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  • Writer's pictureDonna

Italian Style Sausage

Updated: May 11, 2023

Homemade Italian style sausage that is salt-free, low fat, and still delivers all the flavor and spicy goodness that you want on a pizza or in lasagna.

We love pizza... who doesn't! The difficulty is that most pizza is loaded with fat, salt, and sugar. That doesn't really fit in our healthy eating choices. I created this recipe for homemade Italian sausage as a healthy alternative. It delivers all those tasty flavors and we can enjoy pizza again. Since life can be rather busy, I often create large batches of meals, or in this instance toppings, and freeze them in plastic bags to make meals a little faster on those crazy days.

Homemade Italian Style Sausage


  • 3 lbs 90% lean ground pork

  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds

  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tbsp onion powder (or garlic powder)

  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp dried basil

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp dried parsley

  • 2 tbsp red wine

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp


  1. Over medium low heat toast fennel seeds and red pepper flakes, stirring constantly, until aromatic; ~3-5 minutes. Do not leave unattended, you don't want to burn the seeds.

  2. Remove toasted, warmed seeds from heat.

  3. Transfer roughly half to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind until the majority of the spices appear ground to nearly a powder.

  4. Add all the spices and the meat in a large bowl including the toasted and ground seeds.

  5. Mix until all spices appear evenly distributed. I mix by hand (wearing gloves) to control the amount of mixing and to make sure spices are well distributed.

  6. Let mixture sit for 30-45 minutes so flavors can absorb.

  7. In a stock pot, or large pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the meat mixture.

  8. Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through and no pink meat pieces are left.

  9. Remove from heat and cool.

  10. Once the meat is cooled enough to handle, divide it into two gallon size bags and continue to cool it on a counter until it is room temperature before freezing.

When ready to use, break up the meat in one of the bags and pour the amount you want to use in a bowl and thaw (you can even do that in a microwave). Now, you can make healthier versions of the Italian dishes you love... like pizza.

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