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 Creamy Broccoli Pasta or this Creamy 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 (great for picky eaters)
- 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
Ingredients and subtitutions
Broccoli. A whole regular broccoli head goes into this recipe. Broccoli is high in many nutrients such as iron, potassium, fiber, and vitamins. You can use tender stem broccoli or romanescu as well.
Spinach. You can use baby spinach or regular spinach. If you are using frozen spinach, make sure they are completely thawed before adding them to the blender.
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. You can substitute the cashew cream with coconut milk, soy cream, oat cream, or regular heavy cream if you want to make this recipe vegetarian.
Extra virgin olive oil. This is always the best oil you can use if you are going to use it raw. Other vegetable oils that can be used are coconut oil, sunflower oil, or avocado oil
Pasta. To make this broccoli pasta, we chose rigatoni from our favorite pasta brand, Garofalo Pastas. You can use any type of pasta you like. We recommend tubular shapes such as penne pasta as they hold the sauce better.
Yeast flakes (optional). We normally add yeast flakes or nutritional yeast while making the spinach and cashew sauce.
Garlic (optional). If you like garlic and want to add some extra flavor, you can add some fresh garlic when blending the sauce. Just make sure you add a little bit (half a clove) and taste the sauce before adding any more. Raw garlic can be quite overpowering.
Before you start cooking, you'll need to leave the cashews soaking in hot water and the broccoli chopped into small pieces or florets.
- Fill a large pot of water and add the broccoli. Bring to a boil and then add the pasta. Following the package 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.
- Reserve some of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta and broccoli using a colander with small holes so the broccoli doesn't go through. At this point, the broccoli should be fork tender.
- Add the broccoli and pasta into the same pot once the water has been drained and add the creamy green sauce. To get a creamier sauce, you can add some reserved pasta water. Mix and serve.
You can add some preserved lemons (finely chopped) or lemon zest to this broccoli pasta recipe 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 cheese.
- Add some spice to the dish. You can give this Creamy Broccoli Pasta recipe a spicy touch by adding red pepper flakes or chili oil before serving.
- Change the pasta shape. You can make green spaghetti, macaroni, fusilli, or any type of pasta shape you like. Use 100% legume pasta for gluten-free options.
- Use coconut cream 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 Romanesco instead of broccoli. We've tried it before and it turned out amazing!
Our Creamy Broccoli Pasta is a delicious and easy dinner recipe. This pasta meal makes your busy weekdays easier making sure you still have something healthy to feed to the whole family.
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.
Lemon zest, black pepper, and vegan parmesan cheese are also great toppings.
Store and Reheat
This meal is quite filling so we normally end up with some leftover pasta. We keep any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days, using an airtight container.
To reheat this pasta, you can use a pan. Heat the pan to medium heat, add the pasta together with some water or unsweetened plant-based milk, and heat until you get that creamy sauce again.
FAQ and Tips
What is a 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. If you want to try another delicious Green Pasta, check this amazing recipe!
Can you boil the pasta with 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 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.
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!|