This Vegan Sausage Pasta is one of our favorite go-to quick vegan dinner recipes. It’s satisfying, easy to make, loaded with flavor, and tastes super indulgent.
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Hey Internet, I think it’s about dang time (IYKYK) I posted one of my husband’s recipes, vegan sausage pasta! He’s actually been making this dish for us since we started dating in 2011, but back then it wasn’t vegan. Luckily, it translates well!
This vegan Italian sausage pasta is ready in just 25 minutes and that includes prep time. That makes it a quick and easy weeknight dinner in my book!
This is probably one of my most-requested dishes when it comes to my husband doing the cooking. I cook a lot, of course, posting new recipes on this blog. But sometimes I don’t want to cook or I don’t have time because of work.
Then Paul makes this awesome pasta featuring vegan sausage, peppers, and onions (a very popular Chicago-thing, and Paul grew up in Chicago). I’m not sure if the sausage and peppers thing is due to an influx of Italian immigrants in the area or it just became a popular dish.
But making vegan Italian sausage pasta is a nice homage to Paul’s upbringing and the Chicago food scene.
As I said, this recipe even goes back a little further. Paul’s dad Tim made sausage peppers and onions for the family. It is not always served with pasta, but their family always did.
Traditionally we serve it with elbow macaroni or penne, but rigatoni is also quite delicious and I thought it looked a little better for the photos.
You’ll find plenty of ways to customize this dish if you keep reading, but I also recommend making it as written at least once!
Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is very simple and easy to make. Pasta cooks in one pot while you cook sausage, peppers, and onions in a skillet.
I encouraged Paul to take his family’s recipe a step further with flavor, adding garlic and some herbs. I like the recipe with or without these additions, but it’s nice to switch it up sometimes.
Some folks add marinara, and that’s cool too! We prefer it without, but honestly both ways are delicious.
There are many ways to customize this dish. If you have a store-bought vegan sausage you love, use that! We love Beyond Meat Brats or Italian Sausage (for a really good vegan Italian sausage pasta) in this dish.
But I also sometimes make it with my homemade vegan sausage which is seitan based. I’ve also made it with my tofu-based vegan sausage crumbles which is admittedly a much lighter and healthier version of this dish.
Whichever way you make it, it’s delicious!
And if you want to add more veggies or swap out the veggies, you’re welcome to do that as well.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- 16 ounces pasta: We like to use rigatoni, penne, or elbow macaroni, but use whatever you like for this dish. Use gluten-free pasta if needed.
- 1-2 tablespoons high heat oil, if not using a nonstick pan.
- 8 large vegan sausage links: If store bought, two 4-packs are perfect for one pound of pasta (keep in mind this recipe is easy to halve, or leftovers store well).
- 1 large sweet or yellow onion
- 2 medium bell peppers, any color (we like red or a mix for this dish)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning: Use whichever herbs you like, or skip them if preferred.
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes: Add more if you like it really spicy, or omit if you don’t like spicy food at all. The ¼ teaspoon I listed is a conservative amount I usually use in recipes with similar volume.
- Customizations: I’ve seen folks sometimes add marinara to the skillet with the sausage and veggies. You can do that, or leave it without like I did. I really prefer to taste the vegan sausage and caramelized onions, yum. You’re welcome to swap the veggies for other quick cooking veggies (like broccoli or mushrooms), or very finely diced slower cooking veggies (like carrots or celery) if you like.
Note About Oil
If you are using a good quality nonstick skillet, you do not need to add oil, but if not, I recommend a super small amount of high heat oil (like grapeseed), about 1 tablespoon.
If you are making one of my sausage recipes and you’re cool with oil, I do recommend cooking with a tablespoon of oil so the sausage gets nice and browned.
How to Make Vegan Sausage Pasta
- Note about sausage: We most often use Beyond Meat Brats or Italian Sausage (for vegan Italian sausage pasta) for this recipe, but sometimes we use my homemade vegan sausage seitan for a special meal. There’s also my tofu-based vegan sausage crumbles if you are gluten-free. You may want to use a touch of oil with these recipes for a more cohesive and delicious dish, but if you cook without oil, that’s cool too.
