Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

~ Oven-roasted cauliflower and broccoli make this easy pasta recipe deeply flavorful. Parmesan cheese, garlic and bright lemon juice are all you really need to round out the salty-umami-tangy symphony of tastes. It’s deceptively simple … just a few ingredients that add up to surprisingly big, big flavors! Plus, with all those roasted veggies, it’s a meal-in-one with no vegetable side dish needed – perfect for busy nights! ~

An easy, deeply flavorful pasta recipe featuring roasted cauliflower and broccoli - plus parmesan cheese, garlic and bright lemon juice to round out the salty-umami-tangy symphony of tastes. Deceptively simple: a 30-minute meal with just a few ingredients that add up to surprisingly big, big flavors! And with all the roasted broccoli and cauliflower, it's a quick meal-in-one perfect for busy nights or Meatless Monday! A quick vegetarian dinner your family will love! |
An easy, deeply flavorful pasta recipe featuring roasted cauliflower and broccoli - plus parmesan cheese, garlic and bright lemon juice to round out the salty-umami-tangy symphony of tastes. Deceptively simple: a 30-minute meal with just a few ingredients that add up to surprisingly big, big flavors! And with all the roasted broccoli and cauliflower, it's a quick meal-in-one perfect for busy nights or Meatless Monday! A quick vegetarian dinner your family will love! |

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian (see note)  

This Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta gets big flavors from the oven-roasted vegetables, plus the simple additions of garlic, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Such an easy dinner recipe, yet so deliciously satisfying! A great meatless meal with so much flavor that you’ll never miss the meat!

We’re solving a couple dinnertime struggles all at once today, with one simple pasta recipe that packs way more flavor than you’d ever guess when you first peek at the ingredient list.

Trust me – success will be yours!

But what struggles are we talking about here?

Well …

Are you trying to find ways to work more veggies into your family’s meals? Seems like everyone is. And it’s not always easy, is it?

Sure, you find time to throw together the main dish (pat yourself on the back … that’s a win already!). But having enough time left over to make some vegetable side dishes, too? Sometimes that’s just more than your schedule can handle, right?

Plus, veggies are often the toughest sell. Oh, the struggle … kids and veggies. I think all parents feel that pain.

Roasted cauliflower and roasted broccoli are both such simple side dishes, but when you start with so much broccoli and cauliflower – 16 cups! – right in the main dish – you can save time and skip the vegetable side dishes altogether! Such a healthy, easy dinner recipe!

Tip: For perfect roasted vegetables, it’s important to spread them out. If they’re piled on top of each other, they’ll steam more than roast. It’s the same technique that’s key for roasting the potatoes in our recipes for our Cheesy Pizza Fries, for our Irish Nachos, and also for our Sheet Pan Chicken and Potatoes.

This easy little pasta recipe holds the solutions we’re seeking!

Let’s break it down …

Solution #1: Oodles of Veggies … 16 Cups of Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli!

No kidding! This recipe starts off with 16 whopping cups of broccoli and cauliflower.

They roast down to be a bit more compact after cooking, but no matter how you measure it, that’s a whoooooole lotta roasted vegetable nutrition.

Sure, you can add a side salad (because when it comes to veggies, more is always a good thing!), but you really don’t even need to. This Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta recipe is a meal-in-one!

This scrumptious Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta recipe has so much vegetable nutrition jammed into each delicious bite! With 16 whopping cups of cauliflower and broccoli, your vegetable side dish is already mixed into the main course! An easy meal-in-one!

Get dinner DONE and get on with the night!

Solution #2: Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower (Roasting = YUM!)

Roasting veggies is a magical thing. (Remember our über-popular recipe for roasted green beans?)

No doubt – roasting is one of my all-time, very most favorite ways to cook veggies.

Why? Because of the caramelization that happens as those nice little roasty brown spots develop in the oven. It equals big, delicious flavor, transforming your vegetables into something altogether more complex and delicious than where those humble veggies began.

Both roasted cauliflower and roasted broccoli have loads of delicious caramelized flavor. For this pasta recipe, we roast the vegetables on separate sheet pans because the cauliflower takes slightly longer.

Tip: We separate the broccoli and cauliflower onto two different sheet pans, rather than mixing them together, because we find that the vegetables roast perfectly if the cauliflower has about 5 minutes longer in the oven.

Magic. Roasted cauliflower and broccoli magic.

I’ve seen the magic wand success (again and again!) right before my very own eyes.

If I’m roasting asparagus, for example, one big bunch is not nearly enough as a side dish for the four of us – I always buy two bunches, and usually we easily polish it all off. Ditto roasted cauliflower and broccoli, green beans, redskin potatoes … you name it.

It’s shocking how many veggies go down the hatch when they’re roasted!

My biggest proof of all? Proof that roasted vegetables truly are a pathway to sneaking MORE veggies into your family’s diet? My veggie-averse Amy. Honestly, the poor kid hates that we say this about her, because she tries so, so hard to like vegetables … