A few simple ingredients turn this easy pasta with broccoli recipe into dairy free weeknight perfection, and it can be ready in under 20 minutes! Make it vegan with a one simple swap.

Why I love this broccoli pasta recipe

No matter how hard I try, every week there ends up being a day that flies by and before I know it, it’s past dinner time and I’m left scrambling to get dinner together.

This recipe always rescues me. It’s quick and filling, and the broccoli always makes me feel like I’ve fed my family something healthy. Plus, I usually have the ingredients on hand.

What I love most about making pasta with broccoli is the amount of flavor that two simple ingredients can add to the sauce and we don’t even need cheese – although a little dairy free parmesan on top never hurts.

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closeup of rigatoni with broccoli topped with dairy free parmesan cheese and pepper

How to make pasta with broccoli

Prep the broccoli. Rinse and chop your broccoli into bite sized pieces. You can keep the stems on if you want, but I prefer to just use the florets. My daughter loves to much on the thinly sliced broccoli chips anyway, so I usually save the stem for her.

You’re going to use microwave steamed broccoli for this, so put the prepped broccoli into a microwave safe bowl.

Cook the pasta. You can use any type of pasta you want for this recipe, but I prefer a bite sized pasta that’s a little on the larger side, like penne or rigatoni. Whatever you choose, cook it according to the package directions for al dente. Just make sure you salt the water to season the pasta as it cooks.

Before you drain your pasta, reserve some of the starchy pasta water to add to the sauce later.

broccoli in a skillet with a simple pasta sauce

Make the sauce. Heat a saucepan to medium. Add olive oil, garlic and crushed red peppers, if you’re using them, and sauté until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the anchovy paste and nutritional yeast (you can add in a little pasta water to the pan to help dissolve those ingredients).

Toss everything together. Combine the sauce, steamed broccoli and pasta together. I normally do this in the pot I cooked the pasta, and stir to coat everything in sauce. Slowly add pasta water as needed until you reach the consistency you want.

Just make sure you add slowly because you can’t take it out once it’s in. I usually end up adding about a 1/2 cup.

pasta with broccoli in a stockpot with a wooden spoon

FAQs and tips for making pasta with broccoli

Do I have to cook the broccoli in the microwave?

No. You can also cook the broccoli by adding it to the pot while the pasta cooks during the last few minutes of cooking. It should take about 3 – 4 minutes to cook the broccoli in boiling water so time it accordingly based on your pasta’s package instructions.

How can I make this vegan?

To make this broccoli pasta vegan, replace the anchovy paste with an additional tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and an extra pinch of salt.

broccoli pasta in a shallow bowl

More easy pasta recipes:

More dairy free dinner ideas:


Pasta with Broccoli

A few simple ingredients turn this easy pasta with broccoli recipe into dairy free weeknight perfection, and it can be ready in under 20 minutes! Make it vegan with a one simple swap.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian/American


  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 16-ounce package rigatoni
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Coarse salt


  1. Place broccoli in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 4 minutes at full power.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente in a large pot of salted water. Before draining, reserve 1/2 – 1 cup pasta water.
  3. Heat a saucepan to medium. Add olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in anchovy paste and nutritional yeast with a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water until the ingredients dissolve and a sauce is formed.
  5. Combine sauce with broccoli and pasta, adding additional pasta water, as needed, until everything is evenly coated with sauce.
  6. Serve immediately


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 300
  • Sugar: 2.7 g
  • Sodium: 320.1 mg
  • Fat: 8.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.2 mg

Keywords: broccoli pasta, pasta with broccoli, easy pasta recipe, dairy free dinner

Last Updated on October 14, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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