Sausage Arrabbiata Pasta with Spinach

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This easy and healthier version of Sausage Arrabbiata Pasta uses lean turkey sausage, cherry tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes to recreate this classic Italian dish.

353 CAL 50g CARBS 14g FAT 24g PROTEIN

Today's recipe for Sausage Arrabbiata with fresh tomatoes and spinach is a great meal for the beginning of fall. It's warm, hearty, and has just the perfect amount of spice. It's a meal that feels comforting and cozy but is surprisingly light when it comes to a dish with pasta and sausage.

The key to this recipe is the simple Arrabbiata sauce. It's basically tomato sauce kicked up with red pepper flakes, garlic, and Italian seasoning. For this version, I used a combination of fresh cherry tomatoes and tomato paste. You could also use more traditional canned San Marzano tomatoes. 

To add some extra veggies, I finished this Sausage Arrabbiata with spinach. You could also add mushrooms, broccolini, or leaves the greens out completely for a more traditional dish. Topped with fresh basil and some Parmesan or Pecorino - it's one easy and delicious meal.

Looking for more tasty sausage pasta recipes? Try this Sausage and Pepper Shells, Chicken Sausage Pasta with Broccoli, or Garlic Sausage Pasta with Cauliflower.

What is Arrabbiata sauce?

Arrabiata literally translates to "angry" in Italian. It is a spicy tomato-based sauce traditionally made with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Typically Pasta Arrabbiata is served without protein. It's topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. 

Key Ingredients and Pantry Swaps

  • Sausage: This recipe gets a lot of flavor from the sausage. Start with a fresh lean chicken or turkey sausage if you want something lighter. Pork sausage will also work. 
  • Tomatoes: This sauce can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes. The burst and flavor from fresh cherry tomatoes works really well when they are in season. Otherwise used canned San Marzano tomatoes. 
  • Garlic: Garlic is key in this sauce. Make sure to use fresh garlic cloves. Minced garlic or garlic powder can work but won't have the same rich flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes: It isn't arrabbiata sauce without the heat so red pepper flakes are essential. Start with a few and add more until you achieve the spice level you like.
  • Basil: To break up the heat and tomato flavor, basil is the perfect addition to this dish.
  • Spinach: This recipe uses spinach to add some nutrients and greens. You could skip it entirely or swap in another vegetable. 
  • Pasta: serve this with any type of pasta you like. Medium pasta shapes like penne, ziti, or fusilli work well. 

What to Serve with Sausage Pasta

Since this dish is hearty and filling on its own, it is best served with something light like a fresh green salad. Here are some to try:

Recipe Ideas and Tips

Here are some ways to customize this dish based on your preferences or what you have at home.

  • Try a different protein: This sauce is delicious with all kinds of protein. Make sure to season the protein well since it won't have all the built-in seasoning of sausage. Try this with chicken, ground beef, shrimp, or even chickpeas. 
  • Add more veggies: If you love adding lots of vegetables to your pasta dishes, try this with some extra veggies. Sauteed mushrooms, kale, zucchini, and cauliflower are all delicious with the spicy sauce. 
  • Add cheese: Pasta and cheese is a classic combination for a reason. Finish this dish some shredded Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about making this pasta dish.

Both Arrabiatta and Amatriciana are spicy Italian tomato sauces made with garlic, chili, tomatoes, and olive oil. The main different is that Amatriciana sauce also has pancetta or bacon in the base. 

Traditionally Arrabiata sauce is medium spiced. It should be spicy but not overwhelmingly spicy so it is difficult to eat. The great thing about making this sauce from scratch is that you can decide how to spicy to make it. 

This recipe will work with almost any protein, including ground chicken, turkey, or beef. You can also make it with pork or chicken sausage. Just remember that if you make it without sausage, you will need to add some extra seasoning since the sausage brings a lot of flavor to the dish. This Italian sausage seasoning is a great option if you are using plain protein. 

The Recipe
Sausage Arrabbiata pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and spinach on a plate.

Sausage Arrabbiata Pasta with Spinach

353 CAL 50g CARBS 14g FAT 24g PROTEIN
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  • 8 oz. high fiber pasta (or whole wheat)
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground turkey sausage
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • Salt and pepper

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Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.


Meanwhile heat a pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks. This should take 5-7 minutes. Remove the sausage and set aside, leaving any fat from the sausage in the pan.


Add the olive oil to the pan over medium high heat. Once hot add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to burst.


Turn the heat down to medium. Add the cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, and spinach to the tomatoes. Stir together until pasta is well coated with sauce. Add in the sausage and basil. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 353
Calories from Fat 125
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 64mg
Sodium 607mg
Total Carbohydrate 50g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Sugars 6g
Protein 24g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Sausage Arrabbiata Pasta with Spinach
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Britney Brock
March 9, 2020 - 15:04
Quick question:) Are you meaning italian sausage or breakfast sausage?
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March 9, 2020 - 15:23
Italian sausage! If you can't find the ground version, you could use links and just take them out of the casing.
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Britney Brock
March 9, 2020 - 17:29
Ahhh thank you so much:)!!
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