Creamy Stovetop Brussels + Shells

I would file this recipe under easy vegetarian dinner ideas, because it is exactly that. This creamy stovetop Brussels and shells has basically everything I love: Brussels sprouts (seriously, one of my favorite vegetables!), whole wheat pasta, and a light but creamy sauce that contains a bright pop of flavor from fresh lemon juice and zest. Yum!

In some ways, this feels like a grown-up gourmet stovetop macaroni and cheese with a big serving of veggies. It’s a much healthier version of my favorite comfort foods and it takes about 20-30 minutes to make from start to finish, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. You may even have enough for lunch the next day.

Sometimes I hear that people don’t like Brussels sprouts but usually I find the issue is they don’t know how to cook them so they aren’t mushy and flavorless. I don’t love mush vegetables either. In the recipe below, I’ll share how to make crispy and perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts on the stove.

I love whole wheat pasta, but you could easily substitute a gluten-free or higher protein pasta in this recipe if you like.

You can also swap out the almonds for other nuts you may prefer or have on hand, or skip the almonds and add some baked chicken or tofu if you want to get more protein into this meal. Really, there are a lot of ways to change up this recipe in small ways that may work better for what you have on hand or other diet concerns. You do you. I’ll just be over here enjoying a big bowl of creamy stovetop Brussels and shells while catching up on the second season of Making a Murderer. 🙂 Enjoy! xo. Emma

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5 from 1 vote

Creamy Stovetop Brussels + Shells

An easy pasta recipe with the addition of Brussels sprouts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese


  • 10-12 medium to large Brussels sprouts more if smaller
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup pasta shells I used whole wheat
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large lemon juiced and zest
  • cup milk or cream
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup almonds sliced


  • Prep the Brussels sprouts by cutting off any remaining stem at the bottom of each sprout. For medium to large sprouts, cut each into four pieces, for smaller sprouts you can simply cut them in half. In a large pan or skillet add two tablespoons of oil over medium to high heat. Add the sprouts, cut side down, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until well browned. Then flip each to the other cut side (or over if cut in half) and all the other side to brown for another minute or two.
  • Lower the heat to medium low and add one tablespoon of water to the pan. Place a baking sheet over the pan, trapping the heat inside (steaming the Brussels sprouts slightly) for a couple minutes.
  • While the sprouts are cooking, boil water and cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  • Once the sprouts are ready, turn off the heat and set aside, so they stay warm in the pan while you make the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter and cook the minced garlic for a minute. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk into a thin paste. Then add the lemon juice and milk and whisk into a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drain the pasta once cooked. Then add the pasta to the Brussels sprouts pan and pour the sauce over everything. Stir so everything gets coated. Then sprinkle on the lemon zest and almonds and toss. Serve warm.
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • 5 stars
    Brought this to a Christmas dinner where they asked us to bring a vegetarian dish. Got a lot of compliments. The only feedback we have is that this recipe doesn’t seem to show how many people it serves (saw someone else ask too) which we really worried about, but estimated this recipe serves 2 people. We multiplied it by two so it would serve 4, and it looked like it did. We also think there should be instructions for how you know when you cook Brussels and they are done or “ready”. Thanks!

  • Made this for dinner tonight. I used gluten and dairy free ingredients and it came out delicious! Thanks!

  • Made this last night and it was delicious! Easy recipe too – really a great weekday meal.

  • I’m always down for some cruciferous veggies like Brussel sprouts! This looks like such a delicious pasta recipe, ladies! xx M

  • What an extraordinary combination, but it looks very delicious!

  • This looks delicious, but doesn’t hot milk and lemon cause the milk to curdle?? That’s what I’ve always heard…might try this without the lemon juice (substitute with water or more milk maybe) and just add some zest at the end.

  • This recipe looks amazing! I’ve just recently figured out how to cook Brussels sprouts in a way I like. I’ll definitely make this!

  • I’m down for anything with Brussels sprouts! The recipe looks delish! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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