rigatoni with spinach pesto & chicken sausage

Happy Friday everyone! Today I am sharing a recipe for one of my favorite sauces and I am pairing it with one of my favorite foods. I love adding pesto to anything from pasta to pizza, but most of the time, I use the store-bought kind {it’s a great shortcut!}. One of the biggest problems I have found with making my own pesto is the amount of basil that is needed! Typically, basil comes in that small container and you would have to buy at least two to have enough for a meal. The other issue I have is the cost of pine nuts…it’s outrageous! So I decided to create a spin on the traditional pesto and use spinach instead of basil and almonds instead of pine nuts. {Almonds can be expensive as well, but they are easier to find in bulk…and they make a great snack 😉 } 

As you may remember, I am obsessed with chicken sausage {see another favorite here}. I love adding it to dishes because it is a quick and healthy way to incorporate protein into a meal. And there are so many different flavors to pick from! I used a spinach and feta based one since there is spinach in the dish, but you can experiment with other flavors too! 

Although making homemade pesto sounds daunting for any weeknight, it’s relatively simple and it might even be worthwhile to double or triple the recipe to save some back in the freezer for when you are in need of a quick dinner!


Rigatoni with Spinach Pesto & Chicken Sausage 
16 ounces dried pasta {I used rigatoni}
4 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon almonds {you could use walnuts too!}
1 lemon {juice of half the lemon, zest of the entire lemon}
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 garlic clove
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes {depending on how spicy you like it!} 
12 ounces spinach & feta chicken sausage, sliced in bite-sized pieces  {I used these
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water; set pasta aside. Meanwhile, pulse 2 cups of the fresh spinach, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon almonds, garlic clove, the juice and zest of the lemon, salt to taste and the red pepper flakes. Blend until combined. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and finish blending until the pesto is smooth; set pesto aside. 
In a large, deep skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat; add the bite-sized sausages and cook until brown on each side, about 10 minutes. Once sausage is brown, turn down the heat to low and add the pasta, pesto and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water {to start with, you can always add more} to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the remaining 2 cups of spinach. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve! 
Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

8 thoughts on “rigatoni with spinach pesto & chicken sausage

  1. I love this! I'm obsessed with pesto and I usually also buy pre-made pesto in the store for about the same reasons you do! However I love this new recipe, spinach is delicious. Thank you for sharing!

    xo naomiinwonderland.com

Comments are closed.