This sheet pan Smoked Sausage Penne Pesto with Roasted Veggies is the perfect meal for busy weeknights. All you need are some simple ingredients and 30 minutes to get dinner on the table!
Pesto Sausage Pasta – The EASY Way!
In the height of sports season and school, our weeknights are absolutely packed. We rarely have time to sit down to a meal all together between football here and volleyball there. But when we do have 30 minutes or an hour (on a lucky day!) to spare, I have gotten in the habit of making sheet pan dinners.
Sheet pan dinner are the best for those busy weeknights because you cook the veggies, the meat, and the starch all at the same time so minimal dishes to do later and you still have a super tasty dinner. This pesto sausage pasta is one of my families favorite sheet pan meals!
It uses smoke sausage links, whatever vegetables you have on hand, pre-made pesto, and pasta to create a super flavorful pasta dish. So let’s get to making it!
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Flavorful! By using smoked sausage and pesto, we are packing in so much flavor without any extra work! Think Cajun meats fresh Italian herbs – yum!
- Almost one pan – While the pasta does boil separately, everything else in this meal is cooked on the same pan, in the same oven, at the same temperature. That means no baby sitting the veggies while the sausage cooks or trying to measure out ingredients for the pesto while keeping the other ingredients from burning.
- Quick – Because we cook the meat and veggies at a high temperature, you get a great caramelized flavor as well as have a very short cooking time. Even with a short cooking time, the result is tender and delicious veggies and crispy sausage.
What to Serve with Pesto Pasta with Sausage
Since this dish is packed with easy and classic flavors of garlic and fresh herbs, it will pair well with just about any side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This sausage and pesto pasta recipe is as simple as promised! Just 30 minutes for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Pasta: I like to use penne pasta because the shape allows it to hold onto more pest with each bite. But you can use whatever pasta you and your family enjoy.
- Smoked Sausage: I always use sausage links because they are super easy to cut into slices or quarters for busy nights. Smoked sausage can generally be found in the deli section of the grocery store or in one of the refrigerated areas near other bratwurst.
- Vegetables: For this pasta, I use a combination of fresh red onion, bell pepper, broccoli, and mushrooms. However, you can use any fresh vegetable you have on hand like brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or potatoes. Some other ones I have used are Perfect Oven Roasted Vegetables, Mexican Roasted Vegetables, and Cajun Roasted Veggies.
- Spices: For seasoning, we kept it super simple with salt and garlic powder. The sausage and pesto already have so much flavor that there is no need to add much more.
- Pesto: Pesto is where most of the flavor comes from in this dish so it is important to use a pre-made pesto with tons of flavor. You can always make your own, but busy nights call for shortcuts in my house. I always use pesto found in the refrigerated section because I think it has a much better flavor than jarred pesto. But, use whatever your family loves! If you prefer to use homemade, I like this pesto recipe.
- Parmesan: This is just for garnish so shredded parmesan or freshly grated parmesan will work just fine.
- Keep it all hot – As long as the pasta, the veggies, and the meat are hot when you mix in the pesto you will not have to heat the pesto prior to mixing. This is a great time saver because you just have to dump the pesto into a large bowl with everything else and mix it. The residual heat will help meld all the flavors.
- Mix it up – Try rotating vegetables to keep it interesting. Maybe green beans, carrots, or squash!
- Allow room to breath – When cooking multiple things in or on a pan, you always want to make sure every piece has room for air to circulate around it. This ensure it is cooked on all sides. If your pan does not allow this, consider splitting the veggies and meat mixture into two batches.
- Add more or less – This recipe is easily scalable. Simply add more or less meat and veggies to the tray (or cook a second tray) and make more or less pasta.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Precut the veggies and meat – You can chop the meat and veggies up and store in an air tight container up to 3 days in advance. When ready to make, all you need to do is spread them out onto the pan.
- Use pre-made pesto – This recipe calls for pre-made pesto, and saves so much time! This is especially true if you aren’t familiar with making pesto. And if you still want to use a homemade pesto, you can always find one at a local farmers market.
- Make the pasta – The sausage and pesto pasta takes the longest to make, so making it is advance and storing in the fridge is a great way to sped up the process. When assembling everything, you may need to mix it all on the stove top over medium heat to ensure the pasta is reheated and the pesto mixes well.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Creamy Pesto Pasta with Sausage – For this recipe, empty out your pesto into a small bowl and whisk together with a little heavy creamy for a super creamy texture. Then, when mixing all the ingredients, add 1/4th of a cup of shredded mozzarella to the mixture to continue to amp of the creaminess.
- Sausage Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta– Ok, there are two way to do this. First, you can try to find a sun dried tomato pesto to use in place of regular pesto. They can be found but are not all that common. The other option is to finely chop 3-4 sundried tomatoes and mix them into the pasta mixture when all the other veggies and meat are getting mixed in.
- Spicy Sausage Pesto Pasta– And finally, the spicy option! For this recipe, simply add 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes to the seasoning mixture. You can also sub out the smoked sausage for a spicy sausage.
Freezer Meal Instructions
Making this sausage pesto pasta recipe into a freezer meal is simple! Follow the steps below and you can store this recipe in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To freeze before cooking:
- Slice the sausage and veggies.
- Mix the veggies and seasonings together and store in a zip-top bag or freezer-friendly container.
- When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
- Continue with the recipe as directed.
To freeze after cooking
- Slice the sausage and veggies.
- Roast sausage and veggies as directed.
- Once done let cool to room temperature, package in a freezer friendly container.
- When ready to prepare, thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
- Cook pasta and combine ingredients as directed.
Pasta with Sausage and Pesto Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making this tasty pesto pasta dish, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
More Easy Sheet Pan Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my Easy Dinner recipes recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Cajun Roasted Veggies
- Oven Roasted Green Beans
- Sheet Pan Southern Meatloaf
- 16 ounces pasta, uncooked
- 14 ounces smoked sausage
- 1/2 red onion, roughly diced
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly diced
- 2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 ounces prepared pesto
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
- Prepare the pasta per package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, slice the sausage into 1/2" inch rounds. Place in a single layer on a large sheet pan.Toss onions, bell pepper, broccoli, and mushrooms with the olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer next to the sausage on the sheet pan.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until vegetables are just tender.
- When the pasta is done, drain, then stir in the pesto until evenly coated. Add in the sausage and vegetables and toss with the pasta.
- Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!