Dinner, Pasta

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

This Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta is simple and hearty with Italian sausage, jammy bell peppers and caramelized onions. Dairy free and ready in 30 minutes.

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

What you’ll need to make Sweet Pepper & Sausage Pasta

Italian sausage: I like to use a mild Italian pork sausage but feel free to use the spicy kind if you like a little extra heat. Chicken or turkey sausage can also work, but you may need to add a bit more olive oil when caramelizing the peppers and onions to make up for the lighter fat content.

Bell peppers: One red and one yellow makes for the prettiest sauce!

Onion & garlic

Pasta: Any short-cut pasta works here. A few of my recommendations are rigatoni (pictured), penne, fusilli and cavatelli. Gnocchi would also make for a slightly different, but delicious dish!

Brown sugar: A little brown sugar helps the peppers and onions caramelize white bringing out their sweetness.

Tomato Paste

Olive oil: Using a high quality extra-virgin olive oil really goes a long way for this recipe.

Oregano: I always use dried oregano but fresh would be even better!

Balsamic vinegar

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

How to make Pepper & Sausage Pasta

Cook the sausage: This pepper and sausage pasta recipe begins with browning the Italian sausage. I suggest you use a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven for the best caramelization.

Take the sausage out of the casings and cook over medium-high heat until just cooked through. Stir in a spoonful of tomato paste and keep cooking until everything is nicely browned and caramelized. Toasting the tomato paste with the sausage is going to add an extra layer of flavor.

Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.

peppers and onions

Caramelize the peppers & onions: Add all your chopped veggies to the pan and let those cook down and caramelize. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. If you notice the peppers are taking too long to soften or they start looking a little dry, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and crank the heat up to a simmer. Continue this process until the peppers and onions are soft and jammy.

Once the peppers are nearly done, put some finishing touches on the sauce. Add the brown sugar, garlic, oregano and balsamic vinegar and cook everything for another few minutes to let all those flavors meld.

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Cook the pasta: Meanwhile, cook your pasta of choice in salted water—think salty like the sea! The pasta will continue to cook in the sauce so drain it an out 1-2 minutes before the suggested time of the package. Don;t forget to reserve some of that starchy pasta water!

Put everything together: Add the pasta and sausage to the pot with the cooked peppers. Gently heat over a low flame, adding splashes of pasta water every so often, until the sauce is silky and coats the pasta.

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Storage + serving tips

My favorite way to serve this Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta is over a bed of fresh arugula with a generous sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs. To toast your own breadcrumbs, heat a touch of olive oil in a pan, add your breadcrumbs (I use Panko) and toast, tossing frequently until golden brown.

This pasta recipe is best enjoyed fresh but it will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days when sealed in an airtight container. You can also store the pepper/sausage mixture separately and make the pasta fresh whenever you feel like eating it.

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

More pasta recipes to try

One Pot French Onion Pasta

Slow Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Pasta

One Pot Tuscan Pasta

Spicy Almond Butter Noodles

Toasted Lemon Pepper Orzo

Made this recipe? I would love to hear what you think in the review section down below! Also, make sure to tag @wandering_chickpeaon Instagram with your creations and follow along on Pinterest for more delicious recipes!

Yield: 3-4 servings

Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

sweet pepper and sausage pasta

This Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta is simple and hearty, with Italian sausage, jammy caramelized bell peppers and your favorite pasta shape.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1/2 lb mild or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium red or yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz dry short-cut pasta, such as rigatoni
  • Kosher salt
  • Toasted breadcrumbs for serving (optional)


  1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just cooked through. Stir in 1 tbsp of tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until caramelized. Transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. When shimmering, add the onions and peppers. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until softened.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp tomato paste, garlic, brown sugar, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Season with kosher salt. Cook for another few minutes, until jammy and caramelized. If the peppers are taking too long to soften look dry at any point, add a splash of water to the pan and simmer over high heat until you reach the right consistency.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in generously salted water for 1 minute less than the time indicated on the package. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and drain.
  5. Add the pasta and cooked sausage to the skillet with the peppers along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, adding pasta cooking liquid if needed, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is thickened. Serve immediately with toasted breadcrumbs if desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 461Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 484mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g

All nutritional info is an estimation

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a review below and tag @wandering_chickpea on Instagram!

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