Italian Sausage Spinach Pasta Bake

Pasta bakes aren’t generally thought of as a “light” dish, but this one combines whole wheat pasta, vitamin-rich spinach, juicy tomatoes, turkey sausage and reduced fat cheese to create a hearty, satisfying and delicious meal that’s also healthy! I lightened this dish up from the original recipe, but you won’t miss any of the calories once you taste your first bite of cheesy, meaty pasta goodness. I used hot Italian sausage for the added flavor but if you prefer, mild would work just as well. One serving of this is very filling and you could definitely serve this to guests without them realizing it’s been lightened up. Definitely recommended!

Italian Sausage Spinach Pasta Bake

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz whole wheat pasta (I used spirals)
  • 1 lb Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup fat free half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on box, then drain and set aside.
  3. While pasta cooks, in a large sauté pan, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat, breaking up sausage until it is browned. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add pasta, spinach and half-and-half to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Heat through and then pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella and then Parmesan cheese evenly over the top. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
8 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Adapted from Taste of Home