broccoli pasta bake with plates, parsley, serving spoon, and napkin

Broccoli Pasta Bake

A simple, creamy vegetarian broccoli pasta bake with a crunchy cheesy topping that is perfect for any night of the week!

If you are looking for an easy vegetarian weeknight dish that is hearty, creamy, and super tasty, look no further! This broccoli pasta bake has a rich and creamy cheese sauce with garlic and mustard, giving it a slight kick. The breadcrumb and cheese topping becomes golden, crunchy, and slightly melted in the oven, making it the perfect combination when you are in the mood for a healthy and hearty dish.

broccoli and noodles in a baking pan
broccoli, cheese filling and pasta

Why This Recipe Works

Easy – If you can boil pasta, you can make this recipe! Prep time is just 20 minutes, and the ingredients are simple.

Healthy – This is a great vegetarian dish that is full of broccoli. Make it even healthier by adding a second veggie!

Cheesy and Crunchy – The sauce is cheesy and creamy, and the breadcrumb/cheese topping becomes golden and crunchy in the oven. Yum!

Versatile – Use your favorite type of cheese and/or substitute cauliflower for the broccoli. Make this pasta bake your own!

Great for Weeknights – Because this dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, it’s perfect for a busy weeknight!

broccoli and pasta in baking dish
broccoli and pasta covered in cheese and breadcrumbs

Needed Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • All-purpose flour
  • Skim or 2% milk
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Rigatoni or penne pasta
  • Broccoli
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Fresh parsley
broccoli pasta bake on a white plate and in a baking dish with two forks and white napkin

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Step 1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 2. Whisk in flour and combine until a paste is formed. Pour in milk slowly and continue to whisk for another minute.
  • Step 3. Stir in mustard, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Add 2/3 cup of cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and stir until well incorporated.
  • Step 4. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, minus 3 minutes. About 2 minutes before pasta is ready to be drained, add the broccoli florets and cook in pasta for remaining 2 minutes.
  • Step 5. Drain pasta and broccoli (but reserve 3 Tablespoons of pasta water to whisk into onion/milk mixture) and transfer into large baking dish.
  • Step 6. After adding reserved pasta water to sauce, pour sauce over pasta and broccoli, and gently combine.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs along with the remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture on top of pasta and cover the dish with foil.
  • Step 7. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  • Step 8. Garnish with parsley, if using. Serve immediately.
broccoli pasta bake

Recipe Notes and Helpful Tips

This recipe calls for rigatoni or penne pasta, but you could also use rotini pasta. Hollow pasta or pasta with ridges work best for this recipe because it’s a saucy dish, and you want the sauce to get stuck in the crevices!

Don’t overlook the step of adding pasta water to your cheese sauce. It helps to thin it out before adding to the pasta.

You can freeze this dish, but the sauce may break, making it look a bit funky. But if that doesn’t bother you, freeze away!

broccoli pasta bake on white plate with fork with pan in background

Enjoy your week, and feel free to drop me a line in the comments – I would love to hear if you try this recipe! Or tag me on Instagram @maryannehoekstra to let me know how it turned out! Also, if you are enjoying my blog, please consider recommending it to your friends. They can subscribe here.

More Vegetarian Recipe Ideas!

broccoli pasta bake with plates, parsley, serving spoon, and napkin

Broccoli Pasta Bake

A simple, creamy vegetarian pasta bake with a crunchy cheesy topping that is perfect for any night of the week!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim or 2% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • 12 ounces rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 1 large head of broccoli, washed and cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk in flour and combine until a paste is formed. Pour in milk slowly and continue to whisk for another minute.
  • Stir in mustard, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Add 2/3 cup of cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and stir until well incorporated.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, minus 3 minutes. About 2 minutes before pasta is ready to be drained, add the broccoli florets and cook in pasta for remaining 2 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and broccoli (but reserve 3 Tablespoons of pasta water to whisk into onion/milk mixture) and transfer into large baking dish.
  • After adding reserved pasta water to sauce, pour sauce over pasta and broccoli, and gently combine.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs along with the remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture on top of pasta and cover the dish with foil.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  • Garnish with parsley, if using. Serve immediately.
Keyword bake, breadcrumbs, broccoli, cheddar cheese, pasta, yellow onion

2 Comments

  1. Barbara Haner

    5 stars
    What an easy healthy recipe! Thanks!

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