This easy vegan ricotta pasta has a fresh 5-minute tomato sauce, plant-based sausage, hearty kale, Italian basil, and the best noodles all layered into a one-dish meal.
If you adore pasta but hold back from eating it for health reasons, this recipe made with creamy non-dairy cheese and whole-food penne noodles has some key advantages over less nutritious pasta plates.
⭐ Why it works
- Protein boosted by plant-based sausage.
- Whole-grain - with slow-dried, bronze-cut, brown rice penne.
- Superfood with dark green kale.
🥣 Vegan ricotta
This healthy pasta plate is crazy delicious and one of our favorite meals to share with non-vegan companions. They love our Homemade Vegan Ricotta that takes this dish over the top.
But don't stress if you aren't able to make the cheese from scratch. You can find a recommendation for the next-best-tasting store bought-alternatives in the FAQ below.
🍝 Gluten-free pasta
For this dish, I chose one of my favorite artisan dried noodles. It has the perfect al-dente bite and tastes incredible.
Silky olive oil, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and fine sea salt dress the penne, while rich, cheesy, plant-based ricotta made without tofu replaces regular cheese.
The pasta is easy to prepare, and you can have it on the table in under 30 minutes.
- Pasta - Our favorite brand for penne is Jovial, but you can substitute others if you prefer.
- Tomatoes - Meaty Roma tomatoes work well, the riper, the better.
- Ricotta - Homemade is best, and delicious-tasting vegan ricotta from the market is second-best.
- Kale - Tender red Russian and baby kale cook quickly in the pasta water when noodles are al dente.
- Vegan sausage - This can be gluten-free and soy-free if you choose Beyond Sausage. Available in spicy or sweet Italian flavors.
Cook pasta ingredients
- Combine diced tomatoes, garlic, and salt with olive oil.
- Cook tomatoes into a rich sauce.
- Brown vegan sausage and keep warm.
- Boil pasta and kale in the same pot.
Assemble pasta on plates
Here's a visual on how to layer all the goodies for your loaded Italian ricotta pasta and full instructions are in the recipe card below. Don't you just love those pillows of creamy ricotta?
- Set out individual plates.
- Alternate layers of pasta with kale, red sauce, and sausage.
- Top with vegan ricotta
- Garnish with torn basil leaves and vegan parmesan.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Warm ricotta to room temperature while making the recipe.
- Boil pasta water and hold while chopping tomatoes.
- Add a teaspoon each of salt and olive oil to the cooking water.
- Cook penne noodles until almost done. Then add kale to noodles and finish cooking for 2 minutes.
- Brown sausage while tomato sauce cooks and keep it warm while noodles and kale finish.
- Tear large basil leaves in half and leave small ones whole.
- Layer everything onto warm plates for serving.
It depends on which brand you buy, so be sure to read the label. Fortunately, there are brands that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, like the one used in this recipe, so we've got you covered if those are your preferences.
🧀 More vegan cheese
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Sausage Kale and Ricotta Penne Pasta
- 4 oz. Jovial brand whole grain brown rice penne
- 1 TB olive oil plus 2 teaspoons divided
- 2 cups seeded and diced ripe Roma tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic sliced thin
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 oz. coarsely chopped tender or baby kale
- 3 oz. sliced plant-based Italian sausage
- ½ cup Fluffy Homemade Ricotta or store-bought vegan ricotta
- ½ cup loosely packed whole basil leaves
- Take ricotta from the refrigerator, measure it out, and warm it to room temperature while preparing pasta.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. Add diced tomatoes, garlic, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Cook until tomatoes begin breaking down and juices start to evaporate.
- While tomato sauce cooks, bring two quarts of water to a boil. Heat 1 teaspoon(s) of olive oil in a large skillet and brown vegan sausage on both sides. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Boil pasta and kale
- Boil pasta for 10 minutes or until al dente. Add chopped kale and continue cooking for 2 minutes or more until both pasta and kale are tender. Drain pasta and kale in a colander. Place pasta back in the pot it was boiled in. Stir in 1 teaspoon(s) of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Serve pasta on individual plates. Alternate layers of tomato sauce, pasta with kale, and browned sausage. Top layered pasta with dollops of ricotta.
- Top layered pasta with dollops of ricotta.
- Garnish plates of pasta with torn basil leaves, vegan parmesan, and red chili flakes.