Pasta bakes aren’t generally thought of as a “light” dish, but this one combines whole wheat pasta, vitamin-rich spinach, juicy tomatoes, turkey sausage and reduced fat cheese to create a hearty, satisfying and delicious meal that’s also healthy! I lightened this dish up from the original recipe, but you won’t miss any of the calories once you taste your first bite of cheesy, meaty pasta goodness. I used hot Italian sausage for the added flavor but if you prefer, mild would work just as well. One serving of this is very filling and you could definitely serve this to guests without them realizing it’s been lightened up. Definitely recommended!
Italian Sausage Spinach Pasta Bake
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home
16 oz whole wheat pasta (I used spirals)
1 lb Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (I used Gianelli hot Italian turkey sausage)
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1/4 t black pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 c fat free half-and-half cream
1 c reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2%)
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Cook pasta according to directions on box, then drain and set aside.
3. While pasta cooks, in a large sauté pan, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat, breaking up sausage until it is browned. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add pasta, spinach and half-and-half to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Heat through and then pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella and then Parmesan cheese evenly over the top. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
Yields 10 servings. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 8 per serving