Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid Rated a 10

Looking for an easy, weeknight, meatless, family friendly, 30-minute, one-bowl pasta dish?  Look no further because this pasta fits the bill.  This is my weekly go-to pasta because it’s super easy to make, (I could literally make this blindfolded) kid approved and it’s a one-bowl meal. It’s one of those pastas that my kiddos request often (like weekly) and I happily make.  I’ve been making this pasta dish for 10 years and it’s still one of our family faves. This is the pasta that got my kids to first TRY and LOVE broccoli, so there you go…

Zoe often brings the leftovers to school for lunch and I now have to pack a huge container, as all her friends want a forkful. I’ve even had some of her friends ask me if I could pack them a thermos of leftover pasta next time! This pasta is the dinner of choice at all sleepovers.  You have to believe this is good if a bunch of 12 year olds are preferring a bowl of broccoli pasta to pizza!  Come on, give it a try and let me know what your troops think!

Broccoli lemon pasta

Broccoli Lemon Pasta

recipe from Barefoot Contessa
serves 6

  • 4 broccoli heads, or 3 bunches of broccolini
  • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta, or GF brown rice pasta – I love this brown rice pasta from Tinkyada as well as this one from Jovial
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • zest of 1 lemon (roughly 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground pepper (for the grown ups)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts or toasted walnuts

Ingredients for broccoli lemon pasta

I love to prep all my ingredients ahead of time so they’re ready to go when needed.  Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls.

I always put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl, as they will go in at the same time.

Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.

Broccoli lemon pasta ingredients

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil for the pasta. Below are two ways to cook the broccoli.  

Pick the one that works best for you.

Steaming: Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away.  I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way.  We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch.  You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it.  Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.

One-pot method: Here’s my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I toss the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time. So, if the pastas cooking time is 8 minutes, I toss the chopped broccoli in at 7 minutes, and then drain the pasta and broccoli together.

Broccolini cooking in the pasta water

Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat.  

Butter melting in sautee pan

Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.  

Butter and lemon zest in sautee pan

Pour this mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.

Lemon juice in measuring cup

Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in, if you steamed your broccoli, or if you cooked the pasta with the broccoli, then put the drained pasta and broccoli back into the pan you cooked it in.

Add the lemon mixture and toss everything together really well, so all the pasta and broccoli are coated with the lemon mixture.

Pasta and broccoli in pot

I top each bowl of pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan cheese, a few swigs of freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts/walnuts.

The pepper adds a bit of flavor and the nuts add a nice nutty and meaty crunch.

Broccoli lemon pasta with walnuts

Broccoli lemon pasta

The kids rate this dish a 10!  The broccoli tastes amazing as the lemon gives it such a nice flavor and takes away any bitterness.  I can honestly say that I’m not the biggest broccoli fan when it’s just steamed, but I can eat a whole bowl of broccoli when its made this way.  You might even want to make this lemon sauce and just add it to a mess of broccoli one night.

I hope this pasta becomes a family favorite in your house.

Here’s some other easy family favorite pastas to try!

Pasta with kale pesto and broccolini.

Kale spinach and basil pesto with broccoli rabe and rigatoni pasta.

Cheesy baked tortellini.

Cheesy baked tortellini

Spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

Spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

Pasta with lemon, kale and toasted walnuts.

Pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts

 Weeknight bolognese – dairy-free.

Bolognese simmering in a pot on the stove

With love Jackie

Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid Rated a 10

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Jackie
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cook time

10

minutes
Total time

20

minutes

    This is an easy, weeknight, meatless, family friendly, 30-minute, one-bowl pasta dish that gets requested weekly at my house. This is the pasta that got my kids to first TRY and LOVE broccoli.

    Ingredients

    • 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of broccolini, chopped

    • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta, or brown rice GF pasta

    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)

    • zest of 1 lemon (roughly 1 tablespoon)

    • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

    • 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt or kosher salt

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    • freshly shredded parmesan cheese

    • freshly ground pepper (for the grown ups)

    • ¼ cup toasted pinenuts or walnuts

    Directions

    • Prep all of your ingredients. Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls. I always put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl because they both get used together later.

    • Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.

    • Below are two ways to cook the broccoli. Pick the one that works best for you.
    • Steaming: Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away. I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way. We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch. You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it. Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.

    • One-pan method: Here's my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I toss the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta's cooking time. So, if the pastas cooking time is 8 minutes, I toss the chopped broccoli in at 7 minutes, and then drain the pasta and broccoli together.

    • Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking
    • Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

    • Pour the butter/garlic mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.

    • Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in, if you steamed your broccoli, or if you cooked the pasta with the broccoli, then put the drained pasta and broccoli back into the pan you cooked it in.

    • Add the lemon mixture to the pasta, and toss everything together really well, so that all the pasta and broccoli are coated with the lemon mixture.

    • Serve the pasta up into individual bowls. I make sure that each bowl gets a good amount of broccoli and then I add the pasta.

