Nothing says simple like a one pot dinner recipe and this creamy cajun sausage pasta recipe is exactly that! This 30-minute meal is perfect for those weeknight dinners when we're craving something that's luxuriously creamy with a spicy kick. It's an easy gluten-free recipe that's also customizable for those who prefer a little less heat (or more!) or would like it even creamier (or less creamy too!).
Who's ready to put something insanely delicious into their mouth for dinner tonight? That's not really even a question. It's just a basic life goal.
Does the idea of creamy, saucy pasta with a cajun flair pull at your heartstrings just a bit? Okay, maybe a lot? If so, this recipe is for you, bruh.
And if not, this recipe is still for you cuz I'm gonna walk you through some ways you can alter the recipe if you're shaking your head left and right at the cajun flair or, dare I say, the creaminess. This is where my fitness instructor and health coach persona want to dive in and talk about balance in food and life and that eating creamy pasta isn't going to destroy your health goals. We'll save that for another blog post conversation. But spicy food? I get it. Sometimes as much as we want, spice just doesn't agree with us or those we are serving for dinner so be sure to check out my ingredient suggestions farther down.
Let's dive into this plate of scrumptious, creamy pasta. Over and over again.
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
Aside from the obvious reasons (creamy, saucy, super-comforting pasta), this is an awesome back pocket go-to weeknight recipe because not only is it so ridiculously tasty but it's so ridiculously EASY.
- One pot. The human dishwasher in your home will love this recipe for that alone. Whenever dinner can be made in a single vessel without completely destroying the kitchen we should consider it a victory.
- 30 minutes. Failing to meal plan happens (and honestly I'm terrible at it) which can leave us staring at the dinner clock when hunger strikes feeling either a bit stressed or ready to just toss in the towel for a bag of tortilla chips. But an over-the-top tasty dinner in 30 minutes? We got this.
- Creamy, saucy, super-comforting pasta. Just cuz it's worth mentioning again. The cajun, creamy flair combined with that smokey andouille sausage elicits a chef's kiss.
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
- Andouille sausage: Smoky, cajun-style andouille sausage brings some of the spicy kick to this recipe but if you'd like to tone down the heat try mild Italian sausage (pork or chicken) or kielbasa smoked sausage instead. For a vegan version of this recipe use vegan andouille sausage (but be mindful that many vegan sausages are not gluten-free). Brand suggestion: Hempler's Andouille Sausage
- Cajun seasoning: You could make a homemade cajun seasoning blend but I went the quick and easy route with a store-bought cajun seasoning mix. DO NOT use cajun seasoning blends that list salt as its first ingredient, otherwise you will end up with a very salty plate of pasta. Also, feel free to use more or less than I suggest in the recipe if your tastebuds prefer a different level of spice. This recipe was developed specifically using the cajun seasoning brand I suggest. If you use a different cajun seasoning the results may be significantly more or less spicy. Brand suggestion: McCormick Grill Mates Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
- Fire-roasted tomatoes: I often use canned fire-roasted tomatoes in my recipes because I love the extra depth and subtle smokey sweetness that they add to a recipe but if you're in a pinch regular canned diced tomatoes will work as well. Brand suggestion: Muir Glen Diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
- Gluten-free penne pasta: The shape, as well as the type of pasta, is really up to you but penne pasta is definitely a good place to start. Brand suggestion: Jovial Gluten-Free Penne Rigate
- Chicken broth: Cook the pasta in broth in order to skip that extra step of cooking the pasta in a separate pot of water (less dishes to wash!) and to help create that creamy, flavorful sauce we long for. I haven't tried making this recipe with veggie broth but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Just be mindful that veggie broth will change the flavor of the finished dish and the intended outcome of this recipe.
- Cream cheese: This is what elevates the sauce to next level tasty. I give my suggestion for how much to use in the recipe card below but feel free to add more or less. This is really where you can decide how you'd like to unleash your creamy pasta sauce goals. You can also substitute vegan cream cheese if that's your calling.
- Veggies: Red and orange bell peppers along with some sliced baby bella mushrooms were the path I took but sliced onions would also be delish. Broccoli or cauliflower florets would be great as well.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Crisp up the sausage in a large skillet. Typically andouille sausage releases enough of its own fats to skip any need for adding extra oil to the skillet for sautéing. It will be tempting to snack on a few, so just embrace it and give one (or two) of those medallions a 'taste test'.
Step 2: Once the sausage is browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Then sauté the peppers and mushrooms in the same pan used for the sausage.
Step 3: After the peppers and mushrooms have sautéed for a bit, add in the fire-roasted tomatoes, cajun seasoning, pasta, and chicken broth. Give everything a stir to combine.
Step 4: Put the lid on, bring to a boil, and let it cook babe. Your inner food soul is beginning to sing now.
Step 5: Once the pasta reaches that perfect al dente state of being, stir in the cream cheese. This is where the creamy magic reveals itself.
Step 6: Add the sausage back in. Maybe add a little more cream cheese too cuz there's an inner tugging telling us to just go for it.
Step 7: Add fresh Italian parsley! For a fresh pop of color and taste.
Step 8: Serve it with an optional side of red pepper flakes for another hit of spice, tuck a napkin into your shirt collar, and dig into that plate of creamy cajun pasta heaven.
👩🍳 Recipe tips!
- Be sure to use a large skillet! There is nothing worse than making a one pot meal and discovering partway through the cooking process that your vessel is too small. I love my 3.5-Quart Staub braiser with a glass lid for recipes like this. It's great for sauteing, perfect for holding a lot of food, and the glass lid allows me to peep at the food without continually lifting the lid off.
- Occasionally stir the pasta while it's cooking. Since we are using juuust enough liquid to cook the pasta and make the creamy sauce at the same time, we need to stir the pasta every once in a while to ensure even cooking and to release the pasta from the bottom of the skillet if it begins to stick. A non-stick or enameled cooking vessel (such as the one I suggested above) can help prohibit the pasta from excessively sticking to the pan.
💭 Frequently asked questions:
This recipe would be completely delish with chicken, prawns, shrimp, or even crayfish. Ooooh, or try a combo such as chicken and shrimp together!
Try substituting Greek yogurt in place of the cream cheese. Begin with a ¼ cup yogurt and then add more as needed. However, know that the creamy texture and flavor of the sauce will be altered some. But please do try this recipe at least once with the cream cheese.
Sure! Cook the recipe as stated, then divide into separate containers, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply reheat when ready to eat!
Easiest creamy pasta dinner recipe is calling. Get the dinner bell ready because it's only going to take 30 minutes. ♡
🎥 Watch how to make this cajun pasta!
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