As a busy parent trying to juggle work, kids, and a hundred other responsibilities, getting a satisfying, homecooked dinner on the table every night can feel downright impossible some days. Like many moms and dads, I’m always on the hunt for recipes that are easy, inexpensive, and can feed my hungry kidos. That’s why ground sausage has become one of my favorite proteins items.
With just a pound of ground sausage, I can pull together a hearty, mouthwatering family dinner in 30 minutes flat, even on my most hectic days. The flavor it adds to pastas, soups, skillet meals, and more is out of this world. And compared to sausage links or patties, the ground variety is cheaper, cooks lightning fast, and offers endless possibilities to mix up our meal routine.
In this post I will share 7 satisfying ground sausage dinner recipes that my family absolutely loves. I’ve made these hearty meals countless times over the years because I know I can rely on them to please even my pickiest eaters. Keep reading for tons of easy weeknight recipe ideas featuring delicious, family-friendly ground sausage.
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Why You Should Always Keep Ground Sausage in Your Freezer
Before jumping into the ground sausage dinner recipes, let me quickly explain why ground sausage is a dinnertime game-changer for busy families like mine. Here are just a few of the reasons it’s a regular in my grocery cart and freezer:
It’s budget-friendly. Buying a roll or chub of ground sausage typically costs at least a couple dollars less per pound compared to pre-formed sausage links or patties. That adds up to large savings, in particular whilst you have got a own family to feed!
You can find it anywhere. Ground sausage is available at any major grocery store, whether that’s your local mega-mart, warehouse store, neighborhood market, butchershop, etc. There are tons of variations of packs to choose from.
It cooks up lightning fast. Thanks to the loose, crumbly texture, ground sausage browns and cooks way quicker than solid cuts of meat. I can go from fridge to finished meal in about 30 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights!
The flavor is 💥. All you need is a little ground sausage to add some serious pops of savory, peppery flavor. It’s an instant boost for soups, pasta bakes, skillet meals, you name it. My kids say things taste “spicy” and “smoky” when I add it.
You can get creative. From spicy Italian-style to maple breakfast sausage, the flavor options are endless. I love playing with different varieties and spice blends to mix up our dinner routine.
It’s crazy versatile. You can throw ground sausage in everything from pizza topping to breakfast tacos. I never run out of new ways to incorporate it into meals. The possibilities are limitless.
Now that you know why ground sausage is a regular MVP in my kitchen, let’s explore some delicious ways to use it! Keep reading for 7 ground sausage dinner recipes my whole family absolutely devours.
7 Hearty and Delicious Ground Sausage Dinner Recipes
Here are my tried-and-true easy ground sausage dinner recipes that I rely on to get a filling homemade meal on the table quickly:
1. Cheesy Sausage, Gnocchi and Spinach Skillet
This deliciously cheesy one-skillet dinner has become one of my favorite 30-minute meals. First, I cook cubed ground sausage in olive oil until browned. Then I add fresh spinach, gnocchi, and chunks of cream cheese or goat cheese or maybe vegan cheese to create an ultra-rich and creamy sauce.
The peppery sausage paired with pillowy gnocchi and melty cheese makes for a dreamy, decadent dish. Sometimes I sprinkle crunchy breadcrumbs on top for extra texture. It’s like an elevated, homemade version of a cheesy pasta skillet from a restaurant!
2. Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup
My family asks for this hearty soup again and again on chilly evenings. It’s super easy to prep – I just sauté diced Italian sausage until it browned, then add chopped onions, carrots, garlic, and some spices. After simmering the vegetables for a bit, I add chicken broth, canned white beans, and torn kale leaves and let the soup bubble away for 15-20 minutes. The smoky, flavorful sausage adds a wonderful flavor to the juice. It’s just amazing!
We garnish the bowl with grated Parmesan or Pecorino and breadcrumbs.3. Zesty Sausage, Pepper and Potato Sheet Pan Dinner
When I want an easy one-pan meal, sausage sheet pan dinners are my go-to! I cube red potatoes and bell peppers, slice onions and sausage, add olive oil and spices, then toss everything on a sheet pan. After about 30 minutes roasting in the oven, I have a hearty meal with perfectly crispy veggies and sausage. The bold sausage flavor pairs so nicely with the natural sweetness of the peppers and onions. I like to finish it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a little zing.
