Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta (family favorite!)
This Easy Garlic Broccoli Pasta is the perfect family dinner! Using one-pot, 5-ingredients and made in less than 20 minutes, what’s not to love? Plus, the entire family loves this healthy and easy dinner – from baby to adults!
Garlic Broccoli Pasta
This amazingly delicious dinner is great when you are short on time or low on food in your pantry!
A basic pasta dish that is kicked up at least ten thousand notches with a cheesy and garlicky sauce that actually blew my daughter’s mind🤯.
She told all of us, in a loud and somewhat bossy voice, “this pasta is AMAZZZZZING.. soooo much better than cheesy noodles (what we call mac and cheese)”!
That is literally like getting 3 Michlin stars from a 5 year-old! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This Garlic Broccoli Pasta comes together in one-pot in less than 20 minutes. I tossed some fresh broccoli into ours because I had a bag that needed to be used up, but you can also use frozen broccoli if that is all you have on hand 🥦. Or really any other veggie you have on hand would work – chopped asparagus, green beans, peas, corn or cauliflower. But there is something about the broccoli covered with the cheesy garlic sauce that my kids can’t get enough of!
Reasons to Love this Family-Favorite Pasta
- my entire family loves this dish
- great for babies – adults
- can separate out the broccoli for picky eaters
- uses one-pot
- pantry staples
- less than 20 minutes
- great for leftovers
- creamy and delicious
- comfort food
- can be made gluten-free
- great for baby-led weaning
- see more fun add-in options below
How to Serve This Broccoli Pasta
Baby: I separated the pasta and broccoli and then added no-sugar-added applesauce (could also use an apple puree or warmed apple slices with a pinch of cinnamon) to this dish. I only had applesauce on-hand to show this. You can serve the applesauce with a big self-feeding baby spoon for baby to try to eat by themselves or pre-load a baby spoon and hand it to baby. Depending on the age of baby, you can serve the pasta with the butter/garlic/parm sauce or serve plain without the sauce.
Toddler: I served this pasta and broccoli along with a side of applesauce and dried fruit. You can also separate the broccoli and pasta into different sections (like in the baby-led weaning picture) if they won’t eat them together.
Picky Eater: You can serve this meal to a picky eater by separating out the broccoli and pasta. The light garlic parmesan sauce on the pasta is usually a big hit with picky eaters. I would serve the applesauce alongside the pasta and broccoli because it is a safe food and will help them get over the green food on their plate. For my family, I would tell them they can have more of the safe food (ie the applesauce) but only after eating some pasta and broccoli. Those are just the rules in my house. You do you!
Kid: serve the pasta with a small side salad and applesauce. If your kid isn’t into salads yet, serve the salad deconstructed with each ingredient that would go on a salad, including the lettuce, but in small piles on their plate. This helps them see what is actually going to be on a salad in a neat system. I always let my kids pour their own dressing onto their salads, which is usually either a homemade balsamic or ranch dressing.
Adult: I love this pasta with a big pinch of red pepper flakes and either a big side salad or extra steamed veggies.
SPECIAL DIETARY RESTRICTIONS:
Gluten-Free: you can easily make this meal gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta.
Dairy-Free: make this dish dairy-free by using a dairy-free butter and cheese.
- shredded chicken
- other chopped veggies such as asparagus, green beans, peas, corn or cauliflower
- canned tuna
- toasted pinenuts
- crumbled sausages
MORE DINNERS YOUR FAMILY WILL LOVE
- DIY Family Dinner – Turkey Taco Bowls
- DIY Family Dinner – Greek Platter
- Easy Tomato Soup with Cheesy Bread Dippers
- Crispy Salmon Bites
- Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries” (toddler, kid + adult approved)
DID YOU MAKE THIS GARLIC BROCCOLI PASTA RECIPE?
I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A ⭐️ RATING BELOW 👇
Get the recipe: Easy Garlic Broccoli Pasta
- 1 16oz box of pasta, any shape you prefer
- 3 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
- red pepper flakes, (optional for grown ups)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in the pasta. When there are 3 minutes left in the cooking time, add in the fresh broccoli. If using frozen broccoli, add in when there are 4 minutes left in the cooking time.
- IMPORTANT: reserve 2 cups of pasta water before straining.
- In a large colander, strain the pasta and broccoli.
- Place the same large pot over medium-low heat and add butter. Once melted, add in the minced garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until light brown, stirring often.
- Add the pasta and broccoli back into the large pot. Add in the Parmesan and 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir for 1 minute or until the cheese is completely incorporated. If pasta is too dry, add in more of the reserved water 1/4 cup at a time. Depending on the brand and type of pasta you may need to add in the full 1 additional cup. I had to add a total of 1 1/2 cup of the reserved water to the pasta in the photos. I find that I have to add in more water for some brands of gluten-free pasta.
- Serve and enjoy.