Lemon Broccoli Pasta
Lemon Broccoli Pasta is your new favorite 20-minute dinner recipe. Packed with fresh broccoli, garlic, lemon, and parmesan cheese, this healthy pasta dish is bursting with fresh and savory flavors. Serve it alongside your favorite side salad and enjoy!
From this Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad to this Baked Zucchini Pasta, I am no stranger to the concept of combining healthy eating with indulgent pasta recipes. If you’re looking for a healthy weeknight dinner to add to your rotation, look no further than this Lemon Broccoli Pasta.
Not only is this dish easy to make and incredibly flavorful, but it comes together from start to finish in just 20 minutes. This is one of my holy grail dinner recipes to cook for the family on busy weeknights. For parents of picky eaters, this recipe is a fantastic way of getting your kids to eat their veggies. Delicious and child-approved? A win-win!
Lemon Broccoli Pasta is packed with flavorful ingredients like butter, garlic, parmesan, and fresh lemon juice for a rich and savory dish that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Serve this easy weeknight dinner with your favorite protein source (my go-to is grilled chicken breast or sliced chicken sausage) and a side salad for a mouth-watering meal the whole family will enjoy.
Because this pasta recipe is so quick and easy to make, it’s fantastic for meal prepping to enjoy throughout the week for lunch. Whether you’re looking for a healthy main course for your next family dinner or a healthy lunch recipe for this week’s meal preps, this easy broccoli pasta is a perfect choice. Try it out and see for yourself!
Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps
To make this healthy pasta recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Penne pasta. Feel free to use whole wheat or regular pasta. Don’t have penne? Bowtie, rotini, and cavatappi noodles work great for this recipe too.
- Broccoli. You can either buy a head of broccoli and chop it into florets or buy pre-chopped broccoli florets. Frozen broccoli florets work fine as well, if that’s what you have at home. Swap in any other veggies you like.
- Butter. I like to use half olive oil and half butter, but feel free to use one or the other if that’s what you prefer. The fats in these ingredients are wonderful for enhancing the richness of this dish.
- Lemon. Fresh lemon juice and zest brightens up the dish and enhances all the flavors of our ingredients.
- Parmesan cheese. This makes the pasta extra indulgent and delicious! Nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese can work as well.
- Italian seasoning. This is my spice blend of choice to use in this dish, but feel free to use any kind of spices you like.
Recipe Tips and Variations
Here are some of my top tips and tricks for making this dish your own:
- Add some protein. To make this a complete and super-satisfying meal, try topping your broccoli pasta off with your favorite protein. Some of my go-to choices include grilled chicken breast, chicken sausage, shrimp, salmon, or marinatred white beans.
- Switch up your veggies. This dish works great with any veggies you have at home, so feel free to use whatever you’re in the mood for. More great options include mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and peas.
- Add fresh herbs. For some added freshness and delicious flavor, add some fresh herbs to the mix. Try parsley, basil, thyme, sage, or chives.
- Make it spicy. Looking to kick things up a notch? Try adding some crushed red pepper or Calabrain chilies to this dish.
- Make it vegan. To turn this into a vegan pasta recipe, simply swap out the butter for olive oil and the parmesan cheese for your favorite dairy-free alternative.
How to Serve Lemon Broccoli Pasta
While this healthy pasta dish can easily stand on its own, there are quite a few ways you can jazz it up with sides. I love balancing out rich dishes like this one with light and refreshing salads. Then again, you can never go wrong with breadsticks for some classic Olive Garden vibes.
If you need a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with pasta:
- Salads. Pasta and salad go hand in hand, and this Lemon Broccoli Pasta pairs beautifully with any salad. Try pairing it with this Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing or this Spinach Salad with Creamy Balsamic.
- Bread. I am a firm believer in pairing my favorite pasta dishes with warm, pillowy breadsticks or buttery garlic bread. To get started, try pairing your broccoli pasta with these quick and easy Two Ingredient Dough Breadsticks.
- Vegetables. If this doesn’t feature enough veggies to suit your needs, try serving it alongside your favorite cooked vegetables. Personally, I recommend serving this dish alongside the Best Sautéed Peas, Roasted Green Beans, or these Grilled Tomatoes.
How to Store Leftover Pasta
This dish is beyond easy to store, so don’t be afraid of making too much. Before storing your leftovers, it’s important to let the pasta cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the dish to an airtight storage container and store in one of two ways:
- In the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
- In the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this healthy pasta recipe:
Can I use a different kind of pasta?
Of course! You can use any kind of pasta you like. I will say that shorter pasta noodles work best in this dish, so I recommend pasta shapes like macaroni, rotini, cavatappi, and farfalle (bowtie).
What protein can I add to this dish?
If you want to make this dish even more satisfying, you can add any kind of protein you like. I recommend lean protein sources like grilled chicken breast, shrimp, or salmon.
Is this pasta healthy?
Yes! Lemon Broccoli Pasta is full of fresh veggies and good-for-you ingredients that feature a wide range of health benefits. Pasta is fairly high in carbs, so it’s important to consume this dish in moderation. As long as you do that, this is a perfectly healthy meal to add to your rotation for pasta night.
Lemon Broccoli Pasta
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- 8 oz. penne pasta (regular or whole wheat)
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/3 cup Parmesan
- 1 Salt and fresh pepper
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Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in pasta, broccoli, and Parmesan cheese. Add the pasta water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring until a thin sauce forms. The pasta should have a light shine. Season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve with extra fresh lemon juice, Parmesan, and fresh herbs if desired.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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