4. Smoky Sausage and Potato Foil Packets
These fun foil packet meals are one of my favorite easy dinners in summer. I assemble individual foil pouches with smoked sausage, baby potatoes, corn, zucchini, red onion, bell pepper, and let everyone customize and season their pack. We throw them at the grill for approximately 20 minutes until the greens are soft and the sausage is cooked through. The sealed parcels let all the smoky flavors mingle and penetrate the vegetables. Plus there are no pans to scrub!
5. Spicy Sausage Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce
If I’m seeking out something extra flavorful and filling, this spicy sausage pasta by no means shall never let me down. First I cook hot Italian sausage in a skillet until nice and browned. Then I remove the sausage and sauté onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the savory drippings. Next I splash in vodka and let it bubble for a minute before adding canned crushed tomatoes, cream, and the cooked sausage. After simmering the sauce for a bit, I toss it with hot rigatoni noodles and finish it with torn basil leaves and Parmesan cheese.
The subtle heat from the sausage and red pepper combined with the rich, tomatoey sauce is absolutely delicious. My family devours this pasta in minutes!
6. Cheesy Smoked Sausage and Rice Casserole
When I need a hearty dump-and-bake meal for easy weeknight dinners or meal prep, this cheesy sausage and rice casserole is my savior! After browning cubed smoked sausage with onion and bell pepper, I stir in pre-cooked rice, chicken broth, milk, cheddar cheese, and seasonings.
I bake the cozy, creamy mixture in the oven until heated through and the cheese is bubbling on top. The smoky, savory sausage flavor really permeates the dish. I love to sprinkle some crunchy breadcrumbs or fried onions on top for extra texture and crunch. This hearty casserole is always gobbled up!
7. Sausage Ragu Baked Ziti
Nothing says comfort food like a bubbly baked pasta. This sausage ragu ziti is a regular on my meal prep rotation because it makes amazing leftovers. After browning Italian sausage, I sauté onion and garlic until softened, then add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, Italian seasonings, and Parmesan. Once the ragu simmers, I toss it with cooked ziti noodles and spoon everything into a baking dish.
I top with more cheese then bake until hot and melty. The rich, meaty sausage infuses the tomatoey sauce with first-rate intensity of taste.And the creaminess pairs perfectly with the chewy baked ziti. I can easily get 2-3 hearty dinners out of one batch!
Cooking Tips for Sausage Newbies
If you’re just starting to cook with ground sausage, here are my best tips for handling and cooking it like a pro:
- Always remove sausage from the packaging and crumble it into small pieces before cooking. This prevents it from clumping and helps it brown evenly.
- Use a little olive oil or avocado oil in the pan to keep the sausage from sticking. Ground meat tends to stick more than solid cuts or links.
- Cook over medium heat. If the pan is too hot, the outside of the sausage can burn before the inside cooks through. Low and slow is the way to go.
- Cook until entirely browned throughout and the internal temperature reaches 160°F. No need to par-cook or boil sausage before adding to recipes!
- Balance the richness of sausage with bright acidic ingredients like lemon juice, tomatoes, vinegar or wine to cut through the fattiness.
- Incorporate fresh herbs like parsley, basil, oregano or marjoram to provide a flavor contrast to the savory sausage.
- Add a little pasta water to sausage pan sauces to give them more body and a silky texture.
Satisfy Your Family with These Hearty and Crave-Worthy Sausage Dinners
Well there you have it – 7 of my all-time favorite easy ground sausage dinner recipes that I rely on to feed my family on busy weeknights. Thanks to its perfect mixture of budget-friendly price, quick cook time, bold taste, and versatility, sausage has become an essential staple in my kitchen. I hope these ground sausage dinner recipes inspire you to start cooking with ground sausage more often!
What are some of your favorite meals for using up a pack of ground sausage? Let me know in the comments! I’m always on the hunt for new, easy dinner ideas to add to my regular recipe rotation.