Broccoli pasta shells served in a bowl

Broccoli pasta shells

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4

Kids will love this healthier take on pesto and pasta, with broccoli upping their veg intake. It takes just 20 minutes to make and is low in calories

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal372
  • fat14g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs43g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre7g
  • protein15g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets



    Like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli is a brassica and is sometimes known by its Italian name…

  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 250g pasta shells
  • ½ small pack parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • ½ small pack basil



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 30g toasted pine nuts
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 30g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), plus extra to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the broccoli and garlic in 1 tbsp of the olive oil on a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 10-12 mins, until softened.

  2. Tip the pasta shells into a pan of boiling, salted water. Cook according to packet instructions and drain. Tip the parsley, basil, pine nuts, lemon juice and parmesan into a blender. Once the broccoli is done, set aside a few of the smaller pieces. Squeeze the garlic from its skin, add to the blender along with the rest of the broccoli, pulse to a pesto and season well.

  3. Toss the pasta with the pesto. Add the reserved broccoli florets, split between two bowls and top with a little extra parmesan, the lemon zest and a good grinding of black pepper, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Jun, 2020
I've been making broccoli pasta for 20 odd years. I use the whole head, including the stem, which I boil for a few minutes and then add in with the rest of the pesto ingredients (but not so many herbs- I want this to taste of broccoli). A good handful of parmesan is a must, and a little dried chilli and garlic fried off before adding everything into the pan together and tossing to combine. This recipe isn't very coherent- a bunch of flavour, but get the technique right and you need fewer ingredients.
2nd Jan, 2020
I agree with the below that it is very dry so i added pasta water and extra oil, as well as seasoning. I also steamed my broccoli
martin on food's picture
martin on food
13th May, 2018
Flavours are good use a little pasta water to loosen the pesto at the end with the pasta worked for me.
10th May, 2018
Healthy, tasted ok, but found this to be quite dry. I think it needs something a bit more liquidy in the blender
18th Sep, 2019
Can the broccoli pesto be made in advance and kept in the fridge?
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can make this the day before and refrigerate.
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