SNAP Challenge: Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens

Written by Beth - Budget Bytes

This Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens one of my favorite “sweep the kitchen” recipes. It’s a no brainer pasta and sauce dish with a little Italian sausage and whatever frozen greens I happen to have on hand (I “sweep the kitchen” and use the leftovers). I sprinkled a little feta over top of the pasta for an extra kick and that was all I needed to make a super tasty and filling dish that kept me running all week. I like simple!

A large pot full of Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens with feta sprinkled over top and a wood spoon

What Greens Can I Use?

I actually planned to make this Penne Pasta with Sausage and just broccoli, but then realized that I had far less broccoli left over from week one of the SNAP challenge than I thought, so I added in a little of my leftover spinach as well. This recipe would also be really good with some sautéed zucchini if you don’t have spinach or broccoli, or happen to have a glut of zucchini from your garden. It’s really hard to go wrong with pasta and sauce, am I right?

Sausage is Key

The Italian sausage really added a lot of flavor to the pasta as well. Italian sausage is seasoned with a ton of herbs and spices, and as the pasta sits in the refrigerator, all of those glorious herbs infuse out into the entire dish. I used hot Italian sausage, but you could also use sweet or mild Italian sausage instead.

Can I Make it Vegetarian?

As mentioned, the Italian sausage adds a LOT of flavor to this dish, so if you do want to make it vegetarian I suggest using a vegetarian Italian sausage substitute, or adding a lot of extra Italian seasoning to make up for the seasoning that is in the sausage.

Is This Penne Freezer Friendly?

Yes indeed! That’s one of the best things about this pasta dish. If it’s more than what you’ll be able to consume in 4-5 days, go ahead and freeze half the batch for later. I suggest dividing the pot into single portions just after cooking, then once all the portions are cooled, transfer half to the freezer. That way you can quickly grab and reheat one at a time (microwave) whenever needed.

So here it is… The SNAP Challenge week three main menu item, Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens!

A plate full of Penne Pasta with sausage and greens, a black fork in the center

This super easy and satisfying, "sweep the kitchen" Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens is an entire meal in one pot. Cook once, eat all week.
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4.64 from 25 votes

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens

This super easy and satisfying, "sweep the kitchen" Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens is an entire meal in one pot. Cook once, eat all week.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 7 1.5 cups each


  • 12 oz. penne pasta ($1.49)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 3 links Italian sausage (about 12 oz.) ($2.99)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.42)
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes ($1.39)
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste ($0.56)
  • 1 tsp dried basil ($0.10)
  • 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.02)
  • 1/4 lb. frozen broccoli ($0.47)
  • 1/4 lb. frozen spinach ($0.47)
  • 2 oz. feta ($0.87)


  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the sausage links to a large pot along with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the sausage over medium heat for about five minutes, or until they are slightly browned and firm enough to slice.
  • While the sausage is cooking, mince the garlic and dice the onion. Remove the sausage from the pot and add the onion and garlic in its place. Sauté the onion and garlic in the pot for 2-3 minutes, allowing the moisture to dissolve the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Meanwhile, slice the sausage into medallions. Once the onions are soft and transparent, add the sliced sausage back to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the sausage is cooked through.
  • Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, pepper, and brown sugar to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste is evenly combined with the tomato sauce.
  • Add the frozen broccoli and spinach to the pot, stir to combine, and allow to heat through, stirring occasionally. By this time the pasta should be fully cooked and drained. Add the drained pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Crumble the feta into the pot, stir to combine, then serve.


*I used whole wheat pasta that came in an unusual size package (13 oz.), but this recipe is flexible, so if you have a one pound package of pasta, you can estimate 3/4 of the package for this recipe.
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Serving: 1.5 CupsCalories: 426.33 kcalCarbohydrates: 52 gProtein: 18.91 gFat: 16.57 gSodium: 840.57 mgFiber: 6.2 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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 How to Make Penne Pasta with Sausage – Step by Step Photos

Browned Sausage in pot

Begin by cooking 12oz. penne pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, begin the sausage and sauce. Brown 3 links, or about 12 oz. Italian sausage in a pot with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. You only need to cook them for about five minutes, or until they’re firm enough to slice. They will cook more later. If your sausage is not in links, simply brown it and break it up into pieces as you go. 

Chopped Onion and Garlic

While the sausage is browning, dice one onion and mince two cloves of garlic.

Sliced Sausage on a cutting board

Remove the sausage to a cutting board, and add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pot in its place. Sauté the onion and garlic while you slice the sausage into medallions.

Add Sausage Back to Pot

The moisture from the onion will dissolve the delicious browned bits off the bottom of the pot as they sauté. Add the sliced sausage back to the pot, and continue to sauté until the sausage medallions are cooked through (about 5 more minutes).

Tomato Sauce and Herbs

Next, add a 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, a 6oz. can of tomato paste, 1 tsp dried basil, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir until these ingredients are combined and allow them to continue to heat through, stirring often. At this point the pasta is probably finished boiling as well, so you can drain it in a colander until you’re ready to add it to the pot.

Frozen Broccoli and Spinach

Once the sauce is heated through, add 1/4 lb. frozen broccoli florets and 1/4 lb. frozen spinach to the pot. This part is flexible too, so you can just estimate 1/4 of a one pound bag of each of the frozen vegetables. Stir and allow the sauce and vegetables to heat through again. 

Add Cooked Pasta

Once the vegetables have heated through, add the cooked and drained pasta, and stir to combine.

Add Crumbled Feta

Finally, add 2 oz. crumbled feta, then stir to combine again.

Finished pot of Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens

And there you have it! One big ol’ pot of inexpensive deliciousness! Or you can call it Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens. ;)

A white plate full of Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens, and a black fork.

Every time I’ve eaten this this week, I’ve wanted a second helping. Not because I’m still hungry, but because it was so tasty and so delicious! The Italian sausage really makes the dish.