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One-pot smoked sausage and kale pasta is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that combines smoky sausage, pasta, and fresh kale in a single pot. It’s a convenient and hearty meal that can be prepared with minimal effort and time. In fact, 30 minutes or less this can be yours!
This recipe includes a generous amount of kale (don’t worry, it cooks way down), smoked sausage, and pasta. I like whole wheat penne but you can use whatever pasta your family enjoys. This recipe is all about making your life easier while serving a meal your family will enjoy.
The pasta and kale cook together in chicken broth and a bit of water, just until the pasta is done. You finish the sauce with a splash of heavy cream and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (we measure this with our hearts).
👪A meal for those really busy nights
The first time I made this meal, my kiddos were 5, 3, and 1. Life felt very busy and overwhelming. Cooking any type of complicated meal for my family did not feel feasible at the time.
As much as I loved being in the kitchen, it was really hard to find time to dedicate to cooking. I would have much-rathered spent that time around the dinner table with my family.
That’s why I really dug into the one-pot pasta concept. I needed something hearty and delicious that would check all of the food group boxes. (Much like our FAVORITE soup, Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana) This recipe does all of that! It’s your ticket to a yummy and filling meal on a busy night.
This recipe saved me when my kids were little. Fast forward five years, and it’s still saving me. I switched out the busyness of having a toddler, preschooler, and kindergartner for two slightly-older kids in little league with 4-5 nights a week spent out on the fields.
I still have a toddler and a kindergartner, too. That part just feels less overwhelming these days. If you’re in a similar boat (or just want to try one-pot pasta), this recipe is for you! I’ve included tips on ingredient swaps and FAQs on cooking one-pot pasta below along with the full, printable recipe. Enjoy!
⭐⭐Why you’ll love this recipe
This basic one-pot pasta recipe includes easy shortcuts to save you time! It’s easy to make, only uses a handful of ingredients, and makes great leftovers. Plus, it takes 30 minutes or less to make!
To make this one-pot smoked sausage and kale pasta, you will need the following ingredients:
- Smoked Sausage
- Chopped Kale: Choose the prechopped and washed kale, if possible. This will save you at least 5 minutes!
- Whole Wheat Penne Pasta: This pasta not only adds a bit more fiber to your dinner, but it also adds a slightly different texture that pairs really well with the kale.
- Chicken Broth
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: Choosing grated Parmesan also saves time in the kitchen. Skip the box grater for a night. You will thank me later!
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Do not skip this! Do not swap it for milk! Heavy cream is essential to making the sauce – and the sauce makes the dish!
Scroll to the bottom for the complete list of ingredient measurements and printable recipe card.
📖 Ingredient Swaps
Different Types of Pasta: If switching out the pasta, use the cooking time listed on the package as your guideline for cooking the pasta. Any pasta may be used (gluten-free, protein, etc.), however, the tube-shaped pasta works best.
Chicken Broth: If you don’t have chicken broth on hand, equal parts water mixed with chicken bullion may be substituted. You can also use only water, however, there will be less flavor. If using water only, increase the salt to 1 teaspoon.
👩🏻🍳Expert Cooking Tips
The trick to delicious one-pot pasta is not walking away while it’s cooking. Yes, this part is a bit labor-intensive. Luckily, it cooks quickly!
When adding everything to the pot, you want the pasta just barely covered with liquid. Some pieces of pasta will be poking out – that’s what you want!
Simply stir, stir, stir. The pasta and other ingredients will cook evenly and your liquid will absorb and evaporate. Finish it with cream and parmesan cheese for the perfect Alfredo-like sauce!
The method of cooking reminds me of making risotto. If you like risotto, you may want to try my recipe for instant pot risotto.
Typically, a one-pot meal refers to a meal that can be prepared in one pot. It ensures minimal clean-up and generally takes 30 minutes or less to make. One-pot meals usually include everything you need in one dish, so side dishes are not needed.
Yes, you can switch out the kale for spinach and cook it the same way. You could also use broccoli and add it in at the same time as the pasta. However, you may need to increase your liquid.
The trick to making one-pot pasta is to not add too much water or broth. You want the liquid to just barely cover the pasta. Stirring constantly ensures everything cooks evenly. The liquid will evaporate as it cooks and will eventually turn into your sauce.
On the day I took these photos, I used chicken smoked sausage from Trader Joe’s. We also regularly use pork smoked sausage, this is just what I had that day. The important part is to select smoked sausages as they are fully cooked. I invite you to choose the sausage you enjoy most.
Whole wheat pasta is what I tend to buy for my family. However, you can use whatever pasta your family likes. I do recommend tube-shaped or corkscrew-shaped pasta for this recipe.
🥗Other Easy Dinner Recipes to Consider…
If you tried this One Pot Smoked Sausage and Kale Pasta Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
One Pot Smoked Sausage and Kale Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups kale leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 24 ounce smoked sausage links sliced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1-2 cup water
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add kale and salt.
- Saute kale until it begins to shrink up, 2-3 minutes.
- Mix in smoked sausage, chicken broth, and penne pasta. Add water to the pot until the pasta is just barely covered. Bring to a boil.
- Stir constantly and cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Mix in heavy whipping cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Serve and enjoy.