This low-carb Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers is a big favorite in my extended family! The recipe has options for using Fiber Gourmet Light Penne, Palmini Hearts of Palm Pasta, or regular pasta. Be sure to check out my tips for making the lower-carb pasta options more affordable.

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Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers shown in serving bowl on napkin.

If you’re wondering why there’s a pasta salad recipe front and center on my carb-conscious recipe blog, read on! My gorgeous niece Kara is my cooking assistant for the blog, and recently Kara and I have been obsessed with the lower-carb pasta made by Fiber Gourmet (that has lots of fiber to reduce the net carbs).

We loved this brand of lower-carb pasta in Zucchini Pesto Pasta, and I was working on a few more recipes using Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta when I had the idea of doing a make-over on this Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers!

For years this salad was one of my favorites to take to a family party, so I was excited to try it with this lower-carb pasta option. And we loved it! We used Fiber Gourmet Light Penne for this recipe, and Kara and I both thought it tasted just like “real” pasta, with a lot less carbs. And we made the salad with lots of sausage, zucchini, olives, and roasted red peppers, which makes this salad even more carb-friendly and also stretches out the pasta to make it more affordable.

We liked the updated version of this salad so much that I just couldn’t wait until summer to share the it with you. And I do think this is a year-round dish, because if you’re attending a football-watching party I bet this pasta salad recipe will be a hit! In the updated version I’m giving options so you can make this favorite salad with Fiber Gourmet Light Penne, Palmini Linguini, or regular pasta; hope you enjoy!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

Why do we love the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta so much?

Both Kara and I are carb-conscious eaters, and the one food that both of us missed the most was pasta. And when we tried the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta, we were amazed to discover that it tastes just like regular pasta, with half the carbs! And if you use it in a recipe with less pasta and more low-carb ingredients like we did in this pasta salad, the carb counts are even lower for a serving.

What pasta can you use for this pasta salad recipe?

  • You can make the Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers with one 8 ounce box of Fiber Gourmet Light Penne (affiliate link), which is what we used for this recipe. With that option the salad has 19.2 net carbs per serving (with 16.5 grams of protein.) I bought the Fiber Gourmet penne at Amazon, where it’s definitely pricey if you don’t buy a case of 12, and we liked it so much that I did invest in a case! The pasta is a bit less expensive on The Fiber Gourmet site, and in some parts of the country it’s sold in stores. 
  • If you want a version of this pasta salad that could be suitable for Keto, you can add Italian Sausage to my recipe for Low-Carb Italian Pasta Salad that’s made with Palmini Low-Carb Linguini (affiliate link), or just use the pasta cooking instructions from that recipe and make this salad with linguini. (That will make a slightly-smaller salad and the net carbs will be about 5 grams lower.)
  • If you don’t care so much about carbs, you can make this salad with whole wheat penne, which will be higher in carbs (depending on the pasta you use) but still probably not super high if you use the small amount of pasta and more other ingredients like we did.

What adds flavor to the dressing for this salad?

We used basil pesto to make the dressing to make it a more year-round recipe, but if I was making this when it was fresh basil season, I’d use a bunch of finely chopped fresh basil.

What if you don’t want to use all these ingredients?

My family loves this pasta salad that’s loaded with good flavors from Italian sausage, marinated zucchini, black olives, and roasted red pepper. But if you don’t have (or don’t enjoy) some of those ingredients, you can definitely still make a very delicious pasta salad with only some of them.

Want more lower-carb ideas for pasta salad?

Check out No-Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Italian Sausage for a low-carb and gluten-free salad with similar flavors to this one. You might also like my vegetarian Pesto Pasta Salad that’s made with Palmini Low-Carb Linguini (affiliate link).

recipe steps collage for Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers

How to Make Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers:

