Everyone loves tortellini, right? The best thing about this dish is that, on top of being delicious, it’s so easy to throw together, low mess, and only requires ONE dish. You only have to chop/mince 2 things. The rest is just measuring and pouring into a pot. So, this easy tortellini is simple enough for young kids to feel empowered to help. And it’s a great beginner dish for older kids to take the reigns!
Our family is on a bit of a sausage kick recently. I think it all started with the Sausage Orzo Soup. Now my kids are craving sausage instead of the ground beef or turkey that we usually use to make our meat sauce for pasta.
We know that sausage (especially pork sausage) is higher in fat and salt, so we are careful not to have it all the time. But we did manage to incorporate it into this tortellini dish. My kids are NUTS about cheese tortellini, so this meal was naturally a huge hit with my family.
Check it out!
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈
🍅Swap the peas. Not all kids like peas. Feel free to swap them with something your kids like, i.e. broccoli or mushrooms. If that’s the case, make sure you cook them a bit with the onion and garlic in step 1.
🍅Swap or omit the sausage. If your kids don’t like pork sausage, swap it for ground turkey, ground beef, or chicken sausage. Or, leave out the sausage altogether.
🍅Play with your food. Your kids might get more excited about dinner if they can play with their dinner 🙂 Have them make a face with the meal, using the tortellini for eyes, a tomato chunk for a nose, a line of peas for the mouth, and sprinkle some parmesan for hair.
🍅Keep it plain. Some kids don’t like “all the stuff” on the tortellini (like the onion and crushed tomatoes). You may want to set aside some plain tortellini (and cook separately) before you mix everything together. Then, you can let the kids sprinkle parmesan on the pasta. You can pop some of the frozen peas in the microwave and serve them on the side.
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴
🍅Omit or swap the sausage. You can omit the sausage and instead, add extra veggies. Or, you can swap the sausage for a meat substitute. My favorite is Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, which is pea protein-based. I’m definitely a meat eater and I’ve been using these in some dishes for years, by choice, over meat. Cook these crumbles in step 1 with the onion and garlic.
🍅Switch to Vegetable Broth/Stock. Instead of chicken stock/broth, use vegetable stock/broth. Obviously use whichever you like, but we highly recommend our fave: Better than Bouillon.
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- 1-2 T cooking oil
- 1/2 small onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage (we used pork sausage)
- 2 14 oz cans crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups chicken stock/broth
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 20 oz package cheese tortellini
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded or shaved)
Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth and heavy cream. Add spinach and peas, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
Add tortellini and cheese, and cook according to tortellini package instructions.
Stir together tortellini and sauce mixture until well blended.
Serve tortellini on plate or in bowl. If you like, sprinkle extra parmesan atop.
We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.