Brussels Sprouts Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

This brussels sprouts bacon and sun-dried tomato pasta takes spaghetti to the next level.

Brussels sprouts, bacon and sun-dried tomato pasta

If you’ve ever ventured away from the food over here and read my about page you might’ve seen the reference to the “sophomore ten” in my history with food and weight. What I didn’t write about over there was the crazy protein diet my mom and I went on the summer after my sophomore year of college to loose that weight.

Brussels sprouts pasta

I think it’s real name was Lean for Life or something like that. It was pretty much what the love child of Atkins and South Beach would have looked like. My aunts were doing it at the time too and we somehow got a bootleg copy of the diet plan and decided to start it ourselves. The first three days were called “protein days” because you literally ate protein the entire day. Carbs were supposed to be limited to around 50grams in an effort to kick your body into ketosis. I can totally get behind a good steak or a piece of well cooked fish, but do you know what it’s like to eat just protein for 3 entire days? It’s disgusting.

Brussels sprouts bacon and sun-dried tomato pasta

After those first three days you followed a diet plan that was still heavy on the protein but also incorporated lots of veggies and fruits. Every week would kick off with another protein day at the start and this went on for 6-8 weeks. No straight up carbs the entire time. Carbs were ok in fruits and veggies, but I didn’t eat a piece of bread or a strand of spaghetti for an entire 2 months. Do you know what that’s like to someone who grew up in an Italian family eating pasta 2-3 times a week?

It’s flippin’ torture is what it is!

Brussels sprouts and bacon pasta

I can still remember having a piece of toast after those 8 weeks were up as I started the “maintenance” phase and literally savoring every bite. I’m not sure I’ve experienced pure satisfaction as good as that since (sorry, babe).

Brussels sprouts bacon and sun-dried tomato pasta

The diet actually worked (combined with a lot of walking) and I lost about 12lbs. However, I had convinced myself that since it worked, my body was one of those that only “responded well to a low carb diet.” Seriously, that statement literally came out of my mouth and I would tell people that.

So, I went on for the next year or two trying to maintain that way of eating and throwing in protein days here and there when I fell off track (i.e. after 10 cent wings and $3 pitchers on Thursday nights). My college roommates will still tell stories of me cooking black pepper crusted tuna steaks in our disgusting apartment senior year and eating that for 3 days straight. I would snack on pickles (they were ok during protein days) and eat copious amounts of cheese.

Pasta with brussels sprouts, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes

During this entire time there were obvious enemy foods. Bread, rice and most glaringly, PASTA.

Dickinson actually had really good caf food, especially some of the pasta dishes and I would have to summon literally every ounce of willpower to walk away from the pasta station.

It was a sad, sad existence.

Eventually, I entered the real world of a full time job and my motivation to follow the “protein diet” slowly tanked. The next 4 or 5 years were pretty much up and down on the scale until I finally got my shit together enough and woke up to what a “real” healthy diet is.

Funny, now I can eat pasta and not feel bad, put on weight or have to follow it up with a “protein day.”

Too bad I wasted those two years pasta-less. Especially, when I could’ve been eating this.

Brussels sprouts, bacon and sun-dried tomato pasta

Brussels Sprouts Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Brussels Sprouts Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This brussels sprouts bacon and sun-dried tomato pasta takes spaghetti to the next level.


  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 14 oz. can artichokes in water, drained and chopped
  • 4-5 slices of bacon
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, add bacon slices to a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until crispy. Remove from skillet, set aside and crumble once cooled.
  3. In the same skillet with the bacon grease, add sliced brussels sprouts and saute for 3-5 minutes.
  4. At this point, water should be boiling. Salt water and cook pasta until al dente.
  5. While pasta cooks, add sun-dried tomatoes to the brussels sprouts and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Next, add artichokes and saute for a final 2-3 more minutes. Season mixture with salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Once pasta is done, drain, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid.
  8. Add pasta to the skillet and parmesan cheese.
  9. Toss to combine, adding in some of the pasta water as needed to keep it from being too dry.
  10. Top pasta with crumbled bacon.


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    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Wrestling guys were nuts. I remember them jogging around the high school in sweatshirts and sweatpants just to lose water weight before matches!

