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Easy 20 Minute Lemon-Broccoli Pasta Dinner

  • Author: Laney Schwartz
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 people 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


In just 20 minutes, this easy pasta dinner is ready to serve! We all need a quick meal in our back pocket, am I right?! This broccoli pasta is uncomplicated and simple to make at home—it combines lemon juice and zest, chopped broccoli florets, fragrant minced garlic, your favorite short dried pasta, plus olive oil. That’s it! The magic? It’s in the ingredient ratios.


  • 12 ounces broccoli florets (or 1 head)
  • 1/2 pound short pasta
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, (minced)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add about 1 tablespoon of salt and return to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for about 2-3 minutes until just tender. Remove broccoli from pot and set aside. Do not drain water. Use the same water to cook the pasta.
  2. Bring water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package, about 10 minutes.
  3. While pasta is cooking, make the broccoli sauce. Roughly chop the broccoli and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium/high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chopped broccoli, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through. 
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and add the pasta directly into the pan, top with grated Parmesan cheese, and toss to combine. If sauce needs to be thinned out, add some pasta water. Serve immediately!