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One Pan Lemon Broccoli Pasta Recipe

Lemon Broccoli Pasta is a delicious vegetarian pasta and broccoli dish with garlic lemon sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese. It is one of those quick recipes that are good for a busy weeknight with a fresh flavor from the lemon juice and zest that the whole family will love. Just toss it all together in one pot for a delicious dinner without all the rigorous process. One-pot dinners are such time-savers, try our One-Pot Roasted Chicken or the incredible Cheeseburger Pasta!

Some people believe that pasta was invented by the Italians. However, there is evidence that it has been used for thousands of years. Scientists found archaeological evidence of pasta from 1700 BC. It was made with rice flour and was even more common during the Shang Dynasty in 1100 BC. Ancient Greeks were also found to have used pasta in the first millennium.

Ingredients needed:

  • Whole-wheat rotini or farfalle pasta: You can use regular pasta if you like.
  • Low-sodium vegetable broth: Chicken broth or beef broth will also work here.
  • Frozen broccoli florets: Thaw and chop broccoli before using it. 
  • Medium shallots: Minced shallots bring a peppery sweet flavor when cooked.
  • Minced garlic cloves: When heated, they have a soft and buttery flavor.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: The lighter the better.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice has the best flavor. 
  • Lemon zest: Similarly, the fresher they are, the better the flavor. 
  • Heavy cream: Gives your sauce a thick and rich consistency and taste.
  • Grated parmesan cheese: Adds a salty and rich flavor at the end. 
  • Water: You can use broth instead for even more flavor.
  • Kosher salt: Any kind of salt will do.
  • Ground black pepper: Freshly ground is best.

How to make lemon broccoli pasta from scratch?

  • Saute the shallots: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes or until they are starting to soften, stirring frequently. Now, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. 
  • Add pasta: Add pasta to the pot and add the broth, water, cream, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring it to a boil over high heat. 
  • Cook for 10 minutes: Then, uncover and reduce to medium heat and cook while stirring frequently for 10 minutes. 
  • Cook broccoli: Last, add broccoli florets and cook while stirring until heated through, for about two or three minutes. 
  • Serve: Stir in the parmesan and lemon juice, lemon zest, before serving.

Recipe variations:

  • Other veggies: Feel free to add your favorite veggies like shredded carrots, cauliflower florets, chopped bell peppers, and whatever else you like.
  • Make it spicy: Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a kick of spiciness.
  • Add meat: This is a great recipe to make as a side dish or a meal. To make it a hearty meal, add some shredded rotisserie chicken, ground beef, or chopped turkey. 
  • Cheesy pasta: Add some shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese to make your dish cheesy.
  • Different zest: Try using lime juice and zest instead of lemon for a different citrus flavor.
  • Thicker sauce: You could also use cream cheese instead of heavy cream for extra thick sauce. 
  • No parmesan: Instead of parmesan, you can use romano or asiago. Or try some nutritional yeast. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes, get the pasta without any gluten in it. They sell it right next to the regular pasta in most grocery stores. If not, you can get it online. Although most parmesan cheese is gluten-free, be sure to check. You may want to try using nutritional yeast instead because it is also dairy-free. 

How do I make pasta al dente?

If the package directions do not have this information, the best way to get it right is to remove it from the heat about two to three minutes before the recommended cooking time is up. To make sure it is cooked right, take a bite. It should have a bit of a bite but not be crunchy.

Can I use a different pasta shape?

We recommend farfalle or rotini because it has little nooks and crannies to hold the sauce. However, you could also use elbow macaroni, penne, ziti, or rigatoni. Any kind of tubular or twisted pasta would work well in this recipe. Fregola and minestrone are also good choices. 

More pasta recipes to try:

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: You can store your leftover lemon broccoli pasta in an airtight container or a resealable baggie. Then, refrigerate for three to four days.
  • Freeze: If you cannot eat it all in a few days, put it in a freezer bag and you can freeze it for up to three months. 
  • Thaw: Thaw out your frozen leftovers the night before in the fridge for easier reheating.
  • Reheat: To reheat, just put it in the microwave for 45 to 90 seconds depending on how much you are reheating.

One Pan Lemon Broccoli Pasta

Lemon Broccoli Pasta is a delicious vegetarian pasta and broccoli dish with garlic lemon sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese.

close shot of lemon broccoli pasta with a serving spoon in it
  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time20 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat or regular farfalle pasta or rotini
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces package frozen broccoli florets thawed and roughly chopped

To serve:

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  • Place a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the oil.
  • Once hot, add the diced shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Next, add the dry pasta, water, broth, cream, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
    adding broth to pasta in a skillet
  • Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes.
  • Next, add broccoli and cook, stirring, until heated through 2 to 3 minutes.
    broccoli over pasta in a skillet
  • Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice, and top with lemon zest.
    adding lemon juice to lemon broccoli pasta
  • Serve immediately with more grated parmesan cheese.
    close shot of a spoonful of lemon broccoli pasta

Nutrition Facts

Cooking tips:

  • Add a little of your pasta cooking water to your sauce to make it thicker. The pasta water has starch from the noodles.
  • Be sure you cook pasta al dente, so it does not get soggy when cooking the rest of the ingredients.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, extra parmesan cheese, and chopped green onions. 
  • If you use fresh broccoli florets, make sure you cook them first.
  • Parmesan adds a welcome saltiness so you can leave out the salt if you want. It also has vitamin C and other health benefits like being low in saturated fat. 


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Jennifer Prince

Jennifer Prince

Ooh! I can't wait to try this. I haven't had lemon and broccoli together before. Sounds divine!



This was incredibly easy to make and the lemon made it taste so bright and fresh! Absolutely delicious!

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

thank you very much for the feedback, I am happy you loved the recipe.



This sounds so amazing; I will have to save it for my meal plan for dinner one night this week. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Such an incredible dish! Can't wait to make this!

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