A refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers may bring joy to those who love turkey sandwiches, but I’m not one of them. Once Thanksgiving is over, I’m ready to move on — but I also hate to see food go to waste. The solution to my yearly dilemma is repurposing all that cooked food into delicious dishes that don’t taste anything like the Thanksgiving feast.

Lemony Brussels Sprouts & Breadcrumb Spaghetti

This easy pasta dish makes good use of those leftover Brussels sprouts, bread or rolls, and even the last dregs in the bottle of white wine from Turkey Day.

This pasta starts with toasting fresh breadcrumbs in some olive oil on the stove, while the water’s boiling for the pasta. Use whatever leftover bread you have here — even dinner rolls will work. Toss the toasted breadcrumbs with a big hit of lemon zest and then use the same pan to finish the pasta.

Reheat your leftover roasted or cooked Brussels sprouts (even glazed ones will work here), add a little white wine, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice to form the sauce. The pasta is tossed with more lemon zest to brighten the earthy flavors of the Brussels sprouts before it’s showered with the crispy breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. It’s a light but satisfying pasta dish that is the perfect weeknight antidote to the possibility of yet another turkey sandwich.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs (from about 4 ounces crusty bread)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium lemons, divided
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 3 cups cooked or roasted Brussels sprouts, coarsely chopped if large
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the breadcrumbs and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and season with pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and toasted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the lemon zest. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a medium bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan with paper towels if needed.
  3. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and season with pepper. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. If the pasta is not ready yet, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. When the pasta is ready, return the frying pan to medium heat. Using tongs, transfer the pasta directly from the cooking water to the pan. Add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Add more pasta water a tablespoon at a time as needed if the pasta is dry.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining lemon zest. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.