This Quick Broccoli Pasta is ready in under 15 minutes and a great way to get some more green vegetables in your diet. A simple light and creamy sauce, with plenty of flavour - it's a good of example of just how nutritious comfort food can be.
I think we all know how good broccoli is for us, but it can get a bit boring just having it boiled as a side dish. Why not give it the recognition that it deserves and make it the star of the dish.
This broccoli pasta dish is SO simple, with a creamy sauce with a hint of lemon for freshness, stirred through pasta and broccoli with some sun dried tomato for a burst of flavour.
Why should you try it?
- A delicious way to eat more broccoli - I think we would all do with a few more vegetables in our life and this is an easy way to do it.
- Quick - This broccoli pasta is ready in less than 15 minutes
- Easy to adapt - Use this recipe as a base and then adapt it with different vegetables.
- Can be made vegan - We have given variations for making this vegan.
- Pasta - Any pasta goes here. We used linguine as we like the way the sauce clings to the pasta, but use whatever you have.
- Broccoli - The star of the show. You can use a regular head of broccoli, or you can use tenderstem.
- Lemon - Some juice and zest adds a lovely freshness to this broccoli pasta.
- Crème fraiche - This is where the creamy sauce comes from. We used reduced fat to keep it lighter, but full fat would have more flavour.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - These add SO much flavour. Add a little drizzle of oil from the jar for extra flavour.
- Parmesan - This adds extra creaminess to the sauce. You could use a mature cheddar instead if you prefer.
- Pasta water - This is our "secret" ingredient in every pasta dish and something that every Italian uses in their cooking. Adding a little bit of the starchy pasta water makes the sauce really silky smooth and cling to the pasta. It also loosens the sauce up a little, helping it go further.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make Broccoli Pasta - step by step
One: Add the linguine to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Two: 4 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking, add the broccoli.
Three: Drain the linguine and broccoli (reserving 50ml of pasta water) and put it back in the pan and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Health benefits of broccoli
Superfood is a bit of a buzz food that is thrown around, but there is no denying that broccoli is nutrient dense. It's a great source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and K, as well as iron, zinc and fibre, which can support digestive health.
Did you know that broccoli is also a good source of protein, although an incomplete one.
The broccoli really is the star of this dish, but that doesn't mean that you can't add more vegetables. I would recommending keeping to greens, so about 5 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking, add some spinach and peas. You could also add a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower.
If you want to add some more flavour to the broccoli, then you could roast it for 20 minutes before adding it to the pasta. Roasting broccoli really brings out the flavour.
This is a creamy pasta dish, but if you prefer a tomato based sauce, then try our Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce and leave out the crème fraiche.
What to serve with Broccoli Pasta
This pasta dish is super healthy, and really does have it all. But you can always serve it with something extra for a more filling meal. Pasta and garlic bread is a classic combo. You can easily make your own by slicing up a French stick and spreading it with a mixture of butter, garlic and herbs and putting it in the oven for 10 minutes. Why not try our Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread too.
A big green salad would be a good choice for a side with this too. We like a mixture of greens (romaine, spinach and butterhead), some cherry tomatoes and a honey and mustard dressing. Our Grilled Little Gem Salad would be a good addition too.
When serving, a sprinkle of red chilli flakes, some chopped fresh parsley, extra Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil just set the dish off in my opinion.
Store: You can keep leftovers in the fridge for 2 days.
Freeze: You can freeze this dish, but to be totally honest, it's not the best pasta dish to freeze, as it will be a little dry when reheating.
Defrost: You can defrost it in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: You can reheat it in a frying pan, but you will need to add a little water to loosen it all up, otherwise it might be a bit dry.
We used linguine, however you could use tagliatelle or spaghetti. I think these are the best to use, as the creamy sauce really clings to it.
But, really, you could use any pasta. This is what makes this such a great budget friendly cupboard raid meal, as you can just use whatever you already have in.
Simply swap the creme fraiche for a vegan version like Oatly and use a vegan Italian hard cheese alternative. Also note that Parmesan isn't vegetarian, so if you want to make this dish vegetarian then use an alternative. Most supermarket own brand Italian hard cheese is not only cheaper, but also vegetarian, which is a bonus.
I cut it in to small bite sized pieces. Broccoli cooking time will depend on how big your florets are chopped and also how soft you like your broccoli. Try one piece before to draining the pot, to check that it is cooked.
Yes, you can. That is what makes this recipe so easy, as it is added towards the end of the pasta cooking time.
Yes, you can, but it would change the cooking time. I also find that frozen broccoli gets a big mushy.
Because it's an easy way to make the sauce really silky smooth, with no extra effort. Adding starchy pasta water (just 50ml is enough) to a fat like creme fraiche will create an emulsion and this gives a really silky smooth sauce and helps it cling to the pasta. Make sure you scoop out the water just before draining, as this ensures that it is nice and starchy.
• You don't have to use Parmesan in this broccoli pasta recipe - you can use any grated cheese that melts well. To make this vegetarian, make sure you use a vegetarian alternative to Parmesan.
• Make sure you grate your own cheese. Packaged grated or shredded Parmesan cheese contains cellulose to stop it from sticking together, but this also prevents it from melting as well.
• Make sure you reserve some of the pasta water to put back in the pan, as this helps to make the sauce, without having to add extra oil.
• Add a kick of heat to this pasta dish with a sprinkling of red chilli flakes when serving.
• If you are reheating, add some water and a little extra crème fraiche to the pan so it isn't too dry.
• You could swap the sun-dried tomatoes for olives (or use them both) and instead of topping with more Parmesan, use crumbles feta.
• Some sunflower seeds add a nice crunch when serving.
• You can save yourself some time by using frozen broccoli.
• Don't overcook your broccoli, as it should still have some bite to it.
• If you don't have crème fraiche, you could use cream cheese instead
More broccoli recipes
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Quick Broccoli Pasta
- 140 g Linguine
- 0.5 head Broccoli - chopped in to small pieces
- 0.5 Lemon - (juice and zest only)
- 100 ml Reduced fat creme fraiche
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 6 Sun-dried tomatoes - finely chopped
- 40 g Parmesan - grated
- Red chilli flakes - for serving; optional
- Add the linguine to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- 4 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking, add the broccoli.
- Drain the linguine and broccoli (reserving 50ml of pasta water) and put it back in the pan and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately.
- You don't have to use Parmesan in this recipe - you can use any grated cheese that melts well. To make this vegetarian, make sure you use a vegetarian alternative to Parmesan.
- Make sure you reserve some of the pasta water to put back in the pan, as this helps to make the sauce, without having to add extra oil.
- Add a kick of heat to this pasta dish with a sprinkling of red chilli flakes when serving.
- If you are reheating, add some water and a little extra creme fraiche to the pan so it isn't too dry.
- You could swap the sun-dried tomatoes for olives (or use them both) and instead of topping with more Parmesan, use crumbles feta.
- Some sunflower seeds add a nice crunch when serving.
- You can save yourself some time by using frozen broccoli.
- Don't overcook your broccoli, as it should still have some bite to it.
- If you don't have creme fraiche, you could use cream cheese instead.