This creamy tomato sausage pasta recipe is the perfect example of healthy comfort food in a bowl! Made with your favorite pre-cooked sausage, nutrient-packed kale, savory mushrooms, and a creamy tomato sauce for a delicious meal that still feels indulgent. Perfect for family dinner or date night! Dairy free, gluten free, vegan option.
The best dairy free tomato sausage pasta
We love a wholesome pasta-for-dinner night around here, and this creamy tomato sausage pasta truly knocks it out of the park!
It’s full of rich, savory flavors that make it feel fancy and gourmet, but all it takes to get it on the table is a little prep work and 30 minutes.
Which makes it a great candidate for nights when you’re short on time but still want to serve a well balanced meal!
It can also easily be made vegetarian / vegan with one simple swap I share below!
In this blog post, we’ll share the recipe, talk about the ingredients and some easy substitutions, and offer variations to make it spicy, add more veggies, or vegan.
Get ready to indulge in a cozy and nutritious night in with our healthy comfort food alert!
- A well balanced meal: Made with your favorite pasta, protein from the sausage, a variety of veggies, and cashew cream, this recipe is a healthy amd complete meal for everyone at your table!
- Super versatile: The protein, pasta, and veggies in the recipe can easily be modified or swapped out to suit your preferences.
- Ready in about 30 minutes: Thanks to some convenient pantry items you’ll be able to get dinner on the table quickly any night of the week!
- Dairy Free and Gluten Free friendly! Cashew cream replaces the use of dairy in this pasta, and gluten free pasta is an easy swap to keep the recipe wheat free.
Ingredients and substitutions
You can find the full list of ingredients, along with measurements,in the recipe card below. These are my ingredient notes and recommendations for easy swaps and substitutions!
To make a delicious tomato cream sauce pasta, you will need the following ingredients:
You can use any pasta you like for this recipe, though I recommend a shorter shape like fusilli, penne, rigatoni, or farfalle. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions just shy of al dente, as it will continue to cook once added to the sauce. We used this gluten free brown rice pasta.
Raw cashews are the secret ingredient that makes this pasta dish creamy and delicious. Soak the cashews in water before you start cooking to save some time.
Kale adds a healthy dose of greens to this pasta dish. Before using, remove the tough stems and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Spinach or arugula can be used instead! Just wait until the last minute or two of cooking to add it since they are more tender greens and will cook quickly.
Mushrooms are a game-changer when it comes to adding flavor and texture to meals. They are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including pastas like this one. Not only are they delicious, but they are also nutrient dense.
We used pre-sliced crimini mushrooms to cut down on prep time. You could also use chopped portobello, shiitake, chanterelles, or oyster mushrooms.
We used pre-cooked andouille chicken sausage for this recipe, but any type of sausage you like will work. For example, chicken apple sausage, Italian sausage, or a spicy jalapeño sausage would all be delicious!
I like to cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces, but you could also slice them into rounds or half-moon shapes.
Alternatively, you can use veggie sausage as a plant-based option.
Marinara sauce is the base of this recipe. You can use store-bought or homemade. For a healthy approach, look for a brand low in sugar and additives. We used Rao’s Classic Marinara.
Water for blending the cashew cream
You will need some water to blend the soaked cashews into a smooth and creamy sauce.
Salt and Pepper
Season the pasta dish with salt and pepper to taste. I always recommend tasting as you season because other ingredients, like the marinara and sausage, will likely already have salt added.
What spices can I add to make this pasta dish spicy?
If you like your food spicy, you can add some red pepper flakes, chili powder, or cayenne pepper to the cashew cream sauce when blending or to the marinara sauce when you add it to the skillet. Just be sure to taste the dish as you go and adjust the amount of spice to your liking. You can also use a spicy sausage for a little extra kick!
How to use raw ground sausage meat instead of fully cooked sausages
If you want to use raw ground sausage meat instead of fully cooked sausages, simply brown the meat in a separate skillet before adding it to the mushrooms. Cook the meat until it is no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, and drain any excess fat from the skillet.
How to make creamy tomato and sausage pasta
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, this pasta only takes about 30 minutes to prepare!
Step 1: Soak the cashews
In a heat-proof bowl, soak raw cashews with just boiled water for 20-30 minutes, or up to overnight. If you’re short on time, you can simmer the cashews on the stove-top for about 10 minutes until they are pale and plump.
Step 2: Cook the pasta and kale
Cook pasta 1-2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time, as it will continue to cook more once added to the sauce. With about 2 minutes of cooking time remaining, add the chopped kale and stir to submerge fully. Drain pasta and kale and set aside.
Step 3: Cook the mushrooms and sausage
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté until they are browned and caramelized. Add diced sausage and continue to cook until sausage has some caramelized edges. Spoon off any extra fat, leaving about a tablespoon in the skillet.
Step 4: Add the marinara
Add all but 1/2 cup of marinara to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a low simmer.
Step 5: Make the cashew tomato cream sauce
Drain cashews and add to blender container with remaining marinara and water. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, with no pieces of cashew remaining.
