Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pesto Pasta is a simple, but hearty weeknight meal. Shredded brussels sprouts, crisp bacon and pasta are tossed together in pesto, parmesan cheese and fresh lemon juice. An effortless dinner that only takes 30 minutes to make!
Looking for another pesto pasta? Try this grilled chicken and asparagus pesto pasta!
Why I love it
Minimal ingredients – You only need 7 ingredients to make this pasta recipe. None of them are fussy and you may already have a few of them.
30-minute meal – If you’re like me and are always looking for dinner recipes that are quick and easy then you’ll love this pesto pasta! From start to finish it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to get this one on the table.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Bacon – preferably a high-quality uncured brand. I like to buy center cut and low sodium when possible.
- Brussels sprouts – be sure to trim the bottom if it looks dry.
- Garlic and crushed red pepper flakes
- Pesto – A good quality basil pesto is best for this recipe since it will be providing most of the flavor for the sauce. I love DeLallo’s jarred pesto.
- Lemon – Please use fresh squeezed lemon juice and not the bottled stuff.
- Pasta – Any small sized pasta will work. I went with shells, but farfalle, cavatappi, or orecchiette would all be good alternatives. You can also use gluten-free pasta if you need to make this recipe gluten-free.
- Parmesan cheese – Splurge and buy the real stuff it’s worth it!
Whenever I make a recipe that doesn’t use a lot of ingredients I buy the best quality ingredients I can find. For example I splurge and buy a block of Parmigiano Reggiano and grate it myself versus buying one that’s pre-grated.
Nothing compares to the flavor of Parmigiano Reggiano. Not to mention when you buy the block you can save the rind and use it in soups like I did with this Ground Turkey and Vegetable Soup.
How can I make this pasta vegetarian?
If you’re looking to make this pasta vegetarian it’s very simple. All you need to do is omit the bacon and use a tablespoon of olive oil to cook the brussels sprouts and garlic in versus the bacon fat. If you want to add protein to the dish, I suggest adding in a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans at the end.
How to make brussels sprouts and bacon pesto pasta
Cook the pasta – When cooking pasta, always be sure to salt the water well. Think ocean water when you’re deciding how much salt to add. Cook the pasta just until al dente as it will continue to cook when you add it in with the other ingredients.
Slice the brussels sprouts – For the fastest method, use the shredding attachment on a food processor or buy then pre-shredded at the grocery store. Otherwise just use a sharp knife and cut them as thinly as you can.
Cook the bacon – In a large skillet, add the slices of bacon. Be sure there’s enough room so they aren’t on top of each other. Once the bacon is cooked and crisp, remove it and let it drain on paper towels. Chop it up into small pieces once it’s cool.
Sauté the brussels sprouts – Remove all of the bacon grease from the pan except for one tablespoon. Add the brussels sprouts in and sauté them for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.
Add in the pasta – Stir in the cooked pasta, pesto and bacon. Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir in the parmesan cheese. Taste for seasoning then it’s ready to serve. On the table and ready to eat in 30 minutes!
More Pasta Recipes
- Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pasta
- One Pot Parmesan Chicken, Spinach and Orzo
- Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts Pasta
- Tomato Basil Pasta with Balsamic Grilled Chicken
- Berry Pesto Pasta Salad
Did you make this Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pesto Pasta? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 12 ounces brussels sprouts
- 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta shells or similar shape/size, gluten-free if needed
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain. While the pasta cooks thinly slice the brussels sprouts or use the shredding attachment on a food processor.
- In a large skillet cook the bacon. Drain on paper towels and chop when cool enough to handle. Reserve one tablespoon of the bacon grease in the skillet and discard the rest.
- Add in the shredded brussels sprouts and red pepper flakes, season with salt pepper. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped bacon, pasta, pesto, lemon juice and parmesan cheese into the skillet. Stir everything together until combined. Taste for seasoning and serve topped with extra parmesan cheese.
To save time you can buy a bag of pre-shredded brussels sprouts.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 360mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 17g