Cozy Goat Cheese Pasta with Brussels Sprouts topped with buttery walnut breadcrumbs! A filling, crave-worthy vegetarian weeknight meal on the table in 30 minutes.
Inspired by this recipe's sister, my Butternut Squash Pasta with Goat Cheese, this version is a bit less sweet but totally packed with fall flavor. Can you really go wrong with crunchy walnuts, creamy goat cheese, and those salty roasted Brussels leaves? Absolutely not.
Speaking of goat cheese, this Pumpkin Goat Cheese dip is a must! My Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad have been on repeat this season but it was high time for a main dish sprouts situation. And when it's all chilly outside, pasta just delivers!
How to make goat cheese pasta
- First, roast the sprouts by tossing them with olive oil and baking for 20 minutes, flipping halfway and setting any any browned leaves aside.
- Cook pasta, reserving 2 cups of pasta water.
- Sauté breadcrumbs and walnuts in butter until golden.
- Sauté shallot and garlic in more butter. Add pasta water, goat cheese, lemon, salt and pepper until a creamy sauce forms. Stir in pasta, Brussels, and a handful of breadcrumbs. Season to taste and served topped with breadcrumbs!
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Pasta: I used Trader Joe's brown rice and quinoa fusilli here. You can use regular pasta, whole grain, gluten free or legume pasta. Really any short or medium pasta is great here! Pay attention to the weight on the box as they vary from 8oz, 12oz, or 16oz.
- Brussels Sprouts: The star of this recipe is roasted Brussels sprouts roasted in olive oil! Be sure to remove any brown outer leaves.
- Goat cheese: Goat cheese forms the base of the sauce and gives this dish lots of creaminess and flavor. Use a log of goat cheese versus pre-crumbled for the right consistency since pre-crumbled has starch that makes for a less than ideal texture.
- Shallot + garlic: I appreciate the delicate flavor of shallot, but you could also do onion. Lots of garlic, always.
- Walnuts + bread crumbs: I just love buttery breadcrumbs and toasty nuts for topping creamy pastas. Such good texture! Pecans would also be yum.
- Butter: Butter adds lots of flavor so this kinda tastes like adult mac and cheese. Don't be tempted to reduce it; it won't taste the same!
- Lemon juice: I found this needed a bit more brightness and complexity and a squeeze of lemon was perfect!
Use vegan butter and swap the goat cheese for vegan cream cheese or your favorite tangy vegan cheese. I haven't tested this so let me know if you try it in the comments!
Use gluten free pasta (I like quinoa, brown rice, or chickpea) and gluten free panko breadcrumbs.
Omit the walnut and use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Can I use a different cheese?
Goat cheese makes this dish, so I'd skip it if you're not big on goat cheese. I don't think any other cheese would be the same here.
Can I use pre-shredded Brussels sprouts?
Yes! This is a great way to cut back on prep time. They may roast faster since the pieces are smaller.
How to store
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You'll want to store breadcrumbs separately and add right before serving.
The pasta will absorb the sauce as it sits, so you can add a splash of water and/or lemon juice before heating for extra moisture.
Reheat it in the microwave until warmed through. I don't recommend freezing this dish.
More comforting pasta dishes
- Creamy Vegetable Pasta Soup
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Vegan Lasagna
- Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Alfredo Pasta
Cozy Goat Cheese Pasta with Brussels Sprouts topped with buttery walnut breadcrumbs! A crave-worthy vegetarian weeknight meal on the table in 30 minutes. Almost 20g of protein per serving!
- 12 oz pasta of choice, like rotini, cavatappi, etc (reserve 2 cups pasta water)
- 12 oz Brussels sprouts, woody ends removed and quartered or sliced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
- ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- ½ cup shallot, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz goat cheese (use log style versus pre-crumbled)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F and line your largest baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place Brussels sprouts on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Try to get the sprouts cut side down with plenty of space in between so they brown. Roast for 10 minutes then remove from oven. Remove any crispy browned outer leaves and set aside. (These bits taste the best and we don't want them to burn!) Stir and roast pan for another 10 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. (Make sure you only use ¾ box if it's 16oz.) Reserve 2 cups of pasta water then drain pasta and set aside.
- While pasta cooks, warm 1 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large pot (I used my 5.5 qt dutch oven). Add breadcrumbs and walnuts and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring very often, until golden brown and fragrant. Transfer mixture to a small bowl.
- In the same pot, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter. Add shallot and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and and cook another 1 minute. Add goat cheese, 1 ½ cups of the reserved pasta water, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stirring until you have a creamy sauce. It will look thin.
- Remove from heat and stir in pasta. Fold in roasted Brussels sprouts and leaves plus ½ cup of the breadcrumb mixture. Season to taste. The pasta will absorb liquid as it sits, so serve immediately or add more pasta water as needed to loosen. Top with remaining breadcrumbs before serving. I like to top with a pinch of red pepper flakes and a tiny drizzle of honey--sounds crazy but is delish!