Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper and Spinach Pasta

You can never have too many back pocket recipes that come together in mere minutes and satisfy all your dinner cravings, am I right? This Italian sausage spinach pasta recipe is INCREDIBLE on all counts.

I am not really a creature of habit when it comes to food – I try and keep things fresh and I am generally testing recipes for clients and projects (such as the cookbook I am co-authoring, eeeeeek!) so there are usually many different things going on in my kitchen.

Spinach pasta recipe with Italian sausage and bell peppers

Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta in white bowls.

Here goes:

1) I love to make no-recipe dishes like tacos, nachos and ‘bowls’ using grains/tortilla chips/riced cauliflower, whatever meat I have, some veggies and greens, cheese (#Wisconsin) and extras like avocado, olives, etc. 

My husband never gets sick of nachos or tacos (who would?) so it’s how we do.  I’m also a big fan of making cauliflower fried rice, but I haven’t posted a recipe yet (do you want it?!).

2) I love complete one-pot meals that are 30 minutes or less (including SOUP) that can be tossed in containers and reheated for lunches during the week. 

A few examples: Maple Mustard Salmon with Roasted Broccoli, Asian-Style Pork Meatballs, Orecchiette, Brussels Sprouts & Sausage Skillet, Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup, and Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps, to name a few.

3) I also love no-cook meals that I can whip up for lunch or even dinner, like this Mediterranean Chickpea & Tuna Salad, these Greek Chicken Bowls, these Curried Turkey Salad Lettuce Cups and this Grown-Up Egg Salad.

Spinach on a marble board.

For this recipe, I was rummaging through the fridge and found a few things: a couple of turkey Italian sausage links, a half a bag of spinach, and red bell pepper. 

What can I pair with spinach pasta?

I was in the mood for pasta (as usual), so I grabbed a box of Barilla Protein Plus (always on hand), and tossed half a box of it in some boiling water to get started. 

Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta in white bowls.

While that cooked, I removed the sausage from the casing and sauteed it with the spinach, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil, then I added a bit of the pasta water to make a silky sauce, tossed in the pasta with some Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and s/p. 

Once it was all stirred together and super delicious, I bowled it up and topped it with some fresh parm, parsley, and a bit more pepper.

Is this pasta dish a balanced meal?

Voila – sort of a no-recipe dinner that was absolutely delicious with plenty of veggies, complex carbs, healthy fats and lots of protein. 

I was satisfied and super happy after eating this meal, so I figured I’d share it with you! 

Remember, there can never be too many back pocket recipes, and this is one of ’em.

Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta in white bowls.

I hope you love it.


Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta

Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta in white bowls.

Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta with garlic, Italian seasonings, Parmesan and fresh herbs.  An easy weeknight meal that’s packed with flavor.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Pasta
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian, American


  • 12-ounces whole grain farfalle or bowtie pasta*
  • 1-pound ground sweet or spicy Italian sausage*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Handful fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve ¼ cup pasta water, then drain.
  2. In a large skillet, cook Italian sausage until lightly browned, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon. Add olive oil, bell pepper and spinach and cook 3-4 minutes or until spinach is wilted.  Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning.  Add pasta water and pasta to the skillet and season with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.  Simmer until liquid has absorbed, stirring constantly.
  3. Serve in bowls with more freshly ground black pepper, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.


Pasta Tip: I like Barilla Protein Plus pasta for an added boost of protein.

Substitution Tip: Choose ground turkey or chicken Italian sausage for a lower fat option.


  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 408
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 620
  • Fat: 24
  • Saturated Fat: 7
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 31
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 17
  • Cholesterol: 46

Keywords: weeknight meal, easy, simple, quick, healthy, family friendly, meal prep

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