  1. Julie @ Table for Two

    wow, that’s awesome you lost 12 pounds..but that’s such torture, as you said, to not have carbs for 6-8 weeks. i honestly don’t know if i could do that but i need to lose weight sooo maybe i’m going to have suffer haha

    BUT, this pasta..OMG, how am i going to diet when you throw that in my face?? oh, i love this pasta and have been waiting for you to post it ever since instagram. amazing!!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Oh God, I think you’re joking but please don’t even think about doing that diet! No need to suffer like that to lose weight. Take Pollan’s advise and just eat mostly plants (and move more) that works a lot better than suffering through protein days! haha

  2. Corinne

    This looks so great and not a huge list of ingredients! I literally just said to my fiancé that we should eat more artichokes they’re so yummy. I haven’t jumped on the Brussels bandwagon yet, don’t really know how to cook or prepare them. Any suggestions for a simple side dish??

  3. Amanda

    I can relate to this – my roommate convinced me to do Atkins with her my sophomore year of college, in an attempt to lose the freshman 15 (she was very thin though – I think she was just being trendy?). I ate so much cheese, eggs, bacon…and felt absolutely disgusting all the time. It only lasted a month or so before I caved and started the transition to a flexitarian diet, which made my body a million times more happy. How I eat now could not be more different from how I was eating then. I cringe just thinking about it!

  4. Hayley @ Oat Couture

    I want to stick my face into that dish! It looks freakin AMAZING!! Glad your back on the pasta now! :) It’s so funny what we put our bodies through in the name of being ‘healthy’ I don’t even want to think of the stupid diets I went on when I was younger! :/ Hormonal and hungry! Eek!

  5. Cat @Breakfast to Bed

    One of my best friends went to Dickinson. I lovvve brussels and bacon!! sometimes I’ll de leaf them (they look like tiny bowls!) and fry them in a bit of bacon grease. It’s a treat food, but so, so good.

  6. Heidi @ Food Doodles

    Ugh, I did the low carb high protein thing when I lived at home with my parents. At the end of the first two weeks where you totally cut out carbs I was ready to kill for pasta. Or bread. Or anything other than a piece of cheese or a couple almonds, haha. It did work for me too, I even went back to how I regularly ate and kept it off until after I had my son, then I tried it again and realized it was ridiculous and then slowly figured out what works best for me instead of randomly cutting out entire food groups, haha. Your pasta looks so good. I love how simple it is, but it still looks amazing. Ah the beauty of pasta :D

  7. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    That last shot is gorgeous and an example of whatever changes you made to the photo editing/saving process (I tried to conceptualize it in that other post but you lost me in translation…) but they’re working.

    Tack sharp. Gorgeous.

    What are you editing with? Still iphoto?

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Thanks! Just using Digital Photography Pro (the software that came w/ my Canon) mainly right now. I can’t believe how much a difference just shooting in RAW made!

  8. kari @ Running Ricig

    “sorry babe” poor Ulys. :)

    I cannot imagine doing that diet, mostly because I don’t eat meat, so I’d be surviving on peanut butter straight out of the jar.

  9. Deanna

    My parents decide to try Atkin’s when I was in 5th grade and I remember being so angry at them because we didn’t get to have pasta while they were on the diet. Mmm…brussels sprouts and pasta.

  10. emily

    My roommate is currently on the Atkin’s diet and, as much as I’ve tried to convince her that carbs are NOT the enemy- she’s been brainwashed. It irritates me to no end! But, her mom has been on the diet for a few months and has seen results, so she’s following in her footsteps. I’m hoping she’ll come around eventually, though.
    A world without pasta and bread is a sad, sad world.

    Delicious looking recipe! <3

  11. Emily @ Life on Food

    There was a time in my life that I could have given up pasta. Besides lasagna we really didn’t have homemade Italian growing up so I didn’t pasta dishes could be so marvelous. I would have never put brussels sprouts, bacon and sun dried tomatoes together. This looks amazing.

  12. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

    This looks wonderful! I love the idea of brussel sprouts and bacon. I think my husban may like this dish! I think I’ll make it sometime this week!! For me, I try to stay away from pasta because I can’t control myself, I love it!! But every once in a while I need to splurge, especially on a healthy dish like this.

  13. vogelstar

    Those plates are so cool. I am on a plate kick lately. I just picked up the coolest giant soup bowls. I was so excited to put a pic of them on my blog that I cooked up a pretty fancy dish. I’m sure my guy will encourage me to buy plates more often.

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  15. Georgia

    I about died when I read Dickinson in there! I just graduated from there and was searching for a brussel sprout pasta dish! So glad I came across this, it will be my dinner!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Hope you enjoy it! It’s sad that I’m trying to think of some Dickinsonian thing to say and I’ve literally got nothing. haha I guess 8 years removed from college graduation will do that to ya ;)

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