Penne with brussels sprouts, lemon and green olives

Another week night dinner recipe this week! I am up in Queensland visiting friends and family, enjoying a couple of days at the beach with the patchy stormy-sunny weather in the aftermath of Cyclone Marcia.

Penne with brussels sprouts, walnuts and green olives

Penne with brussels sprouts, walnuts and green olives


Pasta is one of my go-to staple ingredients for a substantive and easy mid week dinner.  You can quickly prep the vegetables while the pasta is bubbling away, and throw it all together in 15 minutes.

Pasta with brussels sprouts, green olives and walnuts

Pasta with brussels sprouts, green olives and walnuts

This dish is also guaranteed to give you all your vitamins for the day, with a combination of brussels sprouts, walnuts and lemon. I know a lot of people don’t like brussels sprouts, but I say that they haven’t cooked them properly.  If you fry them up with some butter and let them get nice and brown, the leaves become crispy and crunchy and delicious.


Best served with some parmesan

This recipe serves two adults.


  • 40 g butter (or extra virgin olive oil, if dairy free)
  • 450g brussels sprouts, ends cut off, halved and any loose leaves retained
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zest
  • 1 large handful of good-quality, green Sicilian olives (around 20), pitted and chopped in half*
  • 1 large handful of toasted walnuts
  • 250g wholemeal penne
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan, to serve (optional)


  1. Put on a large pot with salted boiling water and cook the pasta.  Before draining the pasta, reserve half a cup of its cooking water.
  2. While the water is boiling, in a separate large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the brussels sprouts, half side down into the pan and turn the heat up high so they crisp up and brown.  Shake the pan a bit so that they don’t stick to the bottom (you may need to add a splash of olive oil if they stick too much).  Towards the end of the cooking time, add the garlic and chilli and sizzle with the sprouts for a minute.  Cook the sprouts until they are just tender (check them regularly, so they don’t overcook), with leaves crisp and crunchy.  Set aside.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, return the pasta to its pot over heat and add the half cup of retained cooking water.  Stir this in and let this reduce down and then add the brussels sprouts (including any residual butter from the pan), lemon juice and zest and the olives and stir through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the toasted walnuts.  Divide into bowls and serve with parmesan.

* If you can’t find any large green Sicilian style olives, then use black Green olives or kalamata ones from the deli section.  Please avoid the ones from a jar with the capsicum filling.

Penne with brussels sprouts, lemon and green olives thumbnail image Mid week dinner: pasta with crispy brussels sprouts and crunchy walnuts 30min

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