Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne

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Everyone loves pasta, especially when it's healthy!

slow cooker italian penne

For many of us, the allure of Italian cuisine is undeniable, and crockpot pasta dishes sit at its heart, especially for busy moms and families. The Slow Cooker Italian Penne is an easy recipe that brings that Italian allure to your kitchen, and guess what? This is one Italian masterpiece that doesn’t need you to be a seasoned chef. Even beginners can craft this dish perfectly the first time, and the only thing you need is a slow cooker and some delicious, nutritious ingredients. It’s really the perfect meal – soon to be your favorite Italian dish!

Why the Slow Cooker Italian Penne is a Must-Try

There are many reasons to give our slow cooker Italian penne a try, but here are some of the biggest! Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

Simplicity at Its Finest

Our Italian Penne boasts simple ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store, or you might already have at home! The magic in the delicious flavor lies in the type of pasta – whole grain penne – tomato paste, quality cheese, and Italian seasoning come together to form a mouthwatering spaghetti sauce.

Tailored for the Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is an unsung hero on a busy day. All it asks for is a sprinkle of Italian dressing, a dollop of tomato paste, and other ingredients. Let them simmer, and the result is a pasta dish that’ll remind you of Italy’s finest.

Adaptable and Inclusive

From meat-lovers to vegans, the Slow Cooker Italian Penne caters to all. With its adaptable base recipe, anyone can turn this into their personalized masterpiece.

Ingredients That Make This Dish Shine

Whole Grain Penne & Italian Seasoning: This is where health meets flavor. The nutty taste of whole grain penne, combined with the aromatic Italian seasoning, sets the base for this dish.

Tomato Paste & Spaghetti Sauce: Thicker than your average tomato sauce, the tomato paste infuses the dish with a concentrated tomato flavor. When combined with spaghetti sauce, the result is rich and tangy.

Parmesan Cheese: Italian dishes and parmesan cheese go hand in hand. This cheese introduces a creamy, savory note, making every bite memorable.

Your Culinary Map to Crafting this Dish

  1. Preliminary Steps: In a large skillet, brown some ground beef, adding garlic powder for an extra kick. If you’re a garlic aficionado, garlic bread on the side would be heavenly.
  2. Slow Cooker Time: Transfer your beef to the slow cooker, and introduce the penne, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, Italian dressing, and Italian seasoning. Let the slow cooking time work its magic, aiming for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours on high heat.
  3. Finale: When it’s ready, generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and serve hot. Perhaps with a side of garlic bread?

Beyond the Basics: Making This Easy Meal Your Own

Ground beef is a classic choice, but the Slow Cooker Italian Penne accommodates all preferences. Vegetarians can throw in a medley of bell peppers and zucchini, while those leaning vegan can swap regular cheese for its vegan counterpart.

Storing Your Masterpiece

If by some miracle there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container. These dishes often taste even richer the next day, as flavors have more time to mingle making for a delicious dinner night after night. Heat it up for a great meal that offers comfort and nostalgia, especially on busy weeknights.

Concluding Thoughts: Italian Penne – The Jewel of Italian Cuisine

Navigating through the world of pasta can be overwhelming, but the Slow Cooker Italian Penne stands out. It’s the harmony of simple ingredients, the reduced cooking time, and the versatility that make it a star. This dish is bound to be a family favorite, promising comfort after a long day, or offering warmth on a chilly evening.

Pair it with a salad or garlic bread, and you’ve got yourself a full-fledged Italian feast. It’s the embodiment of what a great meal should be – simple, delicious, and heartwarming. So, on your next free evening or weekend, give this dish a whirl. It might just become a staple in your culinary repertoire. Buon appetito!

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Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne

This vegetarian Italian dish is full of flavor and is easy to put together in one pot!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1 cup
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Author SkinnyMs.


  • 30 ounces canned diced tomatoes low sodium, no sugar added
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans low sodium
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat penne pasta dry
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth, low sodium
  • balsamic vinegar to taste
  • parmesan cheese for garnish


  • For this recipe, you will want to layer your ingredients. Place the pasta on the bottom of your slow cooker insert. On top of that, pour the diced tomatoes. Then add the beans. Pour the broth over the top. Sprinkle the Italian herb seasoning, garlic, and onion powder over the top and cook on low for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until pasta is cooked to your liking. It's okay to lift the lid on this one to check. When finished, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to taste.
  • Top with a small amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 190mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 6
Keywords Diabetic-Friendly, Pasta, Slow Cooker, Vegetarian

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There’s More Where that Came From

One-Pot Chicken Artichoke Penne

If you enjoyed our slow cooker Italian penne, you might also like to try:

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  1. Will this work as well with regular (NOT whole wheat) pasta? And with rotini or elbows as well as penne? I wouldn't attempt this with flat noodles.

  2. How could you incorporate some ground beef into this meal?…brown it first & add on top of diced tomatoes?

    1. Yes, brown the meat until no longer pink, add as one of the layers in the slow-cooker and follow the same instructions for cook time.

  3. I made this recipe today.  It was super simple.  Unfortunately my whole wheat noodles turned to mush!   I think I would try this again, but cook the noodles traditionally and then add them at the end.

  4. Sounds good in theory, but noodles ended up being a huge lump of mush. If tried again, would make on the stove/traditional way.

  5. I made this and it was not delicious. =( From the photo it's obvious the noodles were overcooked and I actually wanted that. But I don't think whole wheat pasta can be overcooked??? It was mushy. I also had to add more broth to keep it from getting dry. BUT the spices and sauce were good that is why I gave it 2 stars. Although, I probably will not make this again.

    1. Sorry to hear that. Maybe you will have better luck making this on top of the stove. Thanks so much for the feedback.

  6. How would I add chicken to this? I think I will also keep my noodles out and cook everything else together and then add the noodles after cooking them on the stove top.

  7. I liked this recipe! I added cottage cheese and sundried tomatoes and used rice pasta instead. It was delicious!

  8. I'm so sad- it was mushy! I have a question. Maybe everyone's is mushy because it's cooked on HI and supposed to be cooked on LOW? You said 1.5-2 hrs… is that on LOW? Thanks!

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