Lemony Brussels Sprouts Pasta

updated Jan 6, 2021
Lemony Brussels Sprouts Pasta

This flavor-packed Brussels sprouts pasta cooks in less than 20 minutes and is made with only a handful of ingredients.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Yossy Arefi

Prepare to fall in love with Brussels sprouts all over again. In this easy weeknight pasta recipe, everyone’s favorite cruciferous veg takes on a silky texture and caramelized flavor, and gets tangled up in the ridges of al dente fusilli. It’s bright from lemon juice and zest, has a touch of heat from red pepper flakes, and gains depth and umami flavor from a splash of soy sauce. What’s not to love?

Credit: Yossy Arefi

Prepping the Sprouts

While you can absolutely buy pre-shredded sprouts to save time, prepping the whole sprouts happens quickly. Trim off the root stem, remove any exterior leaves that are browned or damaged (they’ll likely fall off anyway), then halve and thinly slice. Once prepped, the sprouts cook in a skillet with garlic and red pepper flakes until the strands are browned at the edges and have shrunken down in size (don’t worry if it looks like the pan is overcrowded when you add them all in).

3 Easy Ways to Riff

As is, this pasta makes a quick and delicious weeknight dinner. But if you want to play around with it, here are three tasty ways to do so.

  1. Add sausage: Non-vegetarians can cook the sausage of their choice until just browned, then add the sprouts and continue with the recipe. Orecchiette would be a good pasta choice here, as the cups will capture the tiny bits of sausage.
  2. Stir in more greens: Stir in baby spinach or baby kale at the end of cooking until just wilted.
  3. Top with nuts: Crush some nuts and sprinkle them on top for a textural contrast (almonds or walnuts would be great).

Lemony Brussels Sprouts Pasta

This flavor-packed Brussels sprouts pasta cooks in less than 20 minutes and is made with only a handful of ingredients.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cloves


  • 1 1/2 pounds

    Brussels sprouts

  • 3/4 cup

    grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1 pound

    dried fusilli or other small tubular pasta

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh parsley leaves (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons

    low-sodium soy sauce

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, mince or grate 2 garlic cloves. Trim and thinly slice 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (about 2 1/2 cups). Finely grate Parmesan cheese until you have 3/4 cup (grate more for serving if desired). Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon, then juice the lemon. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves if desired.

  2. Add 1 pound fusilli to the boiling water and cook until just al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes depending on heat preference. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shredded Brussels and season generously with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, softened, and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.

  3. When the pasta is ready, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Drizzle the pasta with a little olive oil and toss to combine. When the sprouts are ready, add 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.

  4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the pasta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Stir vigorously until a sauce forms and clings to the noodles, about 1 minute. If the pasta looks too dry, add more pasta water a tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Taste and season with lots of black pepper and kosher salt as needed. Sprinkle with the parsley if using and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with more Parmesan if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.