Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta is a hearty, delicious meal in a bowl. Spicy Italian sausage adds wonderful flavor and a little heat to bright peppers and onions, and hearty greens
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We ate leftovers a lot when I was growing up, because that’s how my mom grew up. When I moved out, I swore off leftovers for the most part, and still do to this day. As a matter of fact, I’ve been cooking lunch and dinner almost every day for about 8 years. People think I’m nuts, but cooking soothes me and I enjoy it.
When I make lunch during the work week I don’t have a ton of time, so I look for recipes that can be on the table in 20 minutes or less. I also want a complete meal, and something that will satisfy me for the afternoon. A couple of my go-to lunch meals are
One of my favorite discoveries a couple of years ago is Johnsonville Italian Sausage. They come in perfect individual portions, and cook up fast. My Orecchiette with Sausage, Kale, Garlic and Pine Nuts was my first sausage recipe on the blog, and one of my favorite dishes. My Italian Sausage and Bell Pepper Sandwiches are perfect for a party or game day.
When I’m not sure what to make for lunch, or when I’m uninspired with my original plan, I often default to a recipe with my Italian sausage. And one of my favorite ways to do that is with Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta
I mean, how can you resist this bowl of delicious?! I love Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta because it’s easy, extremely flavorful, and versatile
KEY INGREDIENTS FOR ITALIAN SAUSAGE BELL PEPPER PASTA
- Johnsonville Italian Sausage – I use the spicy, but you could definitely use mild or sweet. I remove the sausage from its casing, and break it up into small pieces before cooking. You can also buy the sausage ground, perfect when you’re cooking for a crowd. Of course, you can substitute with your favorite sausage brand
- Red Pepper Flakes – the spicy sausage has a kick, but I still add pepper flakes for more heat
- Bell Peppers – I always have red, green and yellow peppers in the house, so I use all 3. But if I’m missing one, I just use a little more of the other 2
- Greens – I usually use baby bok choy, because I like the bite and contrast in texture. Kale or baby spinach are good substitutes. If you use baby spinach, make sure to add it close to the end, just enough time for it to wilt
- Pasta – any short cut pasta will do, and I’ve used several different types interchangeably. My go-to pasta for this dish is rigatoni, because I like the larger pieces, and rigatoni has a heartier bite than other pasta cuts
- Red onion – I add onion to pretty much everything. I like the color and milder bite of red onion, but yellow is perfect too
The great thing about Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta is that you may not need to add any oil at all! The sausage releases fat as it cooks, and I use that to saute to onions and peppers. If I do need to add a little oil, I use Avocado Oil. It has a wonderful flavor, and a very high smoke point.
As I mentioned, Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta comes together pretty quickly, as it can be on the table in 20 minutes.
HEALTHIER SWAPS FOR ITALIAN SAUSAGE BELL PEPPER PASTA
Of course, there are ways to lighten up Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta
- Use whole grain pasta, whole wheat pasta, or quinoa. Or, eliminate pasta altogether. I’ve made it with just the sausage and peppers many times, and it’s just as delicious
- Use turkey sausage or chicken sausage. If you use chicken sausage, you will need to add more oil, and you will need to add more seasonings like onion powder and garlic powder
Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta is definitely one of my go-to lunch recipes.
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 2 Johnsonville Spicy Italian Sausage
- 4 ounces rigatoni, or any short-cut pasta
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced into 1/2" pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced into 1/2" pieces
- 2-3 baby bok choy
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon avocado oil, if needed
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, for garnish
Cut ends from bok choy, and discard ends. Chop bok choy into bite-sized pieces, rinse thoroughly and drain well.
In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook rigatoni for about 12 minutes, or until al dente.
Remove sausage from casings, and crumble into bite-sized pieces
Add sausage to large skillet over medium heat, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until browned. Remove and set aside. If needed, add a little oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute. Add onions, peppers and black pepper, and saute for 3 minutes. Return sausage to pan, add bok choy, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes
Add pasta and 2 Tablespoons reserved pasta water to skillet. Toss together, and finish cooking for 1 minute. Garnish with parsley. If desired, sprinkle with a little more red pepper flakes