Give homemade Broccoli Pasta extra yum with this power-packed cheese sauce that has 4 cups of broccoli built in. It is ready in less than 20 minutes, has two veggies in the mix, and is super easy to make. You can even freeze extra portions for future weeks!

broccoli pasta in three bowls on counter.

Broccoli Pasta

This post is sponsored by Colavita

I am a big fan of serving vegetables to the kids in all sorts of ways, and this Broccoli Pasta is a big favorite. It’s similar to my Green Pasta Sauce but uses broccoli instead of cauliflower in the sauce. It’s a great option for kids who may already love broccoli, who haven’t yet found a favorite way to eat it, or who need a cozy, cheesy pasta recipe!

You can make the sauce as you prepare the pasta or you can make it ahead and store it in the fridge or freezer. You can use dairy-free cheese if needed. And you can combine it with any type of pasta you like.

I’m using Colavita pasta in this recipe for beneficial fats and moisture. I love their products since they are family owned and operated, and the company offers so many delicious and wholesome Italian pantry staples including olive oil, pasta, beans, tomato sauces and pastes, and more. Use my exclusive code YUMMY25 in their online store for 25% off.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to make this pasta recipe to share with the kids so you know what to have on hand. This is an easy weeknight meal, or you can pack it in a thermos as a hot lunch for day care or school.

  • Broccoli florets: You can use a full broccoli crown, precut florets, or frozen broccoli in this recipe, according to what you have or prefer to use. They all work about the same.
  • Baby spinach: Baby spinach adds iron, fiber, and a bright green color to the sauce. It’s such a fun way to serve greens to kids, and it blends right in. You can skip this if you don’t have it, though the sauce will be a little less bright green in color.
  • Milk (or cream or half-and-half): You can use any of the options I mention to ensure that the pasta sauce is thick and creamy. You can also use a plain, unsweetened nondairy milk if needed.
  • Broth: A little broth adds flavor to the sauce recipe. You can use reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese adds flavor and creaminess to this cheese sauce.
  • Butter: A little butter adds richness and flavor to the pasta sauce. I usually use unsalted butter in my cooking so I can add the salt to taste.
  • Garlic powder (optional): Add a pinch of garlic powder for more flavor in the sauce.
  • Pasta (such as elbow, mini shells, farfalle, orecchiette pasta, or another mini pasta shape): You can serve this pasta sauce with any pasta you prefer, though we love this most with short pasta shapes such as elbows or mini wagon wheels.
  • Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper, optional.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is a look at how to make this broccoli pasta so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full amounts and timing.

how to make broccoli pasta in grid of images.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the broccoli until just soft and tender.
  2. Use a fine-mesh strainer or slotted spoon to remove the broccoli and add to a blender.
  3. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  4. Cook the pasta, blend the sauce, and stir together. You can add as much or as little of the sauce as you like.
Broccoli pasta sauce in silicone freezer storage.

How to Store

Store any leftovers of the Broccoli Pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Warm for 30-60 seconds in the microwave to serve.

You can make the cheese sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container. Or you can place into a freezer container or ice cube tray to freeze for a future meal. Warm for 15-30 seconds in the microwave before stirring into the pasta.

Broccoli pasta with bag of colavita pasta on side.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use whichever kind of pasta your family likes best.
  • Omit the garlic powder if you’re worried the kids may not like it.
  • Stir the sauce into the pasta right before serving.
  • Use as much or as little of the sauce as you prefer.
  • Dairy-free: Omit the cheese, use broth instead of milk, and add ½ cup white beans. Or use dairy-free cheese, butter, and milk.
  • Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free pasta as desired.
  • Top your serving with cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes, if desired. You might even like some fresh lemon zest.

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Broccoli pasta in various bowls.