Step 6: Finish assembling pasta
Add cooked pasta, kale, and cashew cream mixture to the skillet and stir to combine. Return to a bare simmer to warm the pasta and thicken the sauce slightly.
Step 7: Season and serve!
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately topped with dairy free parmesan and fresh herbs if desired.
To switch up the flavors in this pasta, try adding some extra vegetables to the dish.
Bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli all work well and can add some extra nutrients and fiber to your meal. Simply sauté them with the sausage before adding the marinara sauce.
You can also experiment with different types of sausage to find your favorite flavor combination.
We used andouille chicken sausage, but Italian sausage would be a classic choice. Chorizo, chicken and apple, or jalapeño would also be delicious!
Chicken or turkey sausage keeps the dish lighter, but pork sausage can also be used.
Another way to switch up the recipe is by using different pasta shapes.
Fusilli is a great option for this dish, but you could also try using penne, farfalle, or rigatoni.
Add some fresh herbs.
Fresh parsley or basil add a lovely herbaceous note to the dish!
To make a vegan and vegetarian version of this pasta, all you have to do is leave out the sausage entirely or replace it with a plant-based sausage option.
What to serve with this pasta
This tomato sausage pasta is a complete meal on it’s own, but if you want to serve it with a side dish or two, it would be delicious with a simple arugula salad or some freshly made garlic bread!
Storage and Reheating
Once you’ve made this pasta, you may have leftovers that you want to store and reheat later. Here are some tips to help you store and reheat properly:
To store in the refrigerator: Allow to cool to room temperature and transfer to an airtight container before moving to the fridge. It should keep for up to 5 days.
To reheat: This pasta can easily be reheated in the microwave or in a small skillet over low heat on the stovetop. If you’re reheating on the stovetop I recommend adding a few tablespoons of water or broth to the skillet, covering it, and stirring occasionally until warmed through.
Can you freeze pasta?
Generally speaking, I do not recommend freezing pasta dishes, especially gluten free pasta. The noodles may lose their integrity and be overly soft once thawed.
Love this pasta? Try these other yummy recipes!
- Healthy Chicken Sausage Pasta
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Vegan Mexican Taco Pasta
- Easy Pesto Pasta
- Creamy Vegan Vodka Pasta Sauce
- Cashew Cream Mushroom and Kale Pasta
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
- Nut Free Vegan Mac and Cheese
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This tomato sausage pasta recipe is the perfect example of healthy comfort food in a bowl! Made with your favorite pre-cooked sausage, nutrient-packed kale, savory mushrooms, and a creamy tomato sauce for a delicious meal that still feels indulgent. Perfect for family dinner or date night! Dairy free, gluten free, vegan option.
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 12 ounces pasta, gluten free if desired
- 1 large bunch lacinto kale, cut into bite sized pieces – about 4 packed cups worth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
- 12 ounces precooked sausage, diced (I used smoked andouille chicken sausage, but any type you like will work)
- 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dairy free parmesan cheese
- Chili flakes
- Fresh parsley or basil
- Soak the cashews. In a heat-proof bowl, soak raw cashews with just boiled water for 20-30 minutes, or up to overnight. If you’re short on time, you can simmer the cashews on the stove-top for about 10 minutes until they are pale and plump.
- Cook the pasta and kale. Cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time (you don’t want to overcook it as it will continue to cook a bit more once added to the sauce). With about 2 minutes of cooking time remaining, add the chopped kale and stir to submerge fully. Reserve about 3/4 cup of cooking water before draining. Drain pasta and kale and set aside.
- Cook the mushrooms and sausage. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring only occasionally so they can brown and caramelize. Add diced sausage and continue to cook until sausage has some caramelized edges – another 5-6 minutes. If the pan gets too dry, you can add a little more olive oil.
- Add the marinara. Add all but 1/2 cup of marinara to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a bare simmer.
- Make the cashew cream sauce. Drain cashews and add to blender container with remaining 1/2 cup marinara and 1/4 cup water. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, with no pieces of cashew remaining.
- Finish assembling pasta. Add cooked pasta, kale, and cashew tomato cream sauce to the skillet and stir to combine. Bring back to a bare simmer to warm the pasta, stirring frequently. If the sauce thickens too much add a little bit of pasta cooking water at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Season and serve. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately topped with dairy free parmesan and fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy!
To store in the refrigerator: Allow to cool to room temperature and transfer to an air tight container before moving to the fridge. It should keep for up to 5 days.
To reheat: This pasta can easily be re-heated in the microwave or in a small skillet over low heat on the stove top. If you’re reheating on the stove top I recommend adding a few tablespoons of water or broth to the skillet, covering it, and stirring occasionally until warmed through.
Generally speaking I do not recommend freezing pasta dishes, especially gluten free pasta. The noodles may lose their integrity and be overly soft once thawed.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pasta, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cashews, cashew cream, chicken sausage, kale, mushrooms, dinner, gluten free, dairy free, healthy