(This is just a short description of the recipe steps; scroll down for complete printable recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Start a big pot of salted water boiling. When water boils, add pasta, reduce heat, and cook until pasta is al dente. (We cooked the Fiber Gourmet Light Penne nearly 20 minutes; check time on package for other types of pasta.)
  2. Cut up zucchini, then cook about 3-5 minutes in barely simmering water and drain well.
  3. While the zucchini cooks mix the basil pesto into the dressing.
  4. Marinate zucchini in 1/4 cup of the dressing. Marinate at least 20-30 minutes marinating time to add flavor.
  5. Brown sausage well until it’s fully cooked. . 
  6. Drain red peppers, then chop up peppers into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Drain olives, then cut into halves or slices.
  8. When the sausage is well browned, let it cool enough to handle. Then cut into slices about 3/8 inch thick. 
  9. As soon as it’s al dente, drain pasta well. Let pasta cool for a few minutes.
  10. Then mix together drained pasta, cooled sausage, diced red peppers, and sliced olives.
  11. Stir in the marinated zucchini with any dressing that’s in the bag.
  12. Gently mix in the rest of the dressing (or as much as you prefer), and Parmesan cheese.  
  13. The salad is best when it chills in the fridge for at least an hour.
  14. Leftovers will stay good in the fridge for quite a few days.

Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers shown in serving bowl with forks and napkin

More Tasty Recipes with Italian Sausage:

Deconstructed Pizza Casserole

Sausage, Peppers, and Mushrooms Low-Carb Cheesy Bake

Italian Sausage and Sweet Mini Peppers Sheet Pan Meal

Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza-Stuffed Peppers

No-Noodle Lasagna with Sausage and Basil

Ingredients

  • 3 small zucchini, cut in fourths lengthwise, then cut into pieces
  • 5 links turkey or pork Italian Sausage
  • 8 oz. Fiber Gourmet Light Penne (or other pasta of your choice, see notes above)
  • one 6 oz. can black olives
  • one 12 oz. jar roasted red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for adding at the table

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Newman’s Own Classic Oil and Vinegar salad dressing (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Start a large pot of salted water boiling to cook the pasta.
  2. When water boils, add pasta, stir, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until pasta is al dente. (We cooked the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta nearly 20 minutes, but I would start checking at the recommended cooking time of 15-17 minutes. For other types of pasta, check the package for cooking time.)
  3. Cut ends off zucchini, cut into fourths, and then cut the strips into pieces. Cook zucchini just 3-5 minutes in barely simmering water; then drain well.
  4. While zucchini cooks mix the basil pesto into the salad dressing.
  5. Marinate the drained zucchini in about 1/4 cup of the dressing. Marinate it for an hour or so if you can, but even 20-30 minutes marinating time will add flavor.
  6. Brown the sausage well on all sides until it’s fully cooked. When it’s brown, let sausage cool until it’s cool enough to cut.
  7. Drain roasted red peppers, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Drain the can of olives, then cut olives in half (or in slices.)
  9. When sausage is cool, cut into slices about 3/8 inch thick.
  10. As soon as it is done to al dente, drain the pasta in a colander placed in the sink. Let pasta cool a few minutes.
  11. Then mix together the drained pasta, sausage slices, diced red pepper, and olives.
  12. Then mix in the marinated zucchini and any dressing in the bag. Mix in the rest of the dressing (or as much as you prefer) and the Parmesan cheese.
  13. The salad is best when it chills in the fridge for at least an hour.
  14. Leftovers will stay good in the fridge for quite a few days.

Notes

I use Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link) because it’s low in sugar; use any low-sugar vinaigrette you prefer. If you’re making it in the summer months when fresh basil is plentiful you could substitute 1/4 cup (or more) fresh-chopped basil for the pesto mixed into the dressing.

This salad is great with roasted peppers from a jar, but if you want to bump up the flavor with freshly roasted red peppers, here is How to Roast Red Bell Peppers on a Barbecue Grill.

This recipe created by Kalyn many years ago to make a pasta salad with favorite ingredients.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 529Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 9.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28.3gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 747mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 12.8gSugar: 6.1gProtein: 16.5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.


Did you make this recipe?

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating (under the PRINT button in the recipe) or share a photo of your results on Instagram! THANKS!

Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers in serving bowl with forks and napkin

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
When made with the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta, this pasta salad recipe should be suitable for low-carb diets, but probably not Keto. Using whole-grain pasta and turkey Italian Sausage could make this a personal choice for phase two or three of the original South Beach Diet, but it’s still probably a “once in a while treat” if you’re actively dieting, due to the amount of cheese and the fat content. 

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes for more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find  recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2007! The photos were updated in 2013, when I accidentally made the salad a week early for a family party. The post was updated again with more information and options for a low-carb pasta salad in 2022.

Pasta Salad with Sausage, Zucchini, Olives, and Peppers Pinterest image

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