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Brussels sprouts and pasta

Brussels sprouts and pasta

A few weeks ago I came across a recipe for pasta with Brussels sprouts and walnuts. The combination sounded appealing, until I looked at the actual recipe. No cheese on this pasta, and a dressing based on water. Hmmm.  The nutrition information also looked suspicious, so I checked the calories and protein, using values from the USDA FoodData Central. Sure enough, both of these over stated the values. A “serving” had much less protein that claimed. The calories were also a bit lower. For a vegan recipe, it’s not a good protein source.But nothing wrong with Brussels sprouts.  They have a hearty flavor and chewy texture.  And preparation has moved away from boiling to roasting, which brings out the unique flavor.  You can also slice uncooked sprouts very thin (frisée) and add to a salad (a food processor with a slicing disc works well for that). They’re low calories, high fiber, a decent source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, vitamin A and lutein/zeaxanthin.  Just not a good source of protein.

Tired of marinara? Try Brussels sprouts with your pasta

I liked the basic ingredients for that recipe, but I made my own version to boost protein. This recipe can be prepared vegan (omit cheese), vegetarian or with some added meat. Also my version doesn’t use a dressing, since I couldn’t be bothered to use a food processor or blender and then have to wash it. The seasonings can be mixed directly into the pasta.

If you like whole wheat pasta, go ahead and use that. I just used regular pasta. I do recommend using a short shape pasta (rotini, penne, etc..), rather than long noodles, but again it’s your choice.

Brussels sprouts and pasta

March 19, 2024
: 3
: 1 hr
: 30 min
: 1 hr
: moderate

I blanched the Brussels sprouts before roasting, which preserves moisture. Note that sausage and bacon are optional, and are not intended to be major ingredients, more for the added flavor.


  • 1/2 lb uncooked pasta, whole wheat if you like
  • 1 lb (or more) fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 TB lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • OPTIONAL: 1 cooked Italian sausage, or 3-4 pieces cooked bacon, chopped.
  • Step 1 Heat oven to 350º
  • Step 2 Wash Brussels sprouts and trim the ends. Cut in half and put in a sauce pan, covered in water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain.
  • Step 3 Arrange the sprouts in one layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil and stir to coat. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, stirring in the minced garlic 1-2 minutes before they’re done. Remove from oven and set aside
  • Step 4 Meanwhile put the walnuts on another sheet pay and toast in the oven for 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Step 5 Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and put the pasta back into the pot. Toss with the olive oil.
  • Step 6 Roughly chop the cooled walnuts, and add to the pot along with the Brussels sprouts, cheese, and meat if using.
  • Step 7 Stir the mustard into the lemon juice and add to the pot.
  • Step 8 Mix everything together and taste for salt, adding more if necessary.
  • Step 9 Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.