This amazing Broccoli Pasta is a one-pot wonder made with just seven ingredients in minutes! Use staples, fresh or frozen ingredients to whip up this delicious pasta broccoli dish.
Quick, easy and flavorful dinners have become essential to our busy family life! Especially when they require just a few staple ingredients.
This simple pasta dish comes together quickly, which works well for the girls’ attention spans. It takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish!
I love sharing this kind of simple recipe with you, and now more than ever I know that we all want simple, comforting food.
You can make it with my fresh homemade pasta or use your favorite box pasta. It’s very adaptable – make it fresh or put it together with staples and frozen veggies.
Either way, it’s easy and full of flavor. Even better, it’s a one dish wonder, minimizing cleanup. While I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, I’d prefer to leave the cleanup to anyone else!
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Why You’ll Love Broccoli Pasta
We enjoy it for lunch and dinner, but it also makes an incredible side dish. It’s light, tasty and so easy to make – with that in mind, this is a great dish for your tweens and teens to learn to make at home!
This is a good opportunity to teach them a few kitchen tricks that will open their eyes to cooking methods and techniques, and new flavors.
This dish is a great way to sneak in greens. At under 500 calories for a dinner sized portion, it’s guiltless, too!
I like to cook the broccoli with the pasta. This not only simplifies the dish making it quick and easy to make, but it also eliminates the need for another pan.
The broccoli flavor cooks into the pasta. The broccoli becomes incredibly tender, breaking it up so it covers the pasta and you get to enjoy it in every last bite!
Broccoli Pasta Ingredients
- Broccoli – While fresh always has the best flavor, you can use frozen. I use 12 ounces, but the more, the merrier!
- Pasta – I like using a short noodle for this dish, but you can use your favorite noodle. You can substitute with homemade egg noodles or gluten free if you prefer. In these images, we used strozzapreti pasta.
- Lemon Just and Zest – Don’t have a lemon? No problem. In a pinch you can add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice or eliminate all together. Fresh squeeze or store bought juice in a bottle will work, found in the produce or juice aisle.
- Olive Oil – Extra Virgin or regular, it adds flavor and coats the noodles to make a delicious broccoli sauce.
- Garlic – I like to use minced garlic purchased in a jar in the produce section of the grocery store because I always have it on hand and it makes an easy shortcut, but you can also use fresh minced garlic.
- Red Pepper – Red pepper flakes add a hint of colorful and robust flavor to this simple dish.
- Parmesan – Completely optional, but you can garnish with fresh grated parmesan, pecorino or asiago, whatever you have on hand. Gruyere and mozzarella also work well. You can even use pre-grated in a pinch.
As with any dish, you can tweak to your preference. The options are endless! These are a few of my favorite ideas to tweak this delicious dish!
- Add more veggies – You can add cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms and more. Other options include sweet onions, asparagus and zucchini.
- Add protein – this pairs really well with my juicy baked chicken breast which is equally quick and easy to make. Cooked Italian sausage, bacon, or guanicale also work well.
- Substitute with rice or gnocchi – not a fan of egg noodle? These flavors also work well with rice and gnocchi.
How to Make Broccoli Pasta
- Cook Pasta and Broccoli – Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add add the broccoli florets and pasta.
- Make the Broccoli Sauce – In a bowl or a jar, combine zest, juice, olive oil, garlic and red pepper. Shake or whisk until well combined.
- Combine – Once pasta is al dente, drain pasta and return cooked pasta to pot (without heat) and stir in sauce.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese (optional, but who can resist), salt and pepper to taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can! Depending on how soft you want your broccoli, you can add it at any time during the pasta’s cook time. For a firmer broccoli texture, add it during only the last five minutes of boiling.
Because this is a thin, light pasta sauce, you can use any type of pasta. The small pieces of cooked broccoli will easily grip to the pasta and the cheese melts beautifully.
Serving as a side dish? Pasta with Broccoli Sauce pairs well with so many entrees!
How to Store
- Room Temperature – This broccoli pasta can sit out for up to two hours while serving.
- Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. Warm on the stovetop or in the oven with a tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice to refresh the sauce.
- Freeze – Freeze in an airtight container up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to serve.
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- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and broccoli.
- In a bowl or a jar, combine zest, juice, olive oil, garlic and red pepper. Shake or whisk until well combined.
- Drain pasta and return to pot (without heat) and stir in sauce.
- Garnish with parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
Substitutions and VariationsBroccoli – While fresh always has the best flavor, you can use frozen. I use 12 ounces, but the more, the merrier! Pasta – I like using a short noodle for this dish, but you can use your favorite noodle. You can substitute with homemade egg noodles or gluten free if you prefer. Lemon Zest – No lemon, no problem. Add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice or eliminate all together. Lemon Juice – Fresh squeeze or store bought in a bottle found in the produce or juice aisle. 1 lemon = about 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Olive Oil – You can substitute olive oil with butter, if needed. Garlic – I like to use minced garlic purchased in a jar in the produce section of the grocery store because I always have it on hand and it makes an easy shortcut, but you can also use fresh minced garlic. Parmesan – Garnish with fresh grated parmesan, pecorino or asiago, gruyere, mozzarella or pre-grated parmesan. Sugar – Too tangy for your taste? Add 2 teaspoons sugar. Add Protein – Shrimp and Baked Chicken are a delicious addition to this dish. Make it Cheesy – add the cheese into the sauce. Shake with other ingredients and toss! Scale this recipe using the slider in the recipe card.
Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.