20-Minute Creamy Pasta with Broccoli (Vegetarian)
Done in just 20 minutes, this Creamy Broccoli Pasta is an amazing one-pot vegetarian pasta. Cooked, bite-size broccoli is tossed in a simple cheesy pasta sauce made of cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Enjoy this veggie-loaded pasta as main meal or as a pasta side dish!
While I eat all the things, it is no secret that I run on plants. And because of that, I’ve kinda become known for my quick, delicious vegetarian recipes. And currently, I am in a veggie-loaded pasta era!
During the cooler months, I love to make a flavorful vegetable pasta bake to warm us up and fill our bellies. And during those hot summer months, I am all about the refreshing ease of a veggie pasta salad. But regardless of the weather or time of year, I am always up for this super simple, wildly creamy broccoli pasta recipe!
And this Creamy Broccoli Pasta has become the perfect jumping off point for dinner. Super simple to make, this creamy sauce + pasta + veggies comes together in 20 minutes! Vegetarian, made in one pot, and easily gluten free. Bump up the protein in this broccoli recipe and toss in your favorite protein into the mix.
Bonus: You can enjoy this side as a main dish too, if you are a pasta lovin’ crew. This recipe makes 4 servings as a main course or 6 to 8 when enjoyed as a side.
Why this Creamy Broccoli Pasta is so awesome!
- It’s made in one pot! All the veggie-loaded yum with no extra dishes. I live for these kinds of recipes.
- Naturally vegetarian, though you can easily add your favorite protein to this broccoli pasta recipe! Crispy tofu goes great with this, but cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage are delicious animal proteins that pair beautifully with this veggie side dish.
- Cooks up in 20 minutes, making it perfect for those crazy weeknights when you are going in all directions.
- Loaded with broccoli, making it a perfect + delicious way to get veggies in at dinner….even if your family is iffy on the veggies.
- Can easily be made gluten free with your favorite gluten free pasta.
How to make this recipe: step-by-step visual guide
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this broccoli pasta recipe gluten free?
You sure can! Just use your favorite gluten free pasta. Any kind of pasta will work well.
How can I make this creamy pasta dairy-free?
I have not tried this recipe with dairy-free substitutes, but I think it will work using a dairy-free cream cheese and shredded cheese. Make sure to taste the final sauce and add seasoning to taste.
Can I use frozen broccoli?
Yes, add the frozen broccoli to the pasta when it’s fully cooked because frozen broccoli is already cooked and just needs to be stirred into the boiling water for 30 seconds to defrost.
Can this broccoli pasta be made ahead of time?
Sure. Just add some extra broth to the pasta when you reheat. This will help prevent the pasta from being too dry when rewarmed.
What’s the best kind of pasta to go with broccoli?
You can use whatever pasta your family enjoys or you have on hand, but I’ve found this recipe works best with the small shaped pastas. Shapes like shells, fusilli, or elbows.
How do you cook broccoli for pasta?
Right IN the pasta water! Awesome, right? Broccoli doesn’t need long to cook, so you just add the florets to the hot pasta water when there are a few minutes left on the timer. The broccoli cooks to perfection without making extra dishes and without getting mushy.
How to cut broccoli for pasta?
Into small, bite-sized florets is ideal. That way the broccoli will cook quickly and you can enjoy a bit of broccoli in every forkful. Or, use small cut frozen broccoli florets and save yourself a step!
Up the veggies!
Want to veggie-load this Creamy Broccoli Pasta even more?
Woohoo! You are singing my tune. So many vegetables would be great in this pasta, such as…
- green beans
- If you want to add greens, like spinach, wilt the leaves in the sauce just before adding the cooked pasta since spinach doesn’t take very long to cook.
- Add some spice. If you enjoy a little heat in your broccoli pasta, add a little crushed red peppers flakes to the final dish.
- Make it as part of meal prep. The leftovers are magical.
- Add some extra protein. Broccoli has a lovely amount of plant protein. However, if you’d like to up it a bit more, add some crispy tofu, cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage to this broccoli pasta.
Other broccoli recipes you will love!
- Roasted Air Fryer Broccoli
- Instant Pot Broccoli
- Savory Vegetable Muffins
- Teriyaki Broccoli Chickpea Stir Fry
- Broccoli Tots
- Easy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Loving this broccoli pasta recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
20-Minute Creamy Pasta with Broccoli (Vegetarian)
- 8 ounces small-shaped pasta of choice, use gluten free for gluten free option
- 8 ounces broccoli florets, cut into bite sized-pieces, about 3 cups
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup cream cheese, about 3 ounces
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, or any cheese your prefer
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and set a timer for the cook time on the box minus 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the broccoli to the water when 3 minutes are left if you like your broccoli on the softer side and add the broccoli in when there are 2 minutes left if you like it a little more crisp. After the cook time is up, taste a piece of broccoli to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. Drain pot into a colander and set pot back on the stove.
- Add oil to the pot and place on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add vegetable broth and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to make sure the onion is fully softened.
- Stir in cream cheese to melt then add shredded cheese and whisk until melted and combined. Season with black pepper.
- Add in cooked pasta and broccoli and stir to coat in the sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, as desired. Serve.