pantry pasta with black beans, kale and spicy chicken sausage

Let’s clean out our kitchens, shall we? And while we’re at it, let’s dump everything in the fridge in a pan and make some pasta!

Pantry pasta: what you make when you have a bunch of random leftovers in the fridge and need a hot meal, stat.

In my pantry pasta, I used a big bunch of kale that I had bought and forgotten about was saving, some Trader Joe’s spicy jalapeno chicken sausage, leftover cuban black beans, garlic and feta cheese! You can’t go wrong with feta cheese.

And let me tell you, it turned out really great! Not only did I find a use for all the odds and ends in my fridge, but I had a meal that lasted days and made for wonderful lunches while I cooked.

I love it when things just work.

Pantry Pasta with Black Beans, Kale and Spicy Chicken Sausage

serves 3

Print this recipe!


6 oz bow-tie pasta (I just eyeball it and use half a bag)

1 large bunch lacinato kale, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken sausage links, sliced (I used Trader Joe’s jalapeno chicken sausage)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

1/4 tsp black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook bow-tie past until its el dente, then drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the sliced chicken sausage. Cook sausage for about five minutes, until golden on both sides. Then, add the garlic, kale, red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of sea salt. Continue sauteing until kale begins to wilt. Add black beans and heat through.

Add hot pasta to the kale as well as the feta cheese and pepper. Season with additional sea salt to taste.



15 minutes


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  • Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
    January 31, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I love how healthy and quick this is! Thank you for the great recipe Jenna! πŸ˜€

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married)
    January 31, 2012 at 3:58 am

    You reminded me how I need to clean out my pantry. I’m guessing what I find in there won’t look nearly as good as what you whipped up though! πŸ™‚

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    January 31, 2012 at 3:59 am

    I love how simple this is, yet how pretty it looks! Yum πŸ™‚

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    January 31, 2012 at 4:17 am

    You’re a mind reader – I was actually going to make something similar for dinner tonight!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    January 31, 2012 at 4:33 am

    I’m loving all things black beans lately so this is right up my alley!

  • Blog is the New Black
    January 31, 2012 at 4:41 am

    Yesssssss! Heart black beans!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    January 31, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Cleaning out my pantry/cupboards is definitely something I need to do! I love it when meals come together in seconds with ingredients I already have. This pasta sounds delicious!

  • Sarah
    January 31, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I made a pantry pasta dish last night except mine included sweet potatoes and zuchinni πŸ™‚

  • Kristin @ FoodFash
    January 31, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Sausage is on a mission this week! Everyone must have substance and spice on the brain to combat chilly weather.

  • Julie @ Table for Two
    January 31, 2012 at 5:33 am

    love the idea of finding whatever you have in the pantry and tossing it in a pot!! looks delicious!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    January 31, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Love pantry meals! It’s so satisfying to get rid of that last bit of whatever has been hanging around for a little too long.

  • HRCK the Herald
    January 31, 2012 at 5:42 am

    You had me at “pantry.” I love things that I can most likely make without another trip to the store.

    Enjoy your trip!!!

  • Elizabeth @ Chronic Venture
    January 31, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I love when things you have lying around just come together so perfectly! Looks delicious, Jenna.

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb
    January 31, 2012 at 6:01 am

    i agree. feta makes everything better. and i’m a fan of any recipe that cleans out my fridge and cabinets!

  • Margarita
    January 31, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Quick and easy meal! The best part is knowing that you won’t have to toss anything out because it can be put into something delicious like this.

  • Izzie
    January 31, 2012 at 6:25 am

    This looks delicious! Do you think it would work with a garbanzo bean/goat cheese substitution? πŸ™‚

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    January 31, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Love that: pantry pasta.

    I’ve still yet to try kale… One of these days! Do you have to do anything special to it or can you just put in a salad like normal? I remember hearing about massaging kale a few years ago..

  • Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy
    January 31, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Love how colorful this dish is with the kale! Looks delicious!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    January 31, 2012 at 6:51 am

    This looks so simple and so fresh. Love it!

  • Lu
    January 31, 2012 at 6:55 am

    This sounds amazing! I love how bright it is and I’m all for an easy meal.

  • Cait's Plate
    January 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

    It’s 32 degrees out right now and that looks like the most comforting thing in the world. I wish I had it for lunch!

  • Lauren
    January 31, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I love pasta dishes like this! Divine, my dear!

  • Deanna B.
    January 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Love pantry meals, especially when you have a leftover that you’re so sick of eating, and manage to make it into something completely different.

