Sausage and Kale Skillet

$6.02 recipe / $1.51 serving

Hooray for quick skillet dinners! This one is so fantastically easy that it kind of feels like cheating. Between the Italian sausage and marinara sauce, the dish has all of the seasoning built in, so you don’t even have to measure out any extra herbs or spices. You’re pretty much just heating it all together and then it’s ready to eat!

You can bulk this recipe out further and probably make about 6 decent sized servings by stirring in some cooked pasta (I’d use 1/2 lb. dry), or by spooning this mixture over a bed of rice. It’s a pretty filling mix of ingredients, so I just skipped both and ate it plain. Not a fan of chickpeas? White beans would probably be pretty awesome in this, too.

Want to try a vegetarian version? I think sautéed eggplant or mushrooms would be a great replacement for the sausage, but you’ll want to add a teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning blend to make up for the lost spices. You’ll also need a little olive oil to sauté them in. I really can’t wait to try it with eggplant!

Sausage & Kale Skillet

Kale & Sausage Skillet

4.9 from 18 reviews
Sausage and Kale Skillet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.02
Cost Per Serving: $1.51
Serves: 4
  • ½ (19 oz.) package Italian Sausage $2.25
  • 1 bunch kale $0.99
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas $1.00
  • 1 cup marinara sauce $0.88
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.90 (sale!)
  1. Squeeze the sausage from the casings into a large skillet (freeze the remaining links for later use). Cook the sausage over medium heat until fully brown. Break the sausage up into pieces as it cooks. It's okay if it sticks to the bottom of the skillet a little as it cooks.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, remove the woody stems from the kale, then slice it crosswise into thin strips. Rinse the kale well, then add it to the skillet. Stir it into the sausage and continue to cook until it is fully wilted (this happens within a few minutes).
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to the skillet and stir to combine. Pour the marinara sauce over the skillet, then top with the shredded cheese. Place a lid on the skillet and let it simmer until the cheese is melted (about 5-10 minutes).


Kale & Sausage Skillet

Step by Step Photos


This is all you need for this super quick skillet! I used only half of the sausage (the rest went in the freezer), half of the cheese, and about half of the jar of marinara. I used Lacinato kale (or dinosaur kale) because that’s what I had on hand. You can definitely use curly kale in its place with no modifications.

Brown Sausage

Squeeze half of the sausage into a large skillet and cook it over medium heat until fully browned. I didn’t add any extra oil to the skillet because sausage has quite a bit on its own. It’s okay if some of it sticks to the bottom of the skillet, it will dissolve off later.

Remove Stems

For most kale, the stem is super tough and woody, so you’ll want to remove them (especially for curly kale). Just take a sharp knife and run it along the stem to cut it out. Then, stack the leaves and cut across into thin strips.

Chop Kale

This particular bunch of kale had really soft stems, so I didn’t even bother removing them. Stack the leaves and cut across into strips. This will be slightly more difficult with curly kale because it’s so fluffy, but you can still do it. It’s easiest if you cut each leave into two long pieces when removing the stem. After chopping the kale, make sure to rinse it really, really well.

Wilt Kale

After the sausage has browned, stir in the kale. Continue to cook and stir until the kale has wilted. This happens pretty fast. It’s okay if the kale is still a little wet from rinsing. The water will turn into steam and help it wilt, plus it will help dissolve the browned bits of sausage off the bottom of the skillet.


Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add them to the skillet.


Pour the marinara over top… (you can stir it in, if you want).

Melt Cheese

Lastly, sprinkle the shredded cheese over top, cover it with a lid, and let it simmer until the cheese has melted.

Kale & Sausage Skillet

And now it’s ready to eat! It may not be the prettiest dish in the world, but OMG is it ever flavorful and filling!


  1. Sarah says:

    Anyone else who’s trying to do the low-carb thing: this tastes awesome on spaghetti squash. Definitely recommend!

  2. Sarah says:

    Loved this recipe. It was delicious and so easy. I’ve made this several times, and my refused to eat it because he HATES chickpeas. Last night I made this and used white beans, and I think it was even more delicious. I also had a bag of mixed greens (I think it was spinach, kale, and chard) and it worked fabulously in this.

  3. Eric T says:

    Time was running short tonight, so threw this together for my folks. I was a little worried as to how something so quick and simple would come out, but my mother was happy, so I’m happy.

    Only change is I used chicken sausage (sweet Italian), so browning it didn’t yield much fat for cooking down the kale, so I poured in a tablespoon or so of olive oil.

    With extra marinara, I could see this going great on pasta.

  4. Betsy says:

    I have a bunch of frozen kale. How much of the frozen kale would you use to substitute for fresh kale? Should I thaw and squeeze the water out or just dump it in as is?

    Love your recipes!

  5. Kelly-Ann Halbert says:

    This was delish! To make it go even further, I added half a package of $.99 spaghetti to it, and it was amazing! Four HUGE portions with leftovers!

  6. Gorgeous! Swapped kale for spinach, so tasty!

  7. Kelsey says:

    I’ve made this recipe twice in the past week and LOVE it. So much flavor and so easy to make. I used hot Italian sausage, and it gave it a nice extra kick. Thanks for posting this!

  8. Holly says:

    Just made this recipe for the first time tonight! Sooo easy and way more satisfying than the boring pasta + canned sauce combo I usually do. I thought I wasn’t going to like the kale, but cooking it in the sausage gave it a lot of flavor and made it painless to get some vegetables in. :) I served mine over cooked pasta to bulk it up a bit.

    Just a note for anyone who tends to eat larger portions, I found this to be more of a 3 serving recipe than 4 (even with the pasta).

  9. Heidi says:

    This was a great! I had a zucchini that was going to go bad so I sliced it and cooked it with the sausage. It was a fantastic addition! Thanks!

  10. Heather says:

    This recipe was meant to be! I found chickpeas for 50c per can after! I can’t believe how easy it was. I used turnip greens instead of kale, from frozen too, and it was perfect. This recipe isn’t too fussy but there’s a lot of flavor! My boyfriend was impressed too! Made 4 big portions! Yum!!

  11. Cara says:

    Hi Beth! I don’t have chick peas. Do think blackeye peas could be substituted instead? The kale,sausage, and mushrooms taste wonderful so far. We may not add the marinara sauce and cheese.

  12. Natalie says:

    This recipe is great! I made it with turkey Italian sausage and it was fantastic! Thank you for the quick healthy recipe!

  13. Wesley says:

    I made a manly version with:

    2lbs of sausage
    1 can chick peas
    1 can white beans
    3 cups sauce
    1lb shells

    Never paired up Italian sausage and kale, and it is amazing. Ended up with a full-sized pot to eat on all week. I work in the Permian Basin on long hours, so these type of simple, economic, and healthy skillet meals are life savers. Thanks Beth!

  14. Julia says:

    Hi Beth! What kind of herb is that in the finished picture?

  15. Tracy P says:

    My husband loves this and it has now been added to our rotation. Thanks :)

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