paired with some kind of refreshing simple salad. Orange salad’s balanced acidity works wonders alongside a few links of our perfectly seasoned sausage links…our go-tos are always traditional Italian Sausage, Hot Turkey Italian, or our delicious Chicken Apple Sausages!

Sausage Links and Orange Salad


  • 6 fresh Papa Cantella’s sausage links, plus oil for grilling
  • 1 teaspoon of ground anise or anise seed
  • 4 good-looking oranges (peeled & sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper


In a small bowl, sprinkle the anise over the orange slices. Mix the orange slices and the anise well and put the bowl into the refrigerator until chilled.

Preheat your outdoor grill (or grill pan) to medium-low heat. Using a grill brush, thoroughly brush the grill grates. Use tongs to place the sausage links directly on the grill then close the lid. Cook low-and-slow for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until the sausages reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

While your sausage links rest, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper together well and pour over the chilled oranges. Serve the sausages hot alongside the orange salad.


Side Dish Recipes for the Grill


Sausage is actually an excellent addition to any well-balanced diet! When you’re looking to add more flavor to your diet without packing on unnecessary pounds, look no further than your grocer’s meat section.

That’s where you’ll find Papa Cantella’s premium sausage products and if you don’t see them…ask!

(And while you’re at it, be sure to look for our Internet-famous Cauliflower Mash - fully cooked! – in the refrigerated section!)


Papa Cantella's Cauliflower Mash




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