  • Urban Wife
    January 31, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Sometimes the seemingly oddest combination of leftover pantry items can be magically transformed into a delicious meal! This one sounds like no exception!

  • Jen of My Tiny Oven
    January 31, 2012 at 8:20 am

    This looks like the perfect pasta to me! YUM!!

  • Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables
    January 31, 2012 at 8:22 am

    cleaning out the pantry meals are my fav, and they often come out better than pre-planned meals! My favorite is “cleaning out my pantry quesadilla” πŸ™‚

  • Bev Weidner
    January 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

    This meal was made for me. And I was made for it. And we were made for each other. Til Kingdom come.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    January 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I love fridge and pantry cleanout meals…and when they turn out as good looking as this one does, that’s icing on the cake. I want to take a big bite out of that kale sautee pan!

  • Laura @ She Eats Well
    January 31, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Well what do you know? I have got a beautiful bunch of kale in my refrigerator, just waiting to be used. And some sausage too. Perfect timing!

  • Mary @ Bake Break
    January 31, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I’m cleaning out my kitchen also – but most of my creations aren’t nearly as delicious looking as yours! I have heaps of barley I’m needing to use up – ARGH! Great recipe, as usual!

  • Deirdre @ Oh Well Whatever
    January 31, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Love it, I am wanting us use kale more and love new ideas. I also love the addition of the pinterest button, thanks!

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    January 31, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I love recipes like this! If it’s in the fridge/pantry put it in!

  • Sonia the Mexigarian
    January 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

    LOL! I made something very similar to this last week. I was going to do the brie pasta and kale with bacon, but used penne with brie and kale and garlic chicken sausage from TJ’s. it was so yum πŸ™‚

  • Jen
    January 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I must try that sausage! I wanted to ask you how you take your coffee? With milk or sugar or just black? I’ve been trying different combos but haven’t hit the right one yet.

    • jenna
      January 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I usually just drink my coffee black or with a little cream.

  • Michelle
    January 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    yum! I love clean out the pantry meals. I’m going to have to put this in the rotation! We’ve been working on clean out the freezer meals lately and I SO wish we had a Trader Joes so I’d stop hoarding things in my freezer from there. Last night was freezer soup night…yum yum yum! Those pot stickers from TJ’s make a great addition.

  • Kiran @
    January 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Great recipe and perfect for a few ounces of pasta just taking up space in my pantry πŸ™‚

  • Laura
    January 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Hey Jenna, what/where did you find your white pasta bowls?? I have been searching high and low for some. Thanks!

  • Krissy's Creations
    January 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I love when I can empty out my fridge and cupboards and make dinner with what I have extra on hand. You know what… I have pasta, black beans, kale, and chicken sausage, all in my house right now ready to be used!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
    January 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    What a great dish! My fridge could use a good clean out!

  • Michelle
    January 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Wow- I would have never thought of this combo on my own, but it sounds great! I’ve got some kale just waiting to be consumed in a fun and creative way right now.

  • Molly
    January 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Looks good! Are you still baking your great grandmother’s recipes?

    • jenna
      January 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Yep! I just took a couple weeks off but will be starting again in February!

  • Living The Sweet Life
    January 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I’m quickly becoming addicted to kale – – this recipe isn’t helping the situation… YUUUUUMMMMM. Guess what’s for dinner tomorrow night πŸ˜‰ lol I love it!!

  • Emily
    January 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I made this for supper, seriously good!

  • Rachael @ FreshlyMinted
    February 1, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I LOVE “clean out the fridge” meals (and I think all of these ingredients are hiding in there somewhere!

  • Tasha
    February 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I love this idea. One of my favorite meals is an “everything but the kitchen sink” pasta dish!

  • Charlotte Marie
    February 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Made this tonight with goat cheese and left out the black beans – was a hit! I was thinking caramelized onions would be a nice addition next time. Thanks for the recipe!

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  • April Knight
    January 9, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Looks yammy!!)) Thanks for recipe!)
    I want to rtry!))
    This is my favourite – mushrooms avocado pasta
    3.5 ounces Penne Pasta
    5 ounces Mushrooms
    Β½ Red Onion
    3 ounces Fresh Spinach
    1 Avocado
    Β½ Lime
    3 minced cloves Garlic
    1,5 oz Parsley
    2 tbsp Almond Milk
    4 tbsp Water
    1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Β½ tsp Salt
    Pinch of Black Pepper