Close up of cheesy broccoli pasta in a bowl, ready to be eaten
Print Recipe
5 from 32 votes

Really Quick Broccoli Pasta

Recipe video above. This is a great emergency meal OR carb + veg side for all those times when your cupboards are bare except for broccoli, pasta, and some kind of cheese. It's saucy without using tons of oil, and there's loads of sub options. Quick and utterly scrumptious - loaded with tons of broccoli!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Mains, Side
Cuisine: Western
Keyword: Broccoli pasta, broccoli recipes, quick pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 634kcal
Author: Nagi


  • 350g / 12 oz dried short pasta (I used small shells)
  • 2 broccoli heads (BIG!)
  • 1 cup (100g) shredded cheese (or more!)

Pasta Sauce (Notes for subs):

  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (or more!)
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (30g) parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (or fresh!)
  • 1/2 tsp+ red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  • More parmesan


  • Boil a large pot of water with 2 tsp salt, add pasta.

While pasta is cooking:

  • Chop broccoli into small florets.
  • Place Sauce ingredients in a jar with lid.
  • Add broccoli into water 1 - 2 minutes before pasta is cooked.
  • SCOOP OUT 1 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Add 1/2 cup pasta water to Pasta Sauce jar, shake.
  • Drain pasta and broccoli, put back into same pot on turned off stove.
  • Pour over Sauce, add cheese.
  • Stir vigorously, adding more pasta water if required. Add more salt and pepper if required. Serve immediately, garnished with parmesan.


This recipe will serve 4 as a main or 6 to 8 as a side. To scale recipe, click Servings and slide.
Recipe substitutions:
  • Pasta - any short pasta is fine here, macaroni/elbow, twirls, penne, ziti, orecchiette etc.
  • Broccoli - this dish can take loads of broccoli, and still worth making even if you're a bit short (or scale recipe down - click on servings and slide).
  • Cheese - any melting cheese fine here, preferably flavoured like cheddar, Monterey Jack, tasty, gruyere, Swiss. Mozzarella also fine but you'll probably need more salt.
  • Parmesan - store bought pre grated fine in this recipe. OK if you don't have (as long as you have shredded cheese!)
  • Lemon - not intended to be a full on lemon pasta, but the subtle tang and hint of lemon is terrific. Feel free to jack up the lemon flavour. Subs: 1.5 tbsp more oil or a mild vinegar like white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, even rice wine.
  • Garlic - could stir through green onions instead, or add 1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder into Sauce. OR finely grate any onion and add 2 tbsp it into dressing (juices and all).
  • Herbs - mixed herbs includes a bit of rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, dried basil. Feel free to use any you want, skip it, OR use fresh herbs
    • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil right at the end would be amazing
    • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chives, parsley
    • 2 tbsp oregano
  • Red pepper flakes - for touch of heat, totally optional
  • Sugar - totally optional (takes edge off the sour)
Nutrition per serving as a main (4 servings).


Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 768mg | Potassium: 609mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1270IU | Vitamin C: 116.2mg | Calcium: 347mg | Iron: 2.4mg