We’re never not craving pasta, but sometimes we do want a sprinkle of health (oh hey, kale) and a few other wholesome ingredients to round out or favorite food group. Cue: this 30-minute sausage kale pasta, the answer to your weeknight dinner debacle. It’s easy to make, takes less than 30 minutes, is a complete crowd pleaser, and it’s absolutely delicious.

sausage kale pasta on plates and in cast iron skillet

Tips & Tricks For This Recipe

  • Use a good quality sausage. The flavor of the sausage that you use in your pasta will determine a large majority of the flavor in this dish. We love the Italian sausage from Trader Joe’s (you’ll need to remove it from the casing), or any high quality Italian sausage from you local deli will work great.

  • Use fresh kale. Don’t worry about massaging it, or even getting a super uniform chop. Simply remove the kale from the stems, coarsely chop the tender parts, and you’re good to go. Pre-washed and trimmed kale works great as well.

  • Make sure to stir in the cream and Parmigiano Reggiano at the very end, once the skillet is removed from the heat. Cooking over the heat can cause the saucy coating for your sausage kale pasta to thicken too much.

sausage kale pasta in skillet

How To Make Sausage Kale Pasta

  • Cook the pasta as you’re prepping and cooking all of the other ingredients (this dish comes together fast!). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously salt it. Your pasta water should taste as salty as the sea. Cook your pasta until it’s al dente (often times 1-2 minutes less than package instructions) and make sure to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

  • Next you’ll prep the sausage and vegetables. Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over medium high heat and add the onions. Soften them slightly and add the sausage. After the sausage is cooked through, add the garlic, kale, red pepper flakes, salt, and cook everything for 2 more minutes.

sausage kale pasta on plate
  • Finally, add the pasta and a good splash of pasta water (about 1/4 cup) to the dutch oven. Toss everything together, remove the dutch oven from heat, and add the heavy cream and Parmigiano Reggiano. If your pasta is on the dry side, add another splash or two of the starchy pasta water until the consistency is right. Taste everything before serving (add a little salt if it’s needed) and serve your sausage kale pasta right away!


Sausage Kale Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Brooke Eliason
Servings: 4 servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
This sausage kale pasta can be made in less than 30 minutes, has the perfect sprinkle of health (kale), and is laced with delicious, hearty flavors.


  • 12 oz. pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 bunch kale, leaves stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 4-5 oz.)
  • red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Bring large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt with kosher salt (water should be as salty as the sea). Cook pasta until al dente. Just before pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside. Prepare remaining ingredients while water is coming to a boil and pasta is cooking.
  • Warm extra virgin olive oil in a large dutch or skillet oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add Italian sausage and break up with the edge of a wooden spoon. Once sausage is cooked through, add the garlic, kale, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and kosher salt to taste, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Keeping the heat on medium-high, add pasta and 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the sausage mixture and toss to combine. Remove dutch oven from heat and add heavy cream and Parmigiano Reggiano and stir to combine. Add additional hot pasta liquid if needed. Taste and add additional salt if needed and serve immediately.

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