Sausage & Pepper Pasta

$10.75 recipe / $1.34 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.80 from 35 votes
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I caught a few minutes of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn the other night and was reminded of how much I love stories like that and The Grapes of Wrath. They really make me thankful for every little thing I have and remind me that even if I feel like times are hard, I really have it pretty damn good.

Every now and then I get an email or comment that suggests my sparing use of meat is unrealistic or unreasonable. It’s true, I often treat meat more like a garnish than the main star of the meal, but stretching a small amount of meat out over many servings is not only realistic, but it’s a reality for many people around the world (past, present, and future). We’ve all become used to half pound burgers, but for cost and health reasons, I prefer to use just a little and make it go a long way. That’s my culinary style.

This recipe is a good example of that technique. I used only half of a 19oz. package (2.5 links) of sausage for this entire pot of pasta. When sliced thin, the sausage medallions distribue well into the dish and every bowl will have at least a few pieces. Cutting back on the meat helped offset the cost of the peppers, and bulking out the dish with pasta helped keep the overall cost low and my belly full. 

Want to go heavy on sausage and light on the peppers? By all means, do. In this case the cost would have been about the same (since the peppers were a bit pricey), but I happened to prefer the peppers.

The flavor of this pasta is sweet, a little spicy, and a lot of yum. Dishes like this also freeze wonderfully, so don’t be afraid to make a big batch. You’ll be glad to have single serving portions tucked away in the freezer for those days that you don’t want to cook!

Sausage & Pepper Pasta

A plate of Sausage & Pepper Pasta with fork on the side

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Sausage & Pepper Pasta

4.80 from 35 votes
This rich and flavorful Sausage & Pepper Pasta will fill you up, feed a crowd, and save you a dollar. 
Servings 8
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes


  • 10 oz. Italian sausage (hot, sweet, or mild) ($1.99)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.02)
  • 2 green bell peppers ($1.50)
  • 1 red bell pepper ($1.50)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper ($1.50)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.85)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 28oz. can petite diced tomatoes ($1.69)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried basil ($0.07)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano ($0.07)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.03)
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste ($0.05)
  • 3/4 lb. pasta (rigatoni or your favorite shape) ($1.32)


  • Add the vegetable oil and sausage links (unsliced) to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and firm enough to slice. It doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point.
  • While the sausage is cooking, thinly slice the bell peppers and onions, and mince the garlic. Once the sausage is browned, remove it from the pot and add the peppers, onions, and garlic. Let them cook while you slice the sausage into thin medallions.
  • After the peppers and onions have softened, return the sliced sausage to the pot along with the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and continue to cook over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta for about 7 minutes, or just until tender, but still firm. Slightly undercook the pasta as it will continue to cook and soak up liquid once added to the pot with the sausage and peppers.
  • Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain it in a colander and then add it to the pot with the sausage and peppers. Stir to combine, place a lid on top, and allow the pasta to cook in the pepper sauce for about 5 more minutes, or until it has absorbed most of the liquid in the pot. Add about a half teaspoon of salt, taste, and add more if needed.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


For a thicker sauce, use your favorite marinara sauce in place of diced tomatoes. You’ll need about three cups.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 251.44kcalCarbohydrates: 43.19gProtein: 14.16gFat: 12.51gSodium: 678.65mgFiber: 4.94g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Top view of Sausage & Pepper Pasta in skillet

Step by Step Photos

Peppers and Onions

Green bell peppers are usually much less expensive than other colored peppers, so I try to use more of them and less of the others. You can also jazz this up by using an Anaheim pepper (slightly spicy) in place of one of the bell peppers.

Package of Italian Sausage

You can use any type of Italian sausage you like. I used sweet, but I would have also loved hot. If using hot, you may want to skip the crushed red pepper later. I only used half of this package and froze the rest.

Cooking Sausage in pot

Cook the sausage in a large pot with a little vegetable oil until it is browned and firm enough to slice. It doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point because it will be cooked more later. While the sausage is cooking, thinly slice the bell peppers and onion, and mince the garlic.

