This recipe for Crock-Pot Tomato & Spinach Pasta is packed with flavor & veggies. The family is going to love this easy recipe. Serve with garlic toast!
Crock-Pot Tomato & Spinach Pasta
Italian sausage, tomatoes and spinach make for a flavorful pasta dish that is perfect for dinner any night of the week. Feel free to lighten up the recipe a little bit by using turkey Italian sausage for a little less fat and calories.
The pasta in this recipe is cooked on the stove-top according to the directions on the package of pasta until just al dente. Then the cooked pasta is added to the meaty sauce mixture right before serving. Cooking the pasta on the stove-top prevents the pasta from turning mushy.
On days that are particularly busy with my family I have had great success cooking the pasta ahead of time, draining it and cooling it under cold running water in the colander and then putting in a covered container in the refrigerator or a plastic gallon sized food storage bag. The pasta may stick together a little bit but will loosen up when mixed into the hot sauce in the slow cooker. And the sauce will warm up the pasta nicely.
- Sweet Italian Sausage – To make this recipe family friendly I used sweet Italian sausage which offers a ton of flavor and meatiness to this dish. However, if you would like a little spice in your dish feel free to use a hot Italian sausage instead.
- Yellow Onion – I like to use yellow onion when I cook most dishes but a white onion will work too. You will need to peel and dice the onion.
- Garlic – Garlic is a must in Italian pasta dishes. Mince one clove of garlic for the best flavor. But if you are in a pinch you can use 1 teaspoon of pre-minced garlic from a jar.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes – Use a high quality brand of canned tomatoes looking for a low-salt or no-salt added kind.
- Italian Seasoning -This is a blend of herbs and spices and can be found in most grocery stores and adds great Italian flavor to this dish.
- Kosher Salt – For the best flavor I use Kosher salt when cooking 99% of the time. You can use regular table salt too if you don’t have Kosher salt on hand.
- Frozen Spinach – When you start this recipe in the slow cooker, go ahead and set your frozen spinach out on the counter top and allow it to thaw while your sauce cooks. The spinach is going to go in at the end so that should give you plenty of time for the frozen spinach to thaw out.
- Rotini Pasta – This is a corkscrew shaped pasta and is just a fun shape. You can use either the plain rotini pasta or the tri-colored kind. You can also use other types of pasta too. Just look for a pasta that has some nooks and crannies and space for the sauce to hold onto the pasta.
- Mozzarella Cheese – Whenever possible I like to shred my own cheese for the best flavor and melt-ability. However if you are in a pinch for time feel free to use the pre-shredded cheese found at the grocery store.
- In a large skillet, cook Italian sausage, onion and garlic until meat is cooked and crumbled.
- Drain excess fat off the meat and add everything to a 4 quart or larger slow cooker.
Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours.
- 30 minutes prior to serving, add in spinach, cooked pasta and mozzarella cheese.
Switch to high, cover the slow cooker, and cook for 30 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
- 4 Quart Slow Cooker
- Large Skillet
- Wooden Spoon
- Large Stock Pot
- Can Opener
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Cheese Grater
Check out these Italian slow cooker recipes too!
- Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) + Video
- Crock-Pot Pesto Chicken + Video
- Slow Cooker Chicken Brushetta Bake
- Crock-Pot Zuppa Toscana
- Slow Cooker Layered Lasagna Casserole + Video
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