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 I always hear from friends and family that are craving more simple, yet comforting weeknight dinners.
Check out this cheesy Mexican spaghetti and our family-favorite fettuccine alfredo if you’re looking for more delicious ideas. I even have another dinner with broccoli, but with a richer, creamier sauce: Pasta con Broccoli! Don’t skip it!
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!
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!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- 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. You can substitute with homemade egg noodles or gluten free if you prefer. In these images, we used strozzapreti pasta.
- Lemon Juice and Zest – Fresh squeeze or store bought juice in a bottle will work, found in the produce or juice aisle. Don’t have a lemon to zest? In a pinch you can add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice in place of the zest, or eliminate all together.
- Olive Oil – Extra Virgin Olive Oil is always my preference, as it adds flavor and coats the noodles to make a delicious broccoli sauce.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic is always best (learn how to mince garlic), but jarred minced garlic purchased found in the produce section of the grocery store makes an easy shortcut.
- Red Peppere Flakes – These add a hint of colorful and robust flavor to this simple dish.
- Parmesan – optional, but you can garnish with fresh grated parmesan, pecorino or asiago, whatever you have on hand. Gruyere and mozzarella also work well. Learn how to grate cheese here.
- 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 traditional pasta? 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 – Next, in a bowl or a jar, combine sauce ingredients. Shake or whisk until combined.
- Combine – Cook and drain pasta, returning to pot to stir in sauce.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese, 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 three 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 three months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to serve.
- In a saucepan over low-medium heat on your stove, warm this pasta for 5-6 minutes until heated through.
- If you’d like to loosen the sauce, add a little vegetable or chicken broth to the pot as it warms.
- 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 yield tab in the recipe card.
Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.