This delicious pasta salad with roasted brussels sprouts and bacon incorporates healthy greens, creamy cheese, crispy bacon and crunchy walnuts in the best way possible. This main course salad is perfect for a quick and healthy meal.
- Pasta of choice; farfalle, penne, fusilli or other short pieces of pasta are great for pasta salads.
- Brussels sprouts – fresh, or leftover roasted sprouts.
- Bacon – crunchy and delicious, but can be omitted for a vegetarian version.
- Blue cheese (Stilton) – optional, but adds a lot of flavour.
- Walnuts – or other nuts!
How to make pasta salad with roasted brussels sprouts
Clean the brussels sprouts and cut them into quarters. Add the to a baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Foast the brussels sprouts in the oven at 200 C / 180 C fan oven / 390 F until they are soft and slightly golden on the edges (10-15 minutes).
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, and cook roughly chopped bacon in a frying pan until crispy.
Combine the cooked and drained pasta, crispy bacon pieces, roasted brussels sprouts, walnut pieces, rocket and a little crumbled stilton in a salad bowl. Serve as is, or with your favourite salad dressing.
Storing and freezing
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I would not recommending freezing this salad, as it will appear watery and not as appetizing after thawing it.
If you want to make a large batch of pasta salad with the intention of eating it later in the week, you can also store each ingredient individually and assemble the salad when you serve it. This gives a fresher result.
If possible, you can also make the salad ahead without the bacon. Cook and add the bacon to the salad right before serving. This is the best way to ensure that the bacon is still crispy, as cooked bacon tends to soften when stored.
Tips and substitutions
- Omit the bacon for a vegetarian pasta salad. You can add roasted chickpeas, pan seared mushrooms or more nuts in its place to make it filling and hearty.
- The stilton can be replaced with cheddar for a milder salad if you’re not a fan of blue cheese, or omitted for a dairy free version.
- Use wholewheat pasta, or pasta made from beans for a more filling and fiber rich alternative.
- This recipe is perfect for using leftover brussels sprouts. If you have leftover roasted brussels sprouts, you can add them straight to the salad, and if you have leftover boiled brussels sprouts, you can roast them in the oven for a few minutes to crisp them up.
- I like to dress the brussels sprout pasta salad with a blue cheese dressing, honey mustard or lemon pepper vinaigrette.
Frequently asked questions
Can you use frozen brussels sprouts? – If you thaw them, you could, however I find that roasted brussels sprouts taste a lot better if you make them using fresh sprouts. As frozen vegetables contain more water, you won’t be able to achieve the same crispy, roasted texture if you use frozen veg.
Can you boil the brussels sprouts instead of roasting them? – Absolutely. If you prefer them boiled, you can boil them instead. I love roasted brussels sprouts, and think the flavour suit the salad perfectly. But it comes down to your personal preference. You can also use leftover boiled brussels sprouts if you have them available.
Can you substitute ingredients? – Yes. As with all salads, you can add exactly what you want. See Tips and substitutes for some options.
Can you add other ingredients? – Of course! I think this salad would be great with dry cranberries or raisins, pomegranate seeds, kale, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, roasted cherry tomatoes, pear or orange slices added.
More grain & pasta salads
- Pasta salad with tuna – an easy pasta salad with Greek yogurt, tuna and sweetcorn.
- Greek pasta salad with feta and spinach – a vegetarian salad with fresh vegetables, feta, spinach and pasta.
- Couscous salad with pomegranate – a light and delicious salad that can be served as a main or side.
- Quinoa salad with black beans, chickpeas and avocado – a wholesome and filling salad with vegetarian protein.
Pasta salad with roasted brussels sprouts and bacon
- 100 g pasta
- 200 g brussels sprouts
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 strips of streaky bacon
- 1 tbsp walnut pieces (or a small handful)
- 10 g stilton
- handful rocket (US: arugula)
- Clean the brussels sprouts and cut them into quarters. Add them to a baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the brussels sprouts in the oven at 200 C / 180 C fan oven / 390 F until they are soft and slightly golden on the edges (10-15 minutes).
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in water according to package instructions, typically about 10 minutes. Drain off the excess water, and leave the pasta to cool down slightly.
- Roughly chop the streaky bacon and fry it in a pan until crispy. If you use low fat bacon, you might want to add some oil to your pan.
- Combine the pasta, crispy bacon, roasted brussels sprouts, walnut pieces, rocket and a little crumbled stilton in a salad bowl.
- Serve as is, or with a salad dressing of your choice.