This Tuscan Kale Pasta has sausage, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes - all tossed in a light lemon cream sauce. This hearty, yet lighter dish takes just 30 minutes to prep and cook. Tuscan kale pasta is an ideal go-to for quick weeknight dinners.
Why you'll love this dish
Tuscan kale pasta is the kind of dish I want on a cold night when I'm looking for a quick and hearty dinner. There is so much flavor going on in this pasta. It's very satisfying without feeling heavy.
I consider this a relatively healthy dish. Anytime I can pack kale into a dish, all that added nutrition counts for something, right? And chicken sausage provides a rich, meaty taste without the heaviness of pork sausage.
Along with the sausage, the pasta adds substance. The kale provides a dose of greens, and the sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, garlic, and lemon juice round out the flavors. This pasta is not swimming in a heavy sauce. The sauce is light, slightly creamy, with a hint of lemon. There's just enough of it to lightly coat the ingredients.
- sausage - Chicken sausage keeps the dish lighter, but any variety of sausage will do. I used pre-cooked sausage which I sliced and sauteed until brown on both sides. If using uncooked sausage, allow extra time for the sausage to cook through completely. Sliced leftover chicken can be substituted for sausage if preferred.
- kale - I like adding kale to pasta dishes because it's hearty and stands up well. Spinach can also be used.
- pasta - Any shape of larger cut pasta can be used in this dish. I like using a shape that has ridges or curves to catch the sauce and other ingredients.
How to buy, store, and prep kale
Kale is a dark, leafy green that is part of the cabbage family. It is known for its high nutritional value, full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. It can be eaten raw in salads and smoothies or cooked in soups and pasta dishes.
- Buying - Look for kale with dark, firm leaves and stems that are strong and moist. Kale can be found in the refrigerated produce section of your supermarket.
- Storing - Wash the kale after purchasing. Shake off the excess water and wrap in paper towels. Store in a zipper-top bag, pressing out the excess air before sealing. Store in the produce drawer of your refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Prepping - Kale stems are tough and fibrous. While they are edible when cooked, I prefer to remove the stems before adding kale to recipes. To easily remove the stems, fold the kale leaf in half and run your knife along the stem, separating it from the leaves. Discard the stems and chop the leaves.
Tips for making
It only takes 30 minutes to prep and cook this Tuscan kale pasta, which makes it a perfect go-to for weeknight meals.
- Prep all of the ingredients before you start cooking. The dish comes together pretty quickly, so it's very helpful to have the ingredients chopped, sliced, measured, and ready to add to the dish.
- Use a large skillet with high sides, helpful for tossing the ingredients together.
- Reserve some pasta water before draining. Pasta water is very starchy and it helps the sauce come together.
- If you need this dish to be vegetarian, omit the sausage and use vegetable broth.
- This dish reheats very well in the microwave. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
If you loved this Tuscan kale pasta, try other kale recipes
- Chicken with Kale and Artichokes (30 Minute Recipe)
- Tortellini Sausage and Kale Soup
- Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
More pasta recipes you may enjoy
- Creamy Corn Pasta with Bacon
- Pesto Pappardelle (Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes)
- Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms
- Mushroom Ravioli with Sage Butter
- Cheese Ravioli Sausage Bake
Tuscan Kale Pasta
- 12 ounces fusilloni (or other large cut pasta)
- 12 ounces cooked chicken sausage (sliced into ½-inch pieces)
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 shallot (sliced)
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (drained and sliced)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed and leaves roughly chopped)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (+ extra for serving)
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Before draining, reserve approx. 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced sausage and cook until browned on both sides, approx. 6-10 minutes. (Note 1). Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the sliced shallots to the skillet, adding more oil if needed. Saute for one minute and add the sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Stir in the broth, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the kale and toss to wilt. Add the sausage back to the pan, then add the cream, pasta, and cheese. Toss to incorporate everything. Add pasta water - starting with ¼ cup - and stir to help bring the sauce together. Add more pasta water if needed.
- Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Leftovers reheat very well in the microwave.
- If using uncooked sausage, allow extra time for the sausage to cook through completely. For links, slice the sausage after it is cooked. For ground sausage, break it into crumbles as it cooks.
- For a vegetarian option, omit the sausage and use vegetable broth.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.