Pasta dishes work well for meal prepping. They can keep for several days and they still taste good after being reheated. Ready in just 30 minutes, this creamy tomato pasta with sausage and spinach can also be made for an easy dinner. Adding a little half and half makes the pasta creamy without making the dish too rich.
Step One: Cook the Pasta
Start by cooking and draining the pasta so it’s ready to add to the sauce at the end. The recipe uses whole wheat penne pasta, but any bite-sized shape pasta will do. If you don’t have penne, try cavatappi, rigatoni, farfalle, or rotini pasta. Instead of whole-wheat, feel free to use regular pasta or a gluten-free variety such as brown rice, chickpea, lentil, quinoa, or multigrain pasta.
Step Two: Cook the Sausage
While the pasta is cooking start cooking the sausage. First, cook the onion until it’s softened, then add the sausage and cook it until it’s browned. Break it up into small pieces as it cooks.
You can even use ground beef, ground turkey, or diced chicken instead of sausage. Pasta dishes are a good way to use up meat you may already have in your fridge or freezer.
Step Three: Make the Creamy Tomato Sauce
After cooking the sausage, add the tomato sauce and herbs and let it simmer a few minutes. Leave out the red pepper flakes if you don’t like spicy, or feel free to add more of them if you like it hot.
To make it creamy, lower the heat and add the half and half. Stir the half and half until incorporated into the sauce and then add the spinach and cook it a few minutes until it wilts. Finally, add the cooked pasta to the sauce, mix to combine, and serve!
Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta such as brown rice, chickpea, lentil, quinoa, or multigrain pasta.
Make it vegetarian: Use veggie sausage (e.g., Field Roast) instead of chicken sausage or omit the sausage all together and eat it as creamy pasta with spinach.
Make it dairy-free: Although this will give the dish a bit of a coconut flavor, you can replace the half and half with full-fat canned coconut milk.
Storing Creamy Tomato Pasta
This dish will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days if it’s stored in airtight containers. Ideally, use containers that can be heated in the microwave. If you’re meal prepping this for meals later in the week, portion it out into individual containers so you can easily grab one serving. When you’re ready to eat it, simply reheat the container in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
More Pasta Recipes to Try
Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage & Spinach
- 8 oz. dried whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 pound Italian chicken sausage, casing removed (any type of sausage works)
- 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
- While the pasta cooks, start the sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add the sausage and garlic. Cook the sausage for about 8 minutes, until it browns, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks.
- Add the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the half and half, stirring to combine it with the tomato sauce. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until it wilts.
- Add the drained pasta to the pan and gently mix it until it’s coated with the sauce.