ATK Kids

Get Your Kids to Eat Peas! (With Pasta and Sausage)

This one-pot meal is so good kids won't even care that they’re eating peas.

Published May 4, 2022.

When there’s a picky kid in the house, it can be tough to squeeze in a serving of veggies at dinner time. I should know. I was that picky kid, known to choke down vegetables while tasting them as little as possible. But this one-pot recipe for pasta with peas and sausage is one surefire way to get kids to eat something green—and enjoy it.

Sign up for the Cook's Country Dinner Tonight newsletter

10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

How am I so confident the picky eater in your life will give this dish the thumbs up? At ATK Kids, every recipe we publish is kid tested and kid approved, meaning thousands of kids make our recipes before they get the stamp of approval. And this recipe was very well received: One kid tester wrote, “It makes my tummy feel warm and fuzzy. It tastes so good that when I feel full I still want to eat another bite.”

If that’s not a ringing endorsement then I don’t know what is. Plus, cooking the whole thing in one pot makes for easy cleanup. It’s just one of many kid-friendly recipes you can find in The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists, the fourth book in our New York Times best-selling cookbook series for young chefs.


The dish starts with ground sweet Italian sausage and chopped onion, which get sautéed together in a Dutch oven until the sausage is browned and dark brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pot. These browned bits, or fond, add lots of meaty flavor to the dish. Then, we add a precise amount of meaty chicken broth and pasta shells to make it a one-pot meal–no separate pasta boiling required. With the perfect ratio of liquid to pasta, the shells will absorb enough broth to both cook to al dente and thicken the sauce.

We round out the dish with lemon zest and juice for brightness; a handful of grated Parmesan for cheesy, umami richness; and, of course, the peas (we prefer frozen ones, which are sweeter and more convenient). The citrusy, savory notes balance the sweetness of the peas to make a dish that has way more kid appeal than a boring side of steamed peas. 

Picky-kid parents: You’ll want to add this recipe to your arsenal—I sure bet my parents wish they had it when I was a kid.

One-Pot Shells with Peas and Sausage

This pasta cooks right in the sauce (instead of separately in boiling water), so it absorbs lots of flavor—and there’s fewer dishes to wash!

Hey! Did you know ATK Kids has its very own YouTube channel? Subscribe now and watch great, funny, silly, and delicious cooking videos for the whole family.

This is a members' feature.