SNAP Challenge: Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens

$9.23 recipe / $1.32 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.64 from 25 votes
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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
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Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens

4.64 from 25 votes
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.
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.
Servings 7 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 50 minutes


  • 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.

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*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.


Serving: 1.5CupsCalories: 426.33kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 18.91gFat: 16.57gSodium: 840.57mgFiber: 6.2g
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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.

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  1. I love this recipe! I bought the swank spiral-bound version of your cookbook and love that too. I subbed chopped fresh kale for the veg and some fancy Peppercorn Dry Jack Goat Cheese for feta—-mmmm. Wish I could upload a picture

  2. This recipe looks great! If I wanted to add fresh zucchini instead of broccoli, would you recommend I add it earlier to cook it a little bit (maybe putting it in with the onions and garlic or slightly after) or should I add it at the same time as the frozen spinach?

    1. I guess it depends on how cooked your like your zucchini. I personally don’t like it when it gets super cooked down, so I’d probably add it a little bit later and just have it simmer in the sauce for a few minutes before adding the cooked pasta.

  3. Delicious and easy to make. My daughter made a breakfast casserole that called for Italian sausage and we had half a package to use up. We had frozen spinach. Needed the crushed tomatoes and the frozen broccoli. Easy to throw together on a weeknight, esp since we didn’t need to cook the meat. A big hit with three adults. My daughter and I liked the consistency of the sauce as is. I ended up forgetting to put in the brown sugar. We thought it was still fine. 

  4. The dishes simplicity is it’s asset. I substituted sliced zucchini with Broccoli having some fresh on hand. I also added water at times during the cooking as to not have the dish overly thick. In the future, I intend on at least blanching the zucchini to cut the cooking time. Could not resist adding just a touch of hot sauce at the end of cooking. The versatility of the recipe is wonderful.

  5. Pretty tasty as written the first time I made it, but we don’t usually eat a lot of sodium, fat, or white pasta.  The next time I made this, I used whole wheat med. size shells (to capture the sauce & the meat), & reduced sodium tomato products.  I also used Gr. Turkey Breast, to which I added various dried herbs, in order for it to taste like Italian Sausage (I found the recipe on the Internet, & it’s terrific!).  Just sayin’…….

  6. Just made this, and I really like it! I just hope my partner will feel the same way! Lol! 

  7. I made this tonight as i had two Italian sausages to use in fridge. I cooked them up and then added everything else in the pan and had gluten free pasta. it came out great! I am going to make this again soon!

  8. Made this yesterday and it came out great!! Very saucy tasty and filling. I had leftover frozen green beans so I threw those in instead of broccoli along with the spinach. It gave me enough leftovers to last almost the whole week, which I do appreciate c:

  9. I made this just now for the first time with some modifications – great recipe! We don’t have Italian sausage readily available, so I grabbed some inexpensive and spicy chorizo from Lidl instead. There are also some quite good seasoned packets of crushed tomatoes here in stores, so I used one with a bit of chili. I also used fresh spinach and broccoli. The sauce looked thickish, so I loosened with some hot broth to my liking to help with the coating.. 

    This is a great autumn/winter dish, hearty and warm. The combo of spiciness and fresh vegetables works nicely! I think any decent cooking sausage would work. 

    Best of all, I can freeze the rest and have food for three days during the upcoming week. Definitely making this again!

  10. I just made this for dinner and it is delicious! The sauce was way too think though (not sure what I did wrong!) so I ended up adding a few cups of beef broth to loosen it up and then let it simmer down for 20 mins. It was perfect consistency.

  11. I love all of your recipes. I grabbed poultry sausage instead, and added a bit more olive oil (I forgot I got that version and was wondering why it didn’t have that typical sausage feel while cooking). It’s amazing, just like all of your recipes. I’m making the salsa verde chicken tomorrow and made the banana flax muffins earlier, for quick breakfasts. Love it!

    Thank you! 

  12. This looks amazing! Going to Tesco to get some sausages, then I’ll get started on this bag boy!