Lemon Brussels Sprout Pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes and is packed with fresh Brussel sprouts, cannellini beans, lemon, and plenty of Parmesan cheese for an easy meatless meal.
Looking for more plant-based meals? This delicious Brussels Sprout Pasta is packed with vegetables, beans, and whole-wheat pasta. Then to kick up the flavor, it's finished with tons of fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and a dollop of ricotta.
Brussels sprouts are high on my list as one of my very favorite vegetables. Considering I grew up in the '80s where virtually every kid's show mocked the Brussels sprout, I never had really had them until I was an adult. But now they reign as one of my top veggie choices and I am constantly roasting them, tossing them in salads, and looking for new ways to utilize the lovely Brussels sprout.
Lately, I have loved working this yummy veggie into pasta dishes. It adds the perfect amount of earthiness and is paired with lemon, Parmesan, lots of garlic, and red pepper flakes. Trust me, this pasta dish is bursting with flavor. Make sure to get the sprouts to caramelize a bit during cooking to add just a touch of sweetness to the dish and if you like things spicy, add some extra red pepper flakes.
Ingredients and Easy Swaps
Here are the key ingredients for this recipe and some easy swaps if you need them.
- Whole wheat pasta: Since the pasta in this recipe is cooked separately, the recipe can be made with any type of pasta you have on hand. This includes regular pasta, gluten-free varieties like chickpea or lentil pasta, and low-carb pasta options. All pasta shapes will work as well.
- Brussels sprouts: The star of this recipe is the Brussels sprouts, but if you don't have any on hand, another veggie will work. Consider cabbage or bok choy for a similar flavor. Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and spinach would all work as well.
- Cannellini beans: To add some protein to this recipe, cannellini beans are a great option with their mild flavor. Chickpeas would also work.
- Garlic, onion, and seasoning: To develop the flavor of the pasta and sauce, this recipe starts with a combination of onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. If you love more herbal notes, feel free to add some Italian seasoning, thyme, or rosemary as well.
- Lemon: With all the earthy flavors in this pasta, the lemon adds a fresh and bright flavor. Fresh lemons are always best.
- Parmesan and ricotta cheese: If you are looking for a vegan recipe, swap in some nutritional yeast and leave out the ricotta cheese or use a plant-based version.
How to Shred Brussels Sprouts
This recipe uses shredded brussels sprouts to ensure that the sprouts cook quickly and can be enjoyed in every bite. There are a few ways to shred the sprouts:
- Buy pre-shredded: If you need something quick, look for the pre-shredded sprouts in the produce area of your grocery store. Usually, these are pre-washed and finely shredded, which can cut 5-10 minutes off the prep time.
- Food processor: Another quick option is the food processor. Wash the sprouts and remove any brown, outer leaves. Slice off the stem. Add the shredding disk to the food processor and quickly shred the brussels sprouts.
- Sharp Knife: If you are comfortable with your knife, you can also shred the sprouts by hand. Remove the stems and any browned leaves. Then simply cut into thin pieces using a sharp knife.
Recipe Ideas and Tips
There are so many ways to customize this recipe and make it your own. From kicking up the sauce, adding extra protein, or adding more veggies - these ideas are great ways to make the dish exactly what you are craving.
- Consider adding a canned of drained diced tomatoes or sundried tomatoes to add even more flavor to the dish.
- To add extra protein or flavor, start by sauteing some vegetarian sausage crumbles, lean turkey sausage, or chicken sausage. This not only adds lots of protein, but it also adds a ton of flavor to the dish.
- Boost the flavor by adding a dollop of pesto on top of the finished pasta dish.
- Double up the earthy flavor by adding some sliced mushrooms alongside the brussels sprouts.
- If you prefer a creamy sauce, add the ricotta cheese right to the pan with some pasta cooking water to create a creamier sauce. You could also add some cream cheese. It will melt right into the sauce.
- If you don't need a vegetarian meal, you could swap in chicken, salmon, or turkey for the canned beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about making this pasta recipe.
The easiest way to remove any bitter flavor from Brussel sprouts is to cook them until they become lightly browned and caramelized to bring out the natural sugars. Sauteing or roasting Brussel sprouts does this much more effectively than boiling. If you still find the sprouts too bitter, you can add a touch of brown sugar or maple syrup to the pan while they are cooking.
There is no need to soak Brussel sprouts before cooking unless they appear to be very dirty. Soaking can help to remove excess dirt of debris stuck in the leaves.
Some of the best flavors to combine with Brussel sprouts include lemon, mustard, salty flavors like bacon or fish sauce, smoked paprika, balsamic vinegar, and sweet flavors like apples and pomegranate. You could add any of those to this pasta dish.
This pasta dish is delicious with added protein. For vegetarians, consider adding some cooked tofu, white beans, chickpeas, or vegetarian sausage. If you eat meat, you could add sliced or ground sausage, cooked chicken, shrimp, or ground beef. Just make sure to add extra seasoning so the final dish comes out flavorful.
Lemon Brussels Sprout Pasta
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- 8 oz. high fiber pasta
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. black Pepper
- 8 oz. Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup part skim ricotta (optional)
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Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir. Press down and cook for 3-4 minutes until beginning to brown. Stir and press down and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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