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Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole

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Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers, and Escarole is a colorful, flavorful dish your whole family is sure to enjoy.

A bowl of Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and EscaroleChicken Sausage Peppers and Escarole Pasta

I was so excited when a former coworker shared this escarole pasta dish with me because I’m a huge fan of escarole! If you’ve never cooked with escarole, you definitely need to try it. This recipe cooks in about 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight. You can even do all the vegetable prep earlier in the day, so everything’s ready to go at dinnertime. Some other favorite Italian escarole recipes are my Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Escarole, and Beans and Escarole Soup with Turkey Meatballs.

What is escarole? 

Escarole is a mildly bitter, leafy green that looks like lettuce. It’s part of the chicory family, which also includes endive and radicchio. If you can’t find escarole in your grocery store, you can use spinach or Swiss chard.

Where to Buy Italian Chicken Sausage

Not all chicken sausages are alike, so it’s a good idea to know your butcher or the person making the sausage if possible. I sampled a few Italian chicken sausages from different stores before I found a favorite made with all white meat at a nearby Italian specialty store. Living in New York, I’m fortunate to have some great Italian resources nearby. If you can’t find chicken sausage, turkey sausage would also work. 

Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta Variations:

  • Use spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or another leafy green as an escarole substitute. 
  • Swap turkey sausage for the chicken sausage. If you can’t find uncooked sausage, use cooked chicken sausage and thinly slice it.
  • Sub the red bell pepper for yellow or green ones or use a mix of colors.
  • Add sliced mushrooms if you’d like more veggies.
  • Skip the red pepper flakes if you’re not a fan of spicy foods.
  • Make this dish gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta.

A bowl of escarole.

Chopped veggies on a cutting board.

Uncooked Italian chicken sausage.

chicken sausage chunks and veggies satueed in a pan.

Escarole on a plate

More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:

Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole

5 from 24 votes
Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole is an easy weeknight dish!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
A bowl of Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups


  • 12 oz Ronzoni Smart taste pasta, or whole wheat or low carb
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium head escarole, rinsed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste


  • Rinse escarole and tear into bite sized pieces.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions for al dente.
  • Reserve 1 cup water before draining.
  • Meanwhile, while pasta water boils, heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  • Add olive oil; when hot add onions, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add escarole, cover and cook 2 minutes; remove the cover, stir and cook about 3 more minutes or until wilted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add cooked pasta, red pepper flakes, reserved water and Parmigiano Reggiano, toss well and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 1/2 cups, Calories: 297.7 kcal, Carbohydrates: 47.2 g, Protein: 20.6 g, Fat: 5.5 g, Fiber: 7.5 g, Sugar: 1.1 g


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134 comments on “Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole”

  1. Oh. So. Good. 
    Made this to a T” with only 8oz’s whole wheat pasta, hot Italian chicken sausage, used 5 huge cloves of garlic, but then added 8oz of my favorite mushrooms to the pan with the bell pepper and onions and added  3/4 cup of my favorite Parmesan red sauce at the end with the noodles, and only half the pasta water. 

    I. Am. In. Love. It’s almost got a Thai inspired flavor based on the Italian chicken sausage I used but it’s just so hearty and delicious. I made 7 servings, 315cal/serving with 33g carbs, 27g protein and 12g fat. It’s a perfect light lunch portion or double for a very hearty dinner. 

  2. Avatar photo

    Just tried this tonight because I had Trader Joe’s sweet chicken sausage in the refrigerator and shopped around on the internet for recipes with what I had on hand.  I did not have red bell pepper and went without. Followed other people’s suggestion and added chicken bouillon to the reserved pasta water. I also used spinach since I also had that on hand. All in all this dish was OK,  I wouldn’t say I was blown away by any stretch but it could be good grub for a hungry crowd.  Worth a try at least once to see which family members especially liked it, or not. 

