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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Italian Sausage (Dairy-Free)

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This roasted red pepper pasta will quickly become one of your favorite pasta sauces. It’s creamy, silky and packed with health benefits too!

roasted red pepper pasta

When I’m looking for an easy, comforting meal, pasta is my go-to. Usually I have all the ingredients in my pantry already and let’s be honest, pasta always hits the spot. Recently, I wanted to switch up our normal marinara-based pasta for a creamy, roasted red pepper pasta sauce and this did not disappoint! The creamy texture of this silky sauce is unmatched.

This weeknight dinner comes together quickly and doesn’t require too many ingredients. Next time you’re at the store, make sure to stock up on these for when you need an easy dinner in a pinch. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite pastas.

It still has some tomato in it from the sun-dried tomatoes and concentrated tomato paste which give it such depth, almost a little bit of a nutty flavor.

This quick dinner can be made vegan, or not simply by adding or removing the Italian sausage. It’s great both ways, but I do love the depth of flavor that even just a little bit of sausage adds to this hearty dinner. 

This recipe is a perfect meal for a cold night or when you get a craving for pasta and want to shake things up a bit.

Ingredients to Make Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

To make roasted red pepper pasta, you will need the following ingredients:

  • roasted red peppers, homemade or store-bought peppers in a jar (this is what I do to make my life easier!)
  • 12-16oz. of your favorite pasta of choice, we love rigatoni for this sauce
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • garlic
  • onion
  • broth
  • coconut milk
  • parmesan 
  • fresh basil
roasted pepper sauce

Health Benefits of Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted red peppers are not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits. They are an incredible source of vitamin C, which can help support a healthy immune system, aid in wound healing, and act as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting overall well-being.

In addition to their high vitamin C content, roasted red peppers are also low in calories and packed with fiber, making them a great choice for a filling, but light meal. The fiber helps to promote a feeling of fullness and aids in digestive health, both of which can support weight management.

Lastly, roasted red peppers contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein, which are beneficial for eye health. These compounds may help protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

easy weeknight meal

Step 1: Prep Ingredients

Chop onion and garlic and set aside. Drain and chop bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions while the sauce cooks.

Step 2: Cook Sauce & Sausage

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot and add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until they are translucent and fragrant. Add peppers, onions, tomato paste and broth and bring to a boil. You’ll then lower the heat and let it simmer until all ingredients are soft. 

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in another pan until cooked and set aside. Drain any excess fat.

Step 3: Blend Sauce & Finish

Pour the sauce (not sausage) into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add back to the pan and add sausage, coconut milk and season to taste.

Step 4: Mix in Cooked Pasta

Next, add your cooked pasta to the pan and toss together to get sauce in all the nooks and crannies! Serve in pasta bowls topped with fresh basil and parmesan!

healthy comfort food—creamy red pepper pasta
roasted red pepper pasta

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This easy pasta dish comes together easily and is made from simple pantry staples. It can be made with or without the sausage.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course dinners
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 695 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped
  • 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained & chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 links Italian sausage, mild optional
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, regular or light
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb rigatoni or pasta of choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, add onions and chopped garlic cloves and cook until soft, about a couple of minutes.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes, jarred peppers, tomato paste and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, crumble sausage in a pan and cook until done. Drain and set aside.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
  • After 15 minutes add all sauté pan ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add back to the pan, add sausage, coconut milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is too thick, you can thin with a little more broth or pasta water.
  • Add cooked pasta and toss to combine.
  • Serve with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 695kcalCarbohydrates: 97gProtein: 23gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 1736mgPotassium: 778mgFiber: 6gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 787IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 143mgIron: 4mg
Keyword pasta, roasted red pepper, sundried tomato
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How Long Will the Red Pepper Sauce Last in the Fridge?

To store roasted red pepper pasta in the fridge, first ensure that the pasta and sauce are fully cooled before storing. If the pasta is already mixed with the sauce, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. However, if you store the roasted red pepper sauce on its own, it will last for up to one week in the fridge.

If you plan on making the roasted red pepper pasta ahead of time, I would highly recommend storing the pasta and sauce separately. This will help it stay fresh and keep your pasta al dente, and keep it from getting soggy. 

hearty and healthy dinner ideas

Can I Freeze Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce?

Yes, you can freeze red pepper pasta sauce for future use. To freeze the sauce, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Make sure to leave some space at the top of the container to allow for expansion during freezing. The sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Great if you need some easy dinners that you can grab in the future, or if you’re pregnant and stocking your freezer with healthy meals for after the baby comes.

To thaw the sauce, remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow the sauce to thaw slowly and evenly. Once thawed, the sauce can be reheated on the stovetop. Stir the sauce occasionally while reheating to ensure it heats evenly. Cook your pasta separately and toss to combine.

When storing the red pepper pasta sauce in the freezer, be sure to label the container with the date it was frozen to help keep track of its shelf life. Additionally, it’s important to use an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and to maintain the quality of the sauce. There’s nothing worse than opening up a container to find that it’s totally freezer burnt!

How to Reheat Pasta Sauce or Red Pepper Pasta Leftovers

To reheat the sauce from the fridge, I recommend heating it over low-medium heat on the stovetop. Add pasta and devour! If you are heating from frozen, make sure to thaw overnight, then add to a saucepan and simmer until hot. 

If you have roasted red pepper pasta leftovers of your mixed sauce and pasta, just add to a small sauté pan to heat, or heat in a microwave safe container until warm. 

creamy red pepper pasta

Substitutions and Variations: 

Use Homemade Peppers

You can use homemade or store-bought peppers for this dish and if you’re feeling ambitious, you can absolutely roast your own red peppers. Roasting peppers is not difficult, just take a little bit more time.

I’d roast 3-4 peppers depending on the size of your peppers. Start with fresh peppers and roast them on a baking sheet under the broiler or on your stovetop until they’re charred and black. Remove from baking sheet and place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag and let cool. This will steam them and make the skins easy to remove. 

Once cool, peel away the skin and discard the seeds, stems and ribs. Chop them up and use immediately, or store until you’re ready to use. These roasted peppers should last 3-4 days in the fridge. I wouldn’t freeze these personally!

Vegan Option

Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and non-dairy cream or milk. Skip the Italian sausage too.

To Make Recipe Gluten Free

To make this recipe gluten free, swap pasta for your favorite gluten-free pasta and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free.

To Make It Spicy

I made this for my family and we have two young boys, so spicy isn’t ideal for them, but if you want to add some kick, add some red pepper flakes. Start with 1/4 tsp chili flakes and add more as desired or use spicy Italian sausage instead of mild.

bite of pasta

To Make it Coconut-Free

We love using coconut milk in our house because it adds that creaminess with no dairy, but if you don’t like the flavor of coconut milk or are allergic to coconuts, you can use regular heavy cream in place of coconut milk here.

Different Types of Pasta

Rigatoni, penne and fusilli are what I suggest for this pasta because the sauce gets caught in all the crevices, but if you have a different shape on hand, feel free to use whatever you have! 

If Pasta is Too Thick or Thin

If your sauce gets reduced too much, just add a little bit more broth or pasta water to thin it out. If it’s too thin, simmering the sauce longer will thicken it up.

This roasted red pepper pasta is absolutely delicious and so simple. Your family will love this creamy sauce made with wholesome ingredients. It’s made with a few simple ingredients that you might have in your pantry already, and results in a creamy pasta dish that hits the spot and is still light. It’s a nice change-up from your standard marinara and packed with lots of vitamins from the red bell peppers. I hope you save this one and try it soon!

BTW, how to make detox pesto, and pesto turkey meatballs.

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