This sausage spinach pasta bake is the ultimate nourishing comfort food. It's made with lean turkey sausage, lots of spinach and whole grain pasta. Meal prep it for the week ahead or make this as an easy weeknight dinner!
This is one of my all time favourite dinner recipes! I've actually been making it for over a year now and I am SO excited to finally be able to post it here for you all to enjoy. Whether you are looking for an easy weeknight meal the whole family will love, a yummy recipe using turkey sausage or a new way to meal prep pasta this sausage spinach pasta bake is sure to be a new favourite!
Why you need this sausage and vegetable pasta bake
As a Dietitian I love a good easy meal that is both satisfying and nourishing. Which is why I have been LOVING pasta bakes recently.
Here are four reasons why you need this healthy sausage pasta bake as soon as possible:
- It's customizable- One of my favourite things about this recipe is that it can be customized with whatever you have on hand! Switch up the protein, veggies or even the cheese and you will still have the perfect dinner!
- It's a meal the whole family will love- I promise even the pickiest of eaters will love this cheesy pasta bake.
- It's perfect for meal prep- This is the perfect meal to freeze and defrost when you are ready or meal prep ahead of a busy week for easy lunches or dinners!
- It's a Dietitian approved balanced meal- Whole grain pasta, lots of spinach and lean turkey sausage. This healthy sausage pasta bake has all the components of a nourishing meal!
Ingredients needed for sausage spinach pasta bake
Sausage- Any sausage will work! I personally love using mild Italian turkey sausages for a lean protein option. However pork or beef sausages will both work as well! Or even vegetarian sausage (see below for a veggie sausage pasta bake alternative).
Spinach- For convenience and affordability I use frozen spinach in this recipe! Feel free to use fresh spinach or even kale if that's what you have on hand!
Spices- Basil, Italian spice blend, and red pepper flakes are the only spices you need for this pasta bake!
Cheese- The best topping for a pasta bake in my opinion is cheese! I love using a marble or cheddar cheese in this but mozzarella would also be amazing!
Garlic- For all the flavour!
Pasta- Use any pasta you would like to! I LOVE fusilli because I love when the sauce and toppings get stuck int he little twirls, it makes every bite AMAZING. However elbow macaroni, penne or even bowties would all work! For some added fibre I like to use a whole grain pasta, however white pasta is also fine! Choose gluten free pasta if you are gluten free!
Tomato sauce- I always like to choose a lower sugar lower sodium pasta sauce option whenever I am making pasta. This sauce from Costco is always my family's go-to!
Balsamic vinegar- The secret ingredient! I don't know what it is but a touch of balsamic vinegar really elevates the flavours of this dish! If you don't have any on hand don't worry it will still taste amazing!
*Don't forget you can 100% get creative! Add in diced red pepper, grated zucchini or your favourite cheese to make this sausage and vegetable pasta bake your own!
How to make a healthy sausage pasta bake
The best part about this sausage spinach pasta bake is how EASY it is! Grab your ingredients, a large pan and a casserole dish and let's get started!
Step one: Prep your ingredients and cook your pasta by following the package instructions. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost it using the defrost function on your microwave and place it in a collander to drain! You can also preheat oven to 350 degrees F at this time. Remember when draining your pasta to reserve one cup of pasta water to use later!
Step two: Slice your turkey sausages lengthwise using a sharp knife and remove the meat from the casing. In your large pan over medium-high heat add your olive oil. Once hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in your sausage meat and spices and cook until your meat is no longer pink in colour.
Step three: Once your meat is cooked, add your tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar and pasta water, stir and bring that to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Add in your spinach and pasta and stir again.
Step four: Grab your casserole dish, add in half of the pasta, spread a layer of cheese, and repeat with the final half of the pasta and top with the remaining cheese. Cover with a layer of tinfoil and cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the tinfoil and cook for another 10 minutes uncovered. To make your sausage and vegetable pasta bake extra delicious I highly recommend broiling for an extra 5 minutes to get a nice layer of crispy cheese on top!
Serve with a salad or extra veggies for the perfect balanced meal!
Frequently asked questions
Can I use fresh spinach?
Yes! Fresh spinach or even kale both work great! I recommend using about 4 cups of fresh greens to equal the amount of spinach in one frozen spinach block.
Can I make this a veggie sausage pasta bake?
Yes you absolutely can! For a vegetarian option of this sausage spinach pasta bake I would recommend either cutting up the veggie sausages and just cooking them that way or using veggie "ground beef" alternatives. As vegetarian sausages have a slightly different texture, these options are a great way to get the same texture similar to the turkey sausage used in this recipe!
How can I meal prep pasta?
This pasta bake makes meal prep SO easy! I would recommend baking this in a glass rectangular container that has an airtight lid. Simply follow the instructions listed below, bake the pasta bake without the lid, and once it is cooled completely add your lid and pop it in the freezer.
Another option are these Souper cubes. I recently got these in the mail and I am OBSESSED with them. They are the perfect option to easily freeze meals in little pre portioned sections. That way you can easily just defrost one single portion when that pasta craving hits!
Leave it in the freezer for up to 2 months. For best serving results defrost the night before serving and reheat before eating!
How long do leftovers last?
Not long in my house! Hahaha just kidding, if you have any leftovers of this veggies sausage pasta bake I recommend storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More simple weeknight meals
If you loved this sausage and vegetable pasta bake you NEED to try my other weeknight dinner staples.
For your next easy dinner try:
- Zucchini and orzo pasta bake
- Easy weeknight curry
- Loaded sweet potato nachos
- Veggie ratatouille
- Stuffed sweet potatoes
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this sausage spinach pasta bake don't forget to snap a picture and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below how it turned out!
Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake
- 3 cups fusilli uncooked
- 1 pound turkey sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup pasta water
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 300g package of frozen spinach defrosted and drained *
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- fresh basil for topping
- Cook pasta according to package instructions (remember to save 1 cup of pasta water after draining) and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Slice sausages lengthwise, and remove the sausage meat from the casing. In a large pan over medium-high heat add olive oil. Once oil is hot add garlic cook until fragrant. Add spices and sausage meat and cook until meat is no longer pink in colour, stirring frequently.
- Once your meat is cooked, add sauce, pasta water and balsamic vinegar. Stir. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and pasta and stir.
- In a casserole dish layer half of the pasta with half of the cheese and repeat. Cover dish with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the tinfoil and bake for another 10 minutes. For a golden brown cheesy topper, broil at 500°F for 5 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with basil and serve.