Sausage Kale Pasta Bake

Creamy sausage kale pasta bake is made with spicy Italian sausage, fresh chopped kale and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in white cream sauce. It’s spicy, packed with flavor and it’s pure comfort food!

A plate of creamy pasta with sausage, kale and sun dried tomaotes

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I always make a full portion of this recipe, even though I usually cook for two. The leftovers taste even better the next day and are perfect for a quick dinner on busy nights or easy grab-and-go lunches.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Flavor – It’s loaded with savory Italian sausage, wilted kale, and sun-dried tomatoes, all smothered in delicious cream sauce.
  • Convenient – It’s perfect for meal prep, make it ahead of time or double the recipe and freeze one for another day; perfect for busy weeknights.
all of the ingredients for this recipe: cheese, sausage, garlic, milk sun dried tomatoes, pasta, kale butter and flour

Here is what you will need

This is a brief summary of the ingredients needed to make this sausage kale pasta recipe and a convenient shopping list from my Instacart affiliate link. For a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card section.

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Ingredients

  • Italian sausage
  • Pasta
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Fresh kale
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (dry pack)
  • Flour
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Milk
  • Nutmeg

🥄Equipment

How to make kale and sausage pasta bake

Prepare the ingredients: Cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente pasta (approximately 8 minutes cooking time). While the pasta is cooking, chop the onions, garlic cloves, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Drain and rinse the pasta and place it into a mixing bowl.

sausage cooking in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon in the skillet

Step 1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with a little bit of olive oil or your favorite cooking oil. Add the sausage until it is cooked through (about 5 minutes). If you are using sausage links, break the sausage meat up into pieces as the sausage is cooking. Drain off the excess fat, and place the sausage into the bowl with the cooked pasta.

a mixing bowl filled with pasta, sundried tomatoes, kale and cooked sausage

Step 2. Add the kale, sun-dried tomatoes and sausage to the mixing bowl with the sausage and pasta.

onions garlic and butter cooking in a saucepan

Step 3. Melt the butter in a saucepan along with chopped garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat until they begin to soften. Turn the heat to low heat, and stir in the flour until it forms a paste.

Sauce prepared and made in a pt

Step 4. Gradually whisk in the milk to the paste or roux while stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in the parmesan cheese and nutmeg.

sausage, kale pasta mixture mixed together in a mixing bowl

Step 5. Pour the prepared sauce over the pasta mixture in the bowl and stir gently to combine all the ingredients. Once combined, pour it into a 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Ingredient notes and substitutions

Pasta – You can use any type of pasta for this pasta bake recipe. I prefer penne or fusilli because they hold onto the delicious sauce well, but use whatever you like. If you’re gluten-free, you can also use gluten-free pasta in this recipe.

Sausage – We prefer spicy Italian sausage, but feel free to use mild Italian sausage, pork sausage, turkey sausage, chicken sausage, or vegan sausages in this recipe. All these options will work well in the dish.

Kale – The best kale to use for this casserole is lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale. It’s a bit more tender than curly kale and easier to work with. If you can’t find lacinato kale, you can swap it with curly kale, Russian kale, baby kale, or spinach.

Sun-dried tomatoes – Look for dried sun-dried tomatoes, not the ones in oil. If you only have oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, make sure to rinse them well before adding them to the mixing bowl.

This recipe is perfect for preparing in advance. Simply follow the recipe card instructions to prepare the dish (cook the pasta, chop the vegetables, make the sauce, and assemble the casserole), but hold off on baking it. Wrap it tightly, then refrigerate for up to three days or freeze it for up to three months. When ready to enjoy, let the casserole dish come to room temperature, then bake in a 350-degree oven.

The finished baked casserole

How to store leftovers

If you have any leftovers, they can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheated in the oven or microwave. If you want to save them for longer, freeze the leftovers in a sealed container for up to three months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and warm them up in the oven.

What to serve with kale and sausage pasta bake

This recipe is filled with vegetables and almost a one-pot meal all by itself, but it tastes great with a delicious arugula salad, zucchini salad or spinach salad.

The pasta bake on a plate with a fork

Recipe variations

Dairy-free – replace the milk with an equal amount of plant-based milk and add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast to the sauce instead of parmesan cheese. Top the pasta with vegan cheese before baking.

Vegetarian – replace the sausage with vegan sausage or add two chopped and sauteed portobello mushroom caps, with a dash of fennel for a sausage flavor.

Gluten-free – Replace the pasta with gluten-free pasta and the flour with gluten-free flour or arrowroot powder.

Spicy – Add a 1/2 to a teaspoon of red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the cream sauce for extra spice.

Tips

  • Cook the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes less than the package requires so that it’s al dente which will prevent it from becoming soggy during the baking process.
  • Make two batches and freeze one for another day or freeze in portions for quick grab and go portioned meals.
How do you cut kale?

Here is an easy way to cut kale: first, remove the stems by folding the kale leaves in half and stacking them on top of each other, making sure that the stem is on one side and the leaves are on the other side. Use a sharp knife to slice away the stem. Next, roll the leaves to slice the leaves into ribbons.

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The finished baked casserole

Baked Pasta with Kale and Sausage

Creamy kale and sausage pasta bake is pure comfort food that can be ready in less than an hour!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Click on serving size to scale this recipe

Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: sausage kale pasta bake
Servings: 6 People
Calories: 393kcal
Author: Anne
Scale this Recipe 6 People

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Italian Sausage Pork, turkey or chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups kale shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes dry pack
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded

Instructions

  • pre-heat the oven to 350
  • cook the pasta for 8 minutes, while the pasta is cooking chop the kale and sun-dried tomatoes and place them in a mixing bowl.
  • once the pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse it in cold water, pat it dry and add it to the mixing bowl with the kale and sun-dried tomatoes
  • cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until it is cooked through. If you are using links, break them into bite-sized pieces.
  • once the sausage is cooked through, drain off the excess fat and place it into the bowl with the pasta and kale.
  • to make the sauce: add the butter or olive to a saucepan along with the garlic and onions, cook them until they begin to soften and stir in the flour to make a roux (thick paste).
  • turn the heat to low and gradually stir in the milk  stirring until the mixture starts to thicken 
  • add the parmesan cheese and stir until all is melted and add the nutmeg
  • pour the sauce over the pasta mixture in the bowl and mix well
  • add the pasta mixture to a 9X13 casserole dish
  • sprinkle with mozzarella cheese; cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Notes

Substitutions:
Dry Pack Sun Dried Tomatoes  can be replaced with an equal amount of oil packed  that have been drained and rinsed.
Pork Sausage – Can be replaced with an equal amount of turkey sausage, chicken sausage or vegan sausage.
Kale – Swap with an equal amount of spinach.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 486mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 979IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

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