Easy Broccoli Pasta

Give homemade Broccoli Pasta extra yum with this power-packed cheese sauce that has 4 cups of broccoli built in. It is ready in less than 20 minutes, has two veggies in the mix, and is super easy to make. You can even freeze extra portions for future weeks!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 346kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (optional but recommended)
  • cup reduced-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • cup heavy cream (or milk)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • pinch garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 pound pasta (such as elbow or other mini pasta shape)
  • Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper (optional)
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Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork.
  • Use a fine-mesh strainer or slotted spoon to remove the broccoli and add to a blender. Add the spinach, broth, cream, cheese, butter, salt, and garlic powder if using. Blend until smooth.
  • Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water from Step 1 and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
  • Stir as much of the cheese sauce into the pasta as you like to coat the pasta thoroughly. Serve warm, topped with parmesan and cracked black pepper if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Warm for 30-60 seconds in the microwave to serve.
  • You can make the cheese sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container. Warm for 15-30 seconds in the microwave before stirring into the pasta.
  • Freeze prepared cheese sauce for up to 6 months. You can do small portions by freezing it in an ice cube tray.
  • Use whichever kind of pasta your family likes best.
  • Omit the garlic powder if you’re worried the kids may not like it.
  • Stir the sauce into the pasta right before serving.
  • Dairy-free: Omit the cheese, use broth instead of milk, and add ½ cup white beans. Or use dairy-free cheese, butter, and milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 218mg, Potassium: 342mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1362IU, Vitamin C: 43mg, Calcium: 148mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    i loved it and so did my two sons 4 and 2. most of your recipes are hits in our household. very happy i stumbled upon you last year.

  2. 5 stars
    The flavor was there but the consistency did not go over well. I think something a little creamier would work better for my son.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Easy to make and our toddler loves it. What a good way to sneak broccoli and spinach into a kid-friendly meal!

  4. 5 stars
    This is fantastic. Will surely join the regular rotation. My kids love all your pastas with veg sauces. I usually add some seasoning to them for the adults, but this one was perfect as is for both kids and adults.

  5. 5 stars
    I just made this for my 1.5 yo twins. It. Was. A. Hit!!! I liked it, too. Now they are running around all crazy happy from full bellies after a delicious meal. This one will be repeated for sure!

  6. 5 stars
    So easy to make, and my 7 yo loved it! I used a garbanzo based pasta for added protein, and it turned out well.

  7. 5 stars
    I’m 46 and lactose intolerant. It’s so nice to see dairy alternatives listed! That said, giving up regular butter is pushing it too far for me personally. I can deal with some… discomfort:).

    I love broccoli. I tend to steer clear of cauliflower recipes due to the smell of cooking (and cooked) cauliflower making me sick. Raw is fine though:)

    This is most definitely something I’d have loved as a child. Fortunately, broccoli never was an issue. Brussel Sprouts on the other hand…..***shudders***

    Silk (soybean) milk fine? I hate almond milk, that’s why I ask.

    1. It’s possible it may thicken some as it sits. Do you think you might have gotten water into the sauce when you removed the broccoli from the pot?

      1. Yes definitely did get water in but you’re right it thickened as time passed, thank you it’s yummy 😋

  8. 5 stars
    You nailed it, once again! My 15-month-old baby boy ate a full plate of this pasta… it rarely happens. Thank you so so much for all the work you do for us!! Xxx

  9. 5 stars
    Delightful. Kids wouldn’t eat it because if was green despite the name but I have strange kids. They don’t like pizza either so not a good judge, lol. I thought it was super tasty. I used rice noodles and was so happy it was gluten free macaroni. I’ve missed it!! Definitely will make it again.

  10. Hi Amy! I love your recipes for my 2 year old! My one wish for your recipes is for you to add weight measurements for some things. For example, “4 cups of broccoli” can vary widely depending on the size of the florets. And an instruction like “2 cups lightly packed spinach” (which you mention on some recipes) can mean many things to many people :). If it’s not too much extra work for you I’d really appreciate this addition. Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi- If you toggle the recipe to metric, you will see the weight info if that helps. I will keep that in mind and will also try to provide more info! Thanks for the feedback!