  3. Gina, you are the best!  I’ve been making your recipes for years and you’ve helped not only my husband and I but also our adult children eat healthy, wonderful dinners.  My husband always confuses names, therefore, in our family, you are known as skinny ginny.  The kids tease that we’re all skinny ginny’d around here.  This dish as well as all your others is healthy, delicious, easy and nutritionally sound.  I’m thankful for you.  

  4. I made this tonight substituting mushrooms for half of the sausage and spinach instead of the escarole. Since one family member can't have cheese I left that off and used better than bullion to make chicken broth with the pasta water. We really enjoyed it.

  5. this on a pretty regular rotation in my house for the past year and a half, we just had it again tonight. I sometimes substitute spinach for the escarole and I like to have a mix of yellow and red peppers. Delicious. Thank you!

  6. I made this tonight with spinach instead of escarole and I replaced half of the bell pepper with portobello mushrooms. I also left out the red pepper flakes since my family won't eat spicy food. We loved it and have leftovers for lunch.

  7. This was delicious. Couldn't find any escarole, so I replaced it with kale. Spicy, hearty and flavorful. Loved it.

  8. Wow Gina! What can I say, another winner! I made this tonight for dinner and my husband and I LOVED it! I've never had Escarole before and thought it went very nice with this dish. I did add some baby bella mushrooms and I didn't have uncooked chicken sausage on hand but had some thin & trim cooked Spicy Italian chicken sausage, so I just cut them in small pieces. This is definitely on our top 5 list!

  9. Hi,
    This looks great! I have 2 questions. Does this call for 12 ounces of cooked or uncooked pasta? Also, if I wanted to lessen the amount of pasta, how else could I bulk it up? Do you recommend using more of any certain veggies? What about a can of diced tomatoes…would that work? Thank you!!!

  10. This is one of my go-to Skinnytaste recipes, Gina! I've never disliked any of your recipes, but I think this is the one I like the most (or at least it ties with the baked ziti with sausage & spinach). My favorite part is that I can make it Sunday evening, separate it into single serving tupperware, and eat it for a delicious din throughout the work week. After a long day, this makes great comfort food without that guilty feeling. Thank you!

  11. I could only find the hot sausage. Should I not add the crushed peppers? I don't want it to be "Too hot" for the other family members. I am cooking it tonight! 🙂

  12. This recipe is delicious! I am not a fan of escarole, so I substituted spinach, and it was good too. I also added green peppers to the red to give a little contrast to the sweet red peppers. This will definitely be a repeat!!

  13. I am making this tonight with spinach and roasted red pepper chicken sausage—adding baby bella mushrooms and some white wine to the "sauce," subbing spinach for the escarole and adding a mix of fresh red bell pepper and roasted red peppers to compliment the sausage. Can't wait!

  14. Made this for dinner tonight. It is soooooo yummy!! I could not add the escarole or spinach as my husband cannot have anything with Vitamin K. But it was very good anyway. I added more water than a cup and it was very saucy. A definite keeper in my recipe box!!

  15. This dish was delicious! I was a little weary due to not really having a "sauce" but it came out great. I don't have access to escarole so I used spinach and I ended up using Johnsonville chicken sausage w/apples in it and it came out great. The juice from the chicken and the veggies made a nice sauce. I also didn't use the cheese b/c I was not able to get it were I'm stationed.

  16. So, I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to think of this, since I had no idea what escarole was (maybe we call it something different in England?). However I followed the recipe tonight exactly how it was written. OH – MY – GOD it is delicious! It was my first time using chicken sausage too (which my brother thinks is a crime against nature lol). The only chicken sausage I could get was one infused with pesto, so I'm sure that only added to the party that was taking place inside my mouth.
    For anybody that is put off by the escarole, please for the love of food, try this! I guarantee you won't regret it.

    /calculating how many minutes until lunch tomorrow 🙂

  17. Made this tonight – it was so delicious! I used the spicy Italian chicken sausage from Whole Foods and collard greens. I'm so excited for leftovers tomorrow!