Penne Pasta with Kale & Vegan Italian Sausage

PREP TIME15 mins
COOK TIME15 mins
COURSEMain Course


  • skillet
  • large pot
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • microplane


  • 8 oz dry, whole wheat penne pasta (or 225g)
  • 5 to 6 stalks of kale (About 5oz, 125g, or 3 packed cups of prewashed kale)
  • 1 cup vegan Italian sausage crumbles
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper


  • Prep the sausage crumbles following the instructions linked above. (If using store-bought, you can skip this step).
  • While the sausage crumbles are cooking, begin to prep the vegetables. Chop the onion and bell pepper. Peel the garlic. Remove the kale from the stalk, wash, and tear into pieces (see more detailed instructions in the blog post above).
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water starts to boil, add the penne, stir, and cook until al dente, about 7 to 9 minutes (see package instructions for exact cooking time). Be sure to set aside two cups of the starchy pasta water.
  • When the sausage crumbles are cooked through, remove them from the skillet and set aside.
  • Heat a clean nonstick skillet over medium. Add the onions and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, until they begin to look translucent.
  • Add the diced bell pepper to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook another 3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Use a Microplane or garlic press to grate the garlic. Add to the peppers and onions and stir. Cook about 1 minute.
  • Add the kale and 1 cup of the starchy pasta water to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the kale starts to wilt (2 to 3 minutes).
  • Add the vegan sausage crumbles to the skillet and stir to combine.
  • Finally, add the drained penne pasta and stir to combine. Taste to adjust seasonings. If the pasta seems too dry, add a little more of the reserved pasta water. Serve and enjoy right away!


  • If you forget to set aside the pasta water, just use regular water.
  • For best flavor, be sure to season the veggies each time you add something new to the skillet. For a low sodium dish, you can substitute a salt-free seasoning.
  • If you use a nonstick skillet, this recipe does not require oil (unless you want to use it). If the vegetables start to stick just add a few tablespoons of starchy pasta water to deglaze the skillet. Letting the vegetables stick a little at the beginning will actually help them caramelize so that when you add the pasta water a light sauce forms. Just be mindful of the heat so that the vegetables don’t burn.