    • I top each bowl of pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan cheese, a few swigs of freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts. The pepper adds a bit of flavor and the pine nuts add a nice nutty and meaty crunch.

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      37 thoughts on “Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid Rated a 10”

        1. I am so glad you liked the pasta. I am actually making it for my kids tomorrow night. This was one of my first posts and I realize I need to update the photos. Thanks so much for visiting 🙂

      1. I tried this tonight when I saw it on Meg’s comment section, and you are soooo right….this is DELISH! My entire family devoured it and it is completely GONE. Thank you! 🙂

        1. Hi Robin! Thanks for stopping by and giving this pasta a try. I’m so glad your kids loved it. I’m not a big broccoli fan on its own, but throw it in this pasta, and I’m hooked. My kids feel the same way and this was the dish that got my son to start eating broccoli. Gotta love that Barefoot!

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      5. Alright! Am eating this right now and could not wait to tell you that I am a huge fan! We’ve been cooking from your blog all week and tried (and really enjoyed) your turkey burger recipe last night. Thank you for sharing your delicious eats!

        1. Hey girl! I’m so happy that you’ve been eating from the blog all week and that you’re loving all of the recipes. That really makes me super duper happy! THANK YOU for trying the recipes. It’s always nice to hear from readers who actually cook from the blog, so I really appreciate that you keep in touch letting me know what you make. You and I really do eat and like the same stuff. I’m actually in the process of making up the broccoli lemon pasta for dinner and it smells so good. I found a quicker way to cook up the broccoli which I updated in the above the post. I’m also super psyched that you loved the turkey burgers. xoxo, Jackie

        1. Thanks Nithya! This pasta is one of my family’s favorite easy weeknight pastas. Make sure you add the pine nuts, as they really give the dish a nice nutty crunch. 🙂

            1. Hi Nithya! I’m so glad you made and liked the recipe, and I’ll be sure to check out your site! Thanks 🙂

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      8. Where have you been all my life!? Another FANTASTIC recipe this one may be my favorite! Even my 15th old is crazy about it.

        1. Hi Caitlin! Yaay! Another winner recipe with your family. That makes me so happy to hear girl! This is the pasta that got my kids to like broccoli, so it’s been a family favorite for years and I hope it stays a family favorite in your house as well! I actually filmed a video of my girlfriend and I making this last night, but I forgot a few things in the video, so I have to do a re-shoot! Oh well 😉 Have a great day Caitlin 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      9. Made this tonight — I had all ingredients on hand! Very tasty… My two little ones devoured the pasta, and the one who eats broccoli ate that too. Thanks for sharing another tasty recipe!

      10. Hi Jackie! Love your blog and reading up on your life since Roger Williams. You have a beautiful family and amazing job! This dish sounds so good. My girls will love it. Thanks so much! Sara

        1. Hey Sara! Wow, it was so fun to see your name on the blog. I’m assuming that Bess mentioned my blog to you and I’m so happy that she did! Thanks Bess! Thanks for your sweet comment girl! I know your girls will love this dish. It’s one pasta dish that I can make for the pickiest kid and they end up loving it. Let me know how it turns out for you and thanks again for stopping by and saying hi! It’s so good to hear from you! 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

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      13. Hi Jackie – I have two boys who can’t have pine nuts, or any nuts for that matter. What would you suggest I could use to substitute them for that extra something?
        Thanks – Jacki 🙂

        1. Hi Jacki! Hmmm….I’m not sure! My kids don’t like the pine nuts or any nuts really, so I never add the nuts to their pasta. I just toast up the nuts for John and I, and just top our bowls with the nuts. The pasta doesn’t need the nuts at all! I just like the extra texture, but most of the kids that come to my house eat the pasta sans the nuts. Does that help? 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      14. Super yum! Just made this and my 4 yr old loved it, even the pine nuts! My 1 yr old ate all of it too, though she picked around the broc, that’s cool she’s still developing her eating habits 😉 Bonus, ny husband came home late and ate it cold and thought it was great too! Winner!

        1. Hi Lisa! Awesome news! I’m so glad that your family loved this pasta and even that your hubby gave it the thumbs up! Dinner success! xoxo, Jackie

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      17. Yummy! I’ve made this a couple of times now and my kids (3 and 5) always ask for more! I just tried it with broccolini and baby broccoli and I love the different flavor it gives as opposed to regular broccoli. My kids ate up their plates! Thanks for this great recipe!

        1. Hi Angie! Awesome! Thanks for making this recipe! I’m so happy to hear that this pasta is a hit in your house. It’s still one of my kid’s favorite pastas. I’m glad you tried it with the broccoli rabe/baby broccoli! It’s the only way we eat it now, as my kid’s prefer broccoli rabe, and it’s just easier to toss it in for the last minute as opposed to pre-cooking it! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi sweetie! I really love hearing from readers! xoxo, Jacquelyn 🙂

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