If you are looking for a healthy and quick pasta dish that the whole family will love, our broccoli pasta or green pasta is a perfect choice. This recipe is vegan and can easily be made gluten-free.
The truth is that we've made this pasta recipe at home for some time already. This broccoli and spinach pasta is a dish that we try to make weekly or at least every second week. We love pesto sauce and this is just as good but loaded with green veggies.
As you may already know, we have a busy toddler that loves food but can be really picky some days too. When it comes to green pasta, he absolutely loves it and will normally ask for seconds. So if you have kids or toddlers, you will be happy to know they normally love pasta with our green sauce!
If you find it difficult to introduce broccoli and spinach into your weekly menu, this could be a perfect way. Once you know how to cook the green sauce, you can choose your favorite pasta and cook it as often as you like.
This creamy green pasta is really quick and easy to make which makes it ideal for busy weekdays. We make a quick cashew and spinach cream to mix with the broccoli and pasta and get the yummiest healthy meal.
This Broccoli Pasta is:
- Can be made gluten-free if using gluten-free pasta
- Toddler and kids-friendly
- Quick to make
- Easy to prepare
- Made using simple ingredients
What is green pasta
Green pasta can be made of different ingredients. People making more pesto-like sauces will normally use basil and pinenuts, but our green pasta is made with broccoli, spinach, and cashew nuts.
We have a similar recipe on the blog that uses pesto, broccoli, and avocado. It's a really tasty recipe too, but our son Luca prefers this green broccoli pasta as it's creamier and he cannot find big chunks of broccoli.
You can combine this broccoli and spinach sauce with your favorite pasta. When it comes to pasta shapes, we recommend using tubular shapes. Rigatoni, penne, or ziti are perfect for thick and hearty sauces. If you want to make this dish healthier, use whole-grain pasta or legume pasta such as lentil or chickpea pasta. These last two options are gluten-free as well.
How to cook Broccoli Pasta
Broccoli. A whole broccoli head goes into this recipe. Broccoli is high in many nutrients such as iron, potassium, fiber, and vitamins.
Spinach. You can use baby spinach or regular spinach.
Fresh lemon juice. We use the juice of one homegrown lemon and the lemon peel to add before serving. We normally have preserved lemons at home so we add some before serving too.
Cashew nuts. To make the cashew cream, we use pre-soaked cashews and water. Simply leave the cashews soaking while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Extra virgin olive oil. This is always the best oil you can use if you are going to use it raw.
Pasta. We chose rigatoni from our favorite pasta brand, Garofalo Pastas. You can use any type of pasta you like. We recommend tubular shapes as they hold the sauce better.
Yeast flakes (optional). We normally add yeast flakes or nutritional yeast while making the spinach and cashew sauce.
Step by Step Method
Before you start cooking, you'll need to leave the cashews soaking in hot water and the broccoli chopped into small florets or pieces.
- Fill a large pot of water and add the broccoli. Bring to a boil and then add the pasta. Following the packet instructions cook until the pasta is done (al dente). You don't need a steamer for this recipe as the broccoli can be cooked while cooking the pasta. Handy right?
- While the pasta and broccoli are cooking and once the cashews have been soaking for about 20 minutes, add them into a blender jug together with the spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, water, and yeast flakes (optional). Blend until you have a smooth and creamy green sauce.
- Drain the pasta and broccoli using a colander with small holes so the broccoli doesn't go through.
- Add the broccoli and pasta into the same pot once the water has been drained and add the creamy green sauce. Mix and serve.
You can add some preserved lemons (finely chopped) or lemon zest before serving. For a vegetarian option, you could add some mozzarella chunks while you mix the sauce with the pasta and the broccoli.
- Add basil instead of spinach to make it more pesto-like. Spinach contains a higher amount of vitamins but basil is richer in minerals. Both green leaves are perfect for a healthy meal.
- Make it vegetarian by adding mozzarella. Our son Luca loves mozzarella so we normally add some chunks to his plate.
- Change the pasta shape. You can make green spaghetti, macaroni, fussili or any type of pasta shape you like. Use 100% legume pastas for gluten-free options.
- Use coconut cream or instead of cashew cream and make it nut-free.
- Cook the broccoli separated from the pasta and blend it to make a smoother pasta sauce.
- Make this recipe using a whole romanescu instead of broccoli. We've tried it before and it turned out amazing!
We love to serve this green pasta with a light drizzle of chili oil or olive oil for Luca, lemon zest, and some finely chopped preserved lemons.
Serve with some kalamata olives and a fresh salad on the side and you've got a winner meal!
This meal is quite filling so we normally end up with a portion in the pot. We keep any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days, using an air-tight container.
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FAQ and Tips
- What is green pasta sauce made of? Green pasta can be made of different ingredients. Our green pasta sauce is made with broccoli, spinach, and cashew nuts.
- Can you boil the pasta with the broccoli? Yes! We add the broccoli before the water starts to boil and then incorporate the pasta. The broccoli will be this way really tender and easy to mash with a fork. We do it this way so our picky toddler doesn't complain. If you prefer your broccoli more al dente, add it 3 minutes before the pasta is cooked.
- Is this recipe gluten-free? If you want to make this dish gluten-free you need to use a gluten-free pasta and make sure the yeast flakes (if you add some in) are gluten-free.
- Is cashew cream vegan? Cashew cream is made with cashews and water so 100% vegan and healthy.
- You can keep the leftovers in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.
- Serve with olives and if you enjoy spicy food, a light drizzle of chili oil or some red pepper flakes.
- Lemon zest, black pepper and vegan parmesan cheese are also great toppings.
Broccoli Pasta (Green Pasta)
- 50 g cashew nuts
- 1 broccoli head around 500 g
- 350 g Rigatoni pasta
- 250 g spinach
- Juice of one lemon
- 100 ml water
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon yeast flakes optional
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Leave the cashews soaking in hot water for 20 minutes.
- Chop the broccoli into small florets.
- Fill a big pot with salted water and add the broccoli. Bring to a boil and then add the pasta. Cook following the packet instructions.
- While the pasta and broccoli are cooking and once the cashews have been soaking for about 20 minutes, drain the water, rinse them and add them into a blender jug together with the spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, water, and yeast flakes (optional).
- Blend until you have a smooth and creamy green sauce.
- Once the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain using a colander with small holes so the broccoli doesn't go through.
- Add the broccoli and pasta into the same pot once the water has been drained and add the green creamy sauce.
- Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- We love to serve this green pasta with a light drizzle of chilli oil or olive oil for Luca, lemon zest, and some finely chopped preserved lemons.
- Serve with some kalamata olives and a fresh salad on the side for the perfect meal.
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram. We are always happy to see your creations!|