If you have trouble eating enough vegetables, this pasta bake is here to save the day. It’s packed to the brim with nutrient-rich veggies, Italian chicken sausage, and creamy goodness. Everything comes together in one pan (other than cooking pasta) and one serving has 20 grams of protein with just 265 calories!
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake Recipe Walkthrough
You’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, but the walkthrough below will cover ingredient notes and tips worth reading before diving in.
Step 1: Sauté Mushrooms, Zucchini, and Red Bell Pepper for 5 Minutes
Don’t be afraid to let the veggies develop some color here. Add them to the hot olive oil, toss/stir, and let them hang out for most of the 5 minutes.
That said, you shouldn’t need to deglaze the pan or have any burning here. If you smell charring, stir and consider reducing the heat a smidge.
Ingredient notes for step 1: Feel free to use other types of mushrooms. To save prep time, you can probably find all three of the veggies here pre-sliced. You can also omit any of the veggies in this recipe. Just know the serving sizes and nutrition info will be affected.
Step 2: Add Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes, and Chicken Sausages and Sauté Another 5 Minutes
If you have some crispy bits stuck to the bottom of your pan at this point, you can use a bit of red wine vinegar (or any liquid) to deglaze the pan before continuing.
Give everything a stir and let it hang out again. The cherry tomatoes should begin to wrinkle around the 5-minute mark. You want them to stay mostly whole so avoid completely mashing them with your spatula.
Ingredient notes for step 2: I used two different types of chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s (garlic herb and spicy Italian). Though you could use their sweet Italian to reduce the spice or any other type of fully cooked sausage in your pasta bake. Check out my 5-ingredient chicken sausage pasta for another recipe to make with leftover sausage. For the cherry tomatoes, I used a medley, but you could probably do any cherry or grape tomato option.
Step 3: Add a Marinara, Light Alfredo Sauce, and Pasta of Your Choice
Turn off the heat before adding the sauces. If you need to deglaze again, a little marinara should do the trick. Give everything another stir before adding cooked pasta.
Keep the pan over the burner after turning it off. You want to keep everything warm in case you need to wait on your pasta to finish cooking.
Stir the pasta in and you’re ready to top with cheese and bake. Almost done!
Ingredient notes for step 3: If you’ve tried my Cajun Sausage Pasta Bake, you’ll be familiar with the light alfredo and marinara combo. There are dairy-free alfredo options out there, but you could also omit and use more marinara in its place. Another alfredo replacement might be a low fat ricotta like I used in my Beef Cannelloni recipe. For the pasta, you could use a lower carb option like the Banza chickpea shells I used for my Taco Pasta Bake.
Step 4: Top with Shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan Reggiano and Bake for 15-20 Minutes
Ingredient notes for step 4: Use freshly grated cheese if possible. Regular parmesan is a fine substitute for the parmesan reggiano, but the later packs a bit more flavor in the small amount used (in my opinion). Feel free to use other pasta-friendly cheese options. And in case you’re wondering, cutting the mozzarella in half to save some calories and fat should work fine.
If you have questions about making this Italian sausage and veggie pasta bake, you can leave a comment below or join my Facebook group with more than 14k healthy home cooks happy to help!
- 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
- 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large (175g) Red Bell Pepper, sliced
- 1 large (300g) Zucchini, cubed or sliced
- 8 oz Cherry Tomatoes
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 4 Chicken Sausage Links, sliced*
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
For the Pasta Bake
- 8 oz Barilla Protein+ Farfalle
- 1/2 C (125g) Marinara
- 1/2 C (125g) Light Alfredo Sauce
- 3/4 C (84g) Shredded Mozzarella
- 1/4 C (28g) Shredded Parmesan Reggiano
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
- Preheat an oven to 400F and begin bringing salted water up to a boil for cooking the pasta. Cook the pasta for 6 minutes once the water comes to a boil.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms, zucchini, and red bell pepper to the skillet. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken sausage, garlic, and cherry tomatoes to the skillet. Stir and sauté another 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the marinara, light alfredo sauce, and cooked pasta. Stir everything together and top with the mozzarella, parmesan, and crushed red pepper.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
*I used 2 Spicy Italian and 2 Garlic Herb chicken sausages from Trader Joe's.
Each serving has 7 WW SmartPoints (blue plan).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 2 C (215g)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 20g