Vegan Italian Sausage and Sweet Pepper Penne. Photo by News Canada

Start slow and simple if you’re looking to add plant-based offerings to your dinner repertoire. For example, this vegan take on a comfort-food favourite combines plant-based sweet Italian sausages with a handful of pantry staples.

Vegan Italian Sausage and Sweet Pepper Penne

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 pkg (400 g) PC plant-based sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 each sweet red and yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (796 mL) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) each salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup (83 mL) lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus additional for garnish
  • 4 cups (1 L / ¾ lb / 340 g) dry penne
Directions:

1. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook sausages, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through; about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Set aside.

2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally until softened; about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant; about about 1 minute. Add sweet peppers; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender-crisp; about 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Stir in diced tomatoes (with juices), salt and black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened; about 18 to 20 minutes.

4. Slice sausages into ¾-inch (2 cm) thick rounds; stir into sauce. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover; stir in basil.

5. Meanwhile, bring large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stir occasionally until water returns to a boil. Cook according to package directions or until al dente or tender but firm; 11 to 12 minutes. Drain.

6. Divide pasta among serving plates or bowls. Top with sauce, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with basil.

Tip: Nutritional yeast makes a great vegan alternative to grated Parmesan – try sprinkling it over top of your pasta before serving.

Nutritional information per 2 cups: calories 400, fat 12 g, sodium 570 mg, carbohydrates 61g,?dietary fibre 8 g, sugars 9 g, protein 16 g.? 

—NC

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