This Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables is the best weeknight pasta dish – it’s simple to make, ridiculously delicious, and it’s packed with veggies! The pesto itself has broccoli in it for an extra dose of nutrients + flavor, and the pasta is filled with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, butternut squash, shallots, and mushrooms!
Because Healthyish January wouldn’t be complete without pasta, I’m sharing the BEST broccoli pesto pasta dish. I don’t think I could pack another veggie in here if I tried – in a good way! The pesto itself has actual broccoli in it AND the pasta has tons of sweet, caramelized, roasted veggies. It’s everything you want in a comforting weeknight pasta dish when you want something substantial but still good-for-you. I’ve got ya covered!
The Ultimate Healthy Vegetable Pasta Recipe
It all starts with a gigantic sheet tray of vegetables. You can use your favorites here. This particular blend happens to be mine! We’ve got a little bit of everything: broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, bell pepper, mushrooms, and shallots!
Some other good options would be carrots, red onion, or any heartier winter squash. You want to use heartier veggies instead of something like zucchini because it’ll get too mushy – and no one wants that!
What I love about this pasta is that the roasted veggies get SO sweet, and the whole flavor profile just works with the herb-filled, garlicky pesto.
For all of you meat-eaters out there wondering if this pasta will fill you up, don’t worry.
You can totally add more protein to this pasta if you want to! That being said, it’s so chock-full of vegetables and fiber, it’s completely filling and satisfying in every way without adding any extra protein. You could however, add some chicken sausage or shrimp if you’re feeling it!
While the veggies are doing their thing in the oven, I like to make the broccoli pesto! If you’ve never had broccoli pesto, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Pesto with broccoli in it! I like to use raw broccoli, because if you cook it, the texture ends up being weird, and it ends up making the pesto, well, too broccoli-y. If that makes sense!
To make the pesto, we pulse our broccoli florets in the food processor first, and then we add all of our typical pesto ingredients!
This is what goes into the pesto:
- raw broccoli florets
- flat-leaf parsley
- toasted pine nuts
- parmesan cheese
- lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
It’s the perfect all-purpose pesto, with a little veggie addition. It keeps really well in the fridge for about a week, so if you’re a pesto lover like me, I’d double it! The recipe as written makes just enough for the pasta with no leftovers, so if you like a super pesto-y pasta, I’d double it in that case too!
It’s so vibrant and green and I just love it!
A few other ways I like to use the broccoli pesto:
- stirred into scrambled eggs
- mixed into mashed avocado on toast
- as a dip for veggies
- a spread on sandwiches
- a topping on salads or bowls
- spread on naan to make a lazy pesto pizza
- swirled into homemade hummus
It’s super versatile, and it tastes amazing on/in just about anything you can dream up!
How badly do you want to face-plant into that pot? There truly aren’t many things I love in this world more than a bowl of pasta. Especially when it’s cold out, and especially when it’s rigatoni. It’s always been my favorite pasta shape since I was a little girl – the texture is always so on-point. The most perfect al dente, always. However if you aren’t a rigatoni fan, any short-cut pasta is what you want to use here. Penne, cavatappi, or orecchiette would all be my top picks!
You want to use something short-cut and with ridges so all of that broccoli pesto goodness sticks to the pasta. Also! I used regular ol’ white pasta here, because nothing is better, let’s be real. But if you’re looking to increase the fiber/protein and make this even healthier, you can go for a whole wheat, chickpea, lentil, or brown rice pasta. Anything will work!
And if you need some more really incredible pasta dishes to get you through the winter, these are some more of my favorites!
- Tagliatelle Carbonara with Crispy Mushrooms (This one is ridiculously comforting, special, seemingly fancy, yet EASY if you want to impress someone without a whole bunch of effort!)
- Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce (Homemade gnocchi with roasted butternut squash inside the dough! Plus, the best, easiest vodka sauce in the whole world.)
- Pumpkin Kale Lasagna (This lasagna is a little bit of a labor of love, but one million percent worth it – so ridiculously cozy.)
- Garlic Roasted Tomato Lentil Pasta with Arugula and Toasted Pine Nuts (Hello, easiest weeknight pasta. It’s super fresh from the arugula and there’s tons of garlic and olive oil in it. The best vessel for lots of grated parm!)
Don’t forget to share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicesinmydna if you make this recipe! Nothing makes me happier than seeing what you create in the kitchen. Be sure to hashtag #healthyishjanuary too so I can see all the Healthyish January recipes you make this month!
Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
This Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables is the best weeknight pasta dish - it's simple to make, ridiculously delicious, and it's packed with veggies! The pesto itself has broccoli in it for an extra dose of nutrients + flavor, and the pasta is filled with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, butternut squash, shallots, and mushrooms!
For the pasta
- 1 pound rigatoni (or other short-cut pasta)
- 3 cups cauliflower florets (cut into small florets)
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1'' pieces
- 1 small broccoli crown, cut into small florets
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 medium shallot, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4-1/3 cup reserved pasta water*
- grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- fresh basil leaves for serving, optional
- crushed red pepper flakes for serving, optional
For the broccoli pesto
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted*
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the cauliflower, butternut squash, red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, and shallots. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange vegetables in a single, even layer (you may need to do this with 2 baking sheets if yours isn't large enough). Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once, or until vegetables are tender, caramelized, and golden brown.
While vegetables are roasting, make the pesto. Add broccoli florets to your food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Add the basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and pulse several more times. Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta and salt the water. Once boiling, add your pasta and cook according to package directions, or until just al dente. Remember to reserve your pasta water (I just scoop a bunch out with a large mug or heat-safe glass measuring cup!) Drain pasta, and add back into the pot or a large mixing bowl. Add the pesto and a splash (start with 1/4 cup) of the pasta water and stir to coat the pasta. Add the roasted vegetables, several cranks of freshly cracked black pepper, and a couple pinches of salt and stir to combine. Add a couple handfuls of parmesan cheese and another splash of pasta water if it seems like it needs more moisture. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with extra parmesan, basil leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
*If you like a lot of pesto on your pasta, I'd double the pesto recipe. It makes just enough for the pasta with no leftovers. Or, if you just want to have extra pesto in the fridge to use throughout the week in a variety of meals, I'd double it too!
*To toast your pine nuts, add them to a dry skillet over medium-low heat, and let them toast until they're fragrant and golden brown. Watch carefully though - they can burn in an instant!
*It's so easy to forget to scoop out your pasta water - to ensure you don't forget, keep a mug or heat-safe glass measuring cup right next to the pot to remind you!