- Before beginning cooking, it’s a good idea to prep all your ingredients first so this process goes smoothly. Dice the onions, place in a bowl, then dice the peppers and place them in another bowl. Mince your garlic cloves and set them aside.
- Cut your vegan sausage into ½ inch rounds and add that to a bowl.
- At this time, start boiling enough water in a pot to accommodate your pasta. Make sure to salt your pasta water: When the water has reached a boil, add a generous amount of fine (table) salt to the pot, stir until dissolved, and make sure to return it to a boil before adding the pasta (this usually takes no more than 30-60 seconds for me.
- In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add your sliced vegan sausage and cook for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the sausages are really releasing their juices. (If you are using homemade vegan sausage, either seitan or tofu based, you may want to add a splash of oil while cooking for 5 minutes--if you prefer to cook without oil, lower the temperature slightly and watch carefully to ensure they don’t burn.)
- Now add your onions and bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add your pasta to the pot of boiling water, turn the heat down to medium, and cook according to package instructions. Stir occasionally and drain when finished.
- Add the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the skillet and stir well. If you desire to add marinara, I would add it now.
- Once the sausages have a nice dark brown color and the onions have caramelized, you are ready to serve. Turn off the heat.
- Add your pasta to a bowl or plate and serve your sausage, peppers and onions on top. Enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftover vegan sausage and veg separately from leftover pasta. The sausage and cooked veg last longer than pasta do, but both will stay good to eat for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Note that GF pasta can get a little hard in the fridge, so you may want to just cook as much as you’ll eat, then make more another day.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you prefer to use store bought vegan sausage, we love Beyond Meat Brats or Italian Sausage. Impossible Foods Sausage, Field Roast, and Lightlife are all also tasty and we’ve used those before. I don’t recommend getting anything called Breakfast Sausage though, as those tend to have added flavors (like apple and sage) which don’t go with vegan italian sausage pasta. If you’d like to try making your own sausages, I highly recommend my homemade seitan vegan sausage or tofu vegan sausage crumbles (if gluten-free).
Yes, but you’ll need to obtain oil-free sausage, which is why I recommend my homemade seitan vegan sausage or tofu vegan sausage crumbles. You’ll also need an excellent quality non-stick skillet. I LOVE All Clad’s nonstick pans and use them daily (have for years). Caraway and Scanpan are also great examples of quality nonstick cookware.
A lot of people do add marinara to theirs. We’ve tried it, and it’s pretty good (we do love Rao’s marinara). But we also love the flavor of the caramelized onions and vegan sausage, and we’ve found that marinara can dilute those flavors. So for our vegan sausage pasta, we prefer not to add any sauce. You do you, though!
Pro Tips for Success
- Don’t add the pasta to the pot too early. If your vegan sausage isn’t done but your pasta is, drain it, return it to the pan, and toss with a little olive oil or vegan butter to ensure it doesn’t stick while your sausage cooks.
- If you don’t like spicy food, omit the red pepper flakes from this dish. However, if you love spicy food, you may choose to add a bit more, to your own tastes.
- Stir occasionally, but stay in the kitchen to watch this dish as the sausage can burn if left unattended for too long.
- Don’t add the garlic too early, or it may burn with the high heat of the grease in the pan. I recommend adding the garlic near the end.
- If you’d like, you can season the pasta. We add a pinch of salt, but it’s not always needed depending on how well you salt the pasta water. Remember you’re going to be serving your pasta with very flavorful sausage and veg.
- Also, taste the sausage when it’s close to done. You can add salt and or pepper if you need to (but I never have needed to with this dish).
- Try dusting a little grated vegan parmesan cheese (we love Violife brand) at the end for a little extra pop of flavor.
More Recipes Like This
Want more epic pastas similar to this vegan sausage pasta? Check out some of my favorites below:
- Vegan Meat Sauce (with Pasta)
- Vegan Aglio e Olio Pasta
- One Pot Creamy Vegan Mushroom Pasta
- Vegan Carbonara
- Vegan Manicotti
- Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce
- Vegan Baked Ziti
- Vegan Ragu
I hope you enjoy it! Please come back and give it a star rating and review below if you enjoy this recipe… that really helps us out!