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Sausage Kale Pasta

Sausage Kale Pasta is an easy and delicious recipe that only requires a few ingredients. This simple recipe is made with Italian sausage, fresh kale, and parmesan, and is ready in 20 minutes!

Sausage Kale Pasta in a skillet on top of a checkered napkin.

Traditional Italian Sausage Kale Pasta is a simple and delicious recipe to have on hand for weeknight dinners or entertaining. This flavorful recipe comes together fast and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

For another delicious and quick weeknight pasta, be sure to check out One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta or the classic Italian Anchovy Breadcrumb Pasta. And, if you love cooking with kale, don’t miss my Lemon Ricotta Pasta with a simple no-cook sauce!

Why this Recipe is the BEST!

Sausage Kale Pasta is a simple and quick meal that’s easy enough for weeknight dinner, but delicious enough to entertain with. This recipe only requires a few ingredients and is always a fan favorite.

The Italian sausage in this recipe gives it incredible flavor without a lot of effort or ingredients. You can customize by using either hot or mild Italian sausage to change up the flavors.

This recipe is also a great way to eat your kale! The chopped kale melds perfectly with the sausage leaving a delicious bite without the texture and bitterness you get from eating raw kale.

Lastly, this recipe comes together in the same time it takes you to boil pasta. So, in less than 20 minutes you can have a hot and delicious meal with minimal effort that everyone will love.

Recipe Ingredients

overhead photo of ingredients need for recipe including parmesan, lemon, garlic, and shells.

This is a recipe that uses simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. All you need are pasta shells, parmesan, lemon, garlic, onion, kale, and Italian sausage.

  • Italian Sausage: you can use either mild or spicy Italian sausage in this recipe. You will need about 4-5 links. Be sure to remove the sausage from its casing before cooking.
  • Kale: here I used curly kale, which is the most common variety. However, you can use whatever kale you’d like. Be sure to remove the tough rib from the center of the leaf before chopping it up and adding it in.
  • Pasta: this pasta is most commonly made with orecchiette, a small round-shaped pasta. However any small round pasta works. Here I used medium shells, but you could use ziti, rigatoni, or farfalle.

Read on to see how simple and quick this recipe is!

How to Make Sausage Kale Pasta

This recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes! To start, you will need to bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook your pasta according to box instructions, until al dente. Save a cup of pasta water before draining.

While the pasta is cooking, work on the rest of the dish. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. You want to use a very large skillet or a dutch oven here. You need enough room to hold all of the cooked pasta.

overhead process shots of browning meat, onions, and adding the shells and the cheese.

Step 1: Cook the sausage in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Then add in the onion and cook until the sausage is completely browned and the onion has softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 2: Add in the chopped kale, garlic, lemon juice, and pasta water. Scrape the bits of sausage off the bottom of the pan and cook until the kale has wilted.

Step 3: Pour in the pasta and top with shredded parmesan cheese.

Step 4: Carefully stir together the pasta, cheese, and sauce until well combined. Taste for seasonings.

This recipe is great served hot with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese over top. This dish also makes for great leftovers heated up or eaten cold.

overhead photo of sausage kale pasta in a skillet with a checkered napkin underneath.

Recipe Tips and FAQs

To make sure you make the best Sausage Kale Pasta, follow my expert tips:

  • Be sure you are using a large skillet or dutch oven to make this dish. You will need a lot of room to toss the all the ingredients, so the bigger the skillet the better.
  • Use a good quality Italian sausage and be sure to remove the casing. Crumble the sausage into the pan and use a spoon or spatula to break it up as it cooks.
  • Save a cup of pasta water before draining the cooked pasta. Use the water to create a sauce and deglaze the pan.
What’s a good substitute for kale?

If you don’t have kale, you can substitute other leafy greens in this dish. Use hearty greens like collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, or broccoli rabe.

Is there heavy cream in Sausage Kale Pasta?

Traditionally, this recipe is made without the addition of heavy cream. In fact, you will seldom, if ever, find heavy cream included in authentic Italian dishes. The creaminess of the sauce instead comes from the cheeses and pasta water.

What pasta is best for hearty sauces?

Short-shaped pasta like farfalle, orecchiette, and rotini are great for heartier sauces. These short-shaped pastas are ideal because they are sturdy enough to catch the proteins and vegetables in these sauces.

More Italian Sausage Recipes

If you love cooking with Italian sausage, be sure to try these favorites:

Italian Sausage and Lentils

Sausage Kale Bean Soup

Italian Turkey Sausage Meatballs

Stuffed Peppers Skillet with Italian Sausage

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or review in the comments section further down the page.

Stay in touch with me through social media @ Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes!

Sausage Kale Pasta in a large pan.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or review in the comments section further down the page.

Stay in touch with me through social media @ Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes!

sausage kale pasta
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Sausage Kale Pasta

Sausage Kale Pasta is simple and quick dish using Italian sausage and fresh kale. You can use whatever smaller pasta you have on hand.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Kale Sausage Pasta
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 499kcal
Cost: 7-9

Equipment

  • large skillet or dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 pound short-shaped pasta (like orecchiette, shells, ziti, or rigatoni)
  • 1 ¼ pounds Italian sausage, casings removed (about 4-5 links)
  • 1 bunch kale (stems removed and chopped)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, until just al dente. Reserve a ½ cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the sausage, using a spoon to break it up as it cooks. Cook for about 5 minutes and add in the chopped onion. Continue cooking until the onion is softened and the sausage is no longer pink.
  • To the skillet, stir in the garlic, chopped kale, lemon juice, salt, and pasta water. Continue cooking until the kale softens and shrinks in size; about two minutes. Add in the cooked pasta and parmesan and stir until the mixture is fully combined.

Notes

  • Be sure you are using a large skillet or dutch oven to make this dish. You will need a lot of room to toss the sausage and kale with the pasta, so the bigger the skillet the better.
  • Use a good quality Italian sausage and be sure to remove the casing. Crumble the sausage into the pan and use a spoon or spatula to break it up as it cooks. Sweet or spicy Italian sausage works. 
  • Save a cup of pasta water before draining the cooked pasta. Use the water to create a sauce and deglaze the pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 499kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 915mg | Potassium: 427mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1681IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2mg
Sausage Kale Pasta.
Recipe Rating




Sharon

Friday 4th of March 2022

This sausage and pasta dish is so easy to make. The perfect busy weeknight meal.

Dannii

Friday 4th of March 2022

Now this is my kind of comfort food. My kids love sausages, and I might be able to get them to eat kale with this too.

Beth Sachs

Friday 4th of March 2022

This looks like my kind of pasta recipe. Comforting, hearty and tasty!

Gina

Friday 4th of March 2022

This is the perfect dinner to throw together after a busy day. It's quick, easy, and so delicious!