This Italian Sausage Spaghetti features marinara sauce, fresh tomatoes, spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and fresh herbs! There is so much flavor packed into this crowd-pleasing pasta dish! The whole recipe takes only 30 minutes and requires simple ingredients found in most pantries.
What sets this recipe apart from others
There are so many ways to make homemade spaghetti sauce. This quick and easy recipe is packed with fresh veggies, such as fresh tomatoes and spinach. For simplicity, I used store-bought marinara sauce - any flavor will work (tomato basil, garlic tomato, etc). Then, I elevated the simple tomato sauce with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, fresh minced garlic, fresh herbs, and of course, veggies. Use spicy Italian sausage (crumbled) and that adds even more flavor. There is no cream and no cheese because this flavor-packed dinner doesn't need it - it's already super flavorful! It's a great way to prepare sausage pasta using fresh vegetables.
A 30-Minute Italian pasta dish
Italian sausage spaghetti is a simple family-friendly recipe that takes only 30 minutes from start to finish. This cozy comfort food can be made any time of year, but it is especially comforting in the Fall and Winter. It's a well-balanced meal that is packed with veggies (fresh spinach and tomatoes) and protein and served over classic Italian pasta - spaghetti. Perfect for a cozy family weeknight dinner but also appropriate for entertaining guests. And, if you're looking for more spaghetti inspiration, I really recommend this super popular and delicious recipe on my site that also doesn't use cream or cheese: tomato spinach chicken spaghetti.
Why you'll love it
- Budget-friendly meal. Sausage spaghetti uses affordable ingredients that are dressed up by using lots of fresh veggies (spinach and tomatoes), garlic, Italian seasoning, and fresh herbs!
- This recipe is flexible and really forgiving to cook. You don't have to measure everything accurately for this pasta dish. Have a full glass jar of marinara sauce collecting dust in your pantry? Dump it into this spaghetti sauce. Have 4 extra tomatoes you need to use up before they go bad? Add it to the spaghetti pasta sauce. Have frozen spinach instead of fresh? Use it in this recipe instead of fresh.
- Great for using up veggies. If you have other veggies in your fridge that you need to use up, such as bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, kale, or arugula - add them!
- Delicious flavor combo. Italian sausage and spaghetti make a great pairing. This meal is simple, yet the flavors are fantastic! It tastes like a pasta dish from a fine Italian restaurant and might become one of your family's favorite meals.
- No cream, no cheese. There is already a ton of flavor in this recipe. Of course, you can sprinkle a small amount of grated or shaved Parmesan cheese over it if you like, but it really doesn't need it.
What goes into this pasta - main ingredients
- Spaghetti is a staple food of Italian cuisine. This pasta with long strands goes really well with sausage!
- Italian sausage. Use spicy variety to add flavor or use mild or sweet sausage.
- Garlic adds pungency and aroma to any recipe, especially pasta dishes!
- Marinara sauce. There are so many good sauces available in the store these days, you really don't have to make your own. Use your favorite brand and the flavor you like: roasted tomatoes, tomato basil, garlic tomato, or arrabbiata.
- Red pepper flakes. Don't overdo them - just a sprinkle will do.
- Spinach. I used fresh spinach and cooked it right in the same pan as the pasta sauce. You can also use frozen spinach - thawed and drained of any liquid.
- Fresh tomatoes add texture and more flavor.
What type of sausage to use?
- Crumbled Italian sausage. I used 15 oz of crumbled mild Italian sausage. I added some pepper flakes to my dish to spice it up. Spicy or sweet sausage would work, too.
- Use 50% sausage, and 50% ground beef if you like in case you need to use up certain ingredients.
- Italian sausage links. You can also use Italian sausage in casings. I would remove the casings and slice the sausage.
- Chicken or turkey sausage is another great option.
- Beyond Sausage, a brand is a great option for a plant-based, vegetarian version.
How to make spaghetti sauce
1) First, cook the crumbled Italian sausage with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet for about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
2) Then, to the same skillet with cooked sausage, add minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
3) Next, add the tomato marinara pasta sauce and spinach.
4) Once you add all these ingredients to the skillet, bring everything to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts, occasionally stirring. Add fresh tomatoes and cook for about 2 more minutes. Your spaghetti sauce is ready.
5) Finally, cook pasta al dente right before serving and mix hot drained pasta with the spaghetti sauce.
Variations, substitutions, and recipe tips
- Pasta. I used spaghetti but this sausage pasta will also work really well with fettuccine, linguine, angel hair pasta, or pappardelle pasta.
