Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10
Prep time
Cook time
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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.
Recipe type: pasta
Serves: 6
  • 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of baby broccoli, chopped - use as much broccoli as you want here, the more the merrier
  • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta - we like to use cellentani
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons 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
  1. 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.
  2. Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.
  3. Below are two ways to cook the broccoli. Pick the one that works best for you.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. NOTE: If one minute seems too short then throw it in for the last two minutes. One minute definitely works for baby broccoli and broccolini.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
Recipe by Marin Mama Cooks at