Cooked sausage taken out of pot and sliced with knife

Once the sausage is nicely browned, remove it from the pot. Thinly slice the sausage. The thinner it is sliced, the greater number of medallions, and the more pieces you’ll have in every bowl.

Cooking sliced peppers and onions in pot

After removing the sausage from the pot, add the sliced bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Let those cook (stir occasionally) while you’re slicing the sausage.

Adding sliced cooked sausage back to pot with onions and peppers

Return the sausage to the pot. Stir it in and continue to let everything cook. You can begin to cook the pasta in a separate pot at this point too… Make sure to not over cook the pasta, as you’ll want it to absorb some of the liquid after it is added in with the sausage and peppers.

Tomatoes and herbs added to pot with other ingredients

Now add the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Stir everything to combine and keep cookin’. (you can use marinara sauce in place of the diced tomatoes if you want a thicker, richer sauce).

Cooked peppers and onions

Let that cook while the pasta is boiling, so that some of the liquid evaporates away (see how it’s kinda soupy at first?).

cooked pasta added to pot with all other ingredients

Finally, once the pasta is mostly cooked, drain it and add it to the pot with the sausage and peppers. Stir it to combine with the sauce, place a lid on top, and let it cook for 5-7 minutes more, so that the pasta can absorb some of the liquid and flavor. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, taste, and add more if needed.

top view of a plate of Sausage & Pepper Pasta with fork on the side

Now it’s ready to serve! It’s especially good with a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese. YUM!

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  1. Love this dish! I use kitchen shears instead of a knife to slice the sausages, they usually give me cleaner cut slices in less time when compared to knife cut slices.

  2. This is one of my go-to meals. Even my kids love it. Tonight I added artichokes and it was delicious as ever.

  3. Fantastic recipe, I used Beyond sausage to make it vegan. I love how easy it was to make and that it made such a large amount. Perfect for leftovers the next day.

  4. I love your recipes so much, I’ve been learning how to cook over the last two and a half months by trying them out. This one was my best make yet and my favourite so far (although the tofu stirfry is a close second)! I thought I’d comment and share my process in case it helps anyone.

    I doubled the sausage to use the whole package I bought and added a package of button mushrooms I had, so I added extra stewed tomatoes to even it out and make it saucier, as some of my one pot attempts have been really dry. I cooked the whole thing in an Ikea pot instead of a cast iron, and it went really well.

    For anyone else new to cooking, I added the mushrooms before the peppers and onion. I loved how saucy it was with the extra toamtoes. To add to the flavour, I heavily seasoned with sea salt and chili pepper flakes (I didn’t have crushed red pepper). One of the two tins of stewed tomatoes I used wasn’t petite cut but it just made the whole thing more stewy, which I really liked.

    I highly recommend this one :)

  5. Really good an easy to make. From start to finish 25 minutes total. I added some brown sugar an balsamic vinegar. It was awesome. 

  6. Love this! We only eat meat once or twice a week. I’ve made this with Aldi-brand Meatless Italian sausage . . .so good! Even served it to carnivores and they had no idea this wasn’t a ‘standard’ sausage/peppers dish.

  7. Very nice ,happy ta see ya did not use canola oil , It a GMO product ,never heard of a canola ,nut berry, tree ,it is a goo weed natural use lube ball bearings , I like olive oil, and grew the peppers From Italy and turkey ,,Great stuff keep up the good work ,Thank You

  8. We LOVE this recipe! A pretty quick, easy, super tasty meal any day of the week! For a little healthier twist, we sometimes substitute hot chicken sausage instead of regular sausage and pair it with protein pasta in place regular white pasta. Even the leftovers are delicious after its been sitting overnight in the “sauce” and all the flavors really blend together!! YUM!

  9. Can you cook this recipe today and just put in refrigerator (not freezer) for serving dinner tomorrow?

  10. I added a tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of Sirracha for some extra sweet heat and a splash of beer. Super flavorful! Thank you!