- Sausage. I used spicy crumbled Italian sausage. You can also use mild or sweet Italian sausage, or Italian sausage links (casings removed and the sausage crumbled). This is also a good recipe for chicken sausage.
- Drain the fat once you cook the sausage to get rid of excess grease and unnecessary calories.
- Can you make it meatless? Yes, you can! Use plant-based sausage such as Beyond sausage brand.
- Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta made with brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
- Use other greens. Swiss chard, arugula, or kale will work great in this recipe.
- What is a good substitute for canned tomato sauce? You can use canned diced tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes instead.
- Use red wine. Add a splash of dry red wine (about ¼ cup) to the tomato marinara sauce, if you like. It will add richness and depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Try unique pasta. This is the ideal recipe for trying out all sorts of artisanal pasta that we often see in stores these days. Make this recipe with green spinach pasta, artichoke pasta, truffle-flavored linguine, etc. You get the idea! Use all those colorful unusual kinds of pasta in this recipe!
How to garnish spaghetti
Garnish Italian sausage spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Other great toppings are red pepper flakes, chopped chives, chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, cilantro), chopped green onions, or toasted pine nuts.
What to serve with this pasta?
- Bread. Sausage pasta pairs well with baguette, garlic bread, olive bread, or sourdough bread. Breadsticks are a great idea, too.
- Salad. Any type of simple fresh salad will make an excellent pairing. Throw some greens (spinach or arugula) together with olive oil or balsamic vinegar-based salad dressing for a simple salad. Top with toasted nuts and Parmesan cheese.
- My salad recommendations. Serve this pasta with a simple spinach salad with pine nuts and Parmesan or cranberry spinach salad with cashews and goat cheese. Or, pair the pasta with the colorful and easy-to-make arugula salad with apples, cranberries, and pecans.
Storage and reheating tips
Because Italian sausage spaghetti is made without any cream or cheese, this recipe is incredibly easy to store and reheat!
- Fridge. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The longer you keep it, the softer the pasta will get.
- Make-ahead tip. If making this ahead, make the spaghetti sauce up to 3 days in advance. Cook the pasta only when you're ready to serve.
- Freezer. The same as above applies if you want to freeze this dish. Don't freeze the pasta mixed with the sauce. Make the spaghetti sauce (without the pasta) and freeze it for up to 2 months.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. Reheat the refrigerated pasta (or spaghetti sauce without pasta) in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Taste and reheat for 30 seconds more, if needed.
- Reheat on the stovetop. Reheat the leftovers in a large, high-sided skillet on the stovetop on low-medium heat.
Other sausage pasta recipes you might like
- Italian Sausage Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Spinach, and Mushrooms
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
- Creamy Sausage Tortellini with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella cheese sauce
- 30-Minute One-Pan Italian Sausage Gnocchi
- Sausage Orecchiette with Tomatoes and Spinach
Italian Sausage Spaghetti - 30-Minute Meal
- 12 oz spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 15 oz Italian sausage mild, crumbled
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or Herbs from Provence
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes to taste
- 13 oz marinara sauce or tomato sauce
- 6 oz spinach fresh
- 4 tomatoes medium size, chopped
- salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- fresh thyme
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, proceed with the recipe below.
How to make spaghetti sauce
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed, high-sided skillet.
- Add crumbled sausage and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sausage is cooked. Drain excess fat.
- To the same skillet with sausage, add minced garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, marinara sauce (or tomato sauce), and fresh spinach. Bring to a boil on medium heat and stir everything well. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, for 4 or 5 minutes until the spinach wilts to your liking.
- Add chopped fresh tomatoes, and cook for about 2 more minutes.
- Add cooked and drained pasta to the sauce. Reheat.
- Mix everything well. Remove from heat.
- Season with salt, freshly ground coarse black pepper, and red pepper flakes, if you like. Top with fresh herbs, such as thyme.
- Tip: use your best judgment about the salt. If the sausage is salty enough, you might not need to add any extra salt.
- Tomato sauce. It can be a store-bought tomato pasta sauce or marinara sauce. Any flavor will work: traditional, tomato basil, arrabbiata, or garlic tomato sauce.
- Sausage. I used mild Italian sausage. Italian sausage links can be used, too, with casings removed and sausage links sliced. You can also use sweet or spicy Italian sausage.
- Italian seasoning of Herbs from Provence. The mix that I used contained dried rosemary, thyme, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, basil, and sage.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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