Easy Weeknight Lemon Broccoli Pasta
Updated: Oct 27
This is a favorite in our house. The kids love it and, honestly, I'm not really sure why...its full of broccoli and spinach that are NOT hidden in some secret sauce. Maybe the kids dig the lemon? Its best not to ask questions. They eat it, I'm happy.
I can't stress to you how easy and quick this recipe comes together. It takes a tiny bit of prep up-front, but its basically done in the time it takes for the pasta to cook.
I also can't believe that I've posted this many recipes and the amazingness of broccoli has not been discussed. Ready?
Broccoli is very nutrient-rich, high in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients like vitamins A, C, K, B-Complex, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron, and beta carotene. Broccoli is also loaded with sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, anti-cancer compounds known for their prevention in stomach, colon, liver, breast, skin and prostate cancers.
Feeling foggy? Broccoli is fantastic for the brain by strengthening and sharpening cognitive abilities such as memory, focus, and concentration skills. Its also great is the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The beta carotene in broccoli aids in vision and eye health and can significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Broccoli is highly beneficial for the nervous system and cardiovascular health. Its been known to ease migraines, hypertension, anxiety and nervousness, while also warding off seasonal allergies, watery eyes, sinus infections, colds, flu, bronchitis, atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. Broccoli is also high in fiber, making broccoli exceptional at regulating blood sugar, preventing constipation, and curbing overeating.
And if all this wasn't enough, broccoli contains more protein per cup than that of rice with only half the calories.
Broccoli is a kitchen SUPERSTAR, and I bet after reading this post you are already on your way to pick some up for dinner tonight!
2 heads of fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pkg gluten-free fusili pasta (I like Trader Joe's Quinoa and Brown Rice Fusili)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (2 small)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Boil water and a bit of salt and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the broccoli to the pasta water and cover to cook for the last two minutes of the pasta cook time. Once pasta is tender but firm, reserve a bit of the pasta water and strain the pasta and broccoli.
Immediately add the pasta and broccoli back to the same pot and add the remaining ingredients. Stir slightly and cover, to allow the baby spinach to wilt, about 5 minutes.
Once wilted, stir again until everything is combined, adding the pasta water bit by bit until a slight sauce develops. You can even add a pat of vegan butter (I like Miyokos brand) at the end, if that's your vibe.
Serve immediately with additional cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.