Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne

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This is one of those meals that you can make somewhat last minute, but don’t need to sacrifice health or taste. This recipe only takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours in the slow cooker, and it’s wonderfully quick to throw together. It’s perfect for those nights when you have to drop the kids off at practice and run errands, but want to get dinner started first so it’s ready when you get back. Slow cooker methods are great like this for saving time and for convenience.

Our slow cooker penne is packed with healthy ingredients and is great for when you have a hankering for a filling pasta dish. If you love the rich taste of noodles and ooey-gooey cheese mixed with fresh tomato sauce, this is the Italian style penne recipe for you. Just a small serving provides plenty of nutrition and leaves you feeling full for several hours after you eat. It pairs well with whole grain bread or a fresh salad, or is great reheated the next day for lunch.

If you are looking for a convenient way to enjoy a pasta dish that tastes like you spent several hours working in the kitchen, this is a great option.

This Italian style penne is not our only option for convenient, healthy meals. Click here for the Top 10 Slow Cooker Recipes on SkinnyMs.

Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne

Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne

Yields: 6 Servings | Serving Size: 1 Cup | Calories: 293 | Total Fat: 8 gm | Saturated Fats: 2 gm | Trans Fats: 0 gm | Cholesterol: 4 mg | Sodium: 190 mg | Carbohydrates: 22 gm| Dietary fiber: 4 gm | Sugars: 3 gm | Protein: 6 gm | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 6 |


  • 2 (15 ounce) cans low sodium no sugar added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium kidney beans
  • 1/2 pound dry, whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup low sodium, chicken or vegetable broth
  • Balsamic Vinegar to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. 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.
  2. Top with a small amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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19 Comments on "Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne"

  1. Staffpurrson  April 9, 2012

    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.

    • skinnyms  April 9, 2012

      Regular will work but the small shells might get mushy.

  2. Wolfe518  June 19, 2012

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

    • Skinny Ms.  June 19, 2012

      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. Kim Sztajer Parnis  July 31, 2012

    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. tennisgal  August 30, 2012

    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. k8  August 30, 2012

    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.

    • Skinny Ms.  September 1, 2012

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

  6. alison  September 3, 2012

    loved the idea of this – simple and tasty but in actuality it was way too mushy.

  7. Brett  January 22, 2013

    Love this recipe, perfect for when I'm entertaining all my vegetarian friends!

  8. Amanda W  February 20, 2013

    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.

    • Skinny Ms.  February 24, 2013

      Amanada, Add the cubed cooked chicken at the beginning.

  9. Steph  August 20, 2013

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

  10. emily  November 4, 2013

    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!

  11. Ashlee Hood  July 22, 2018

    Would it have the same taste if I use white kidney beans?

    • Gale Compton  July 23, 2018

      Ashlee, Probably a slightly different taste, but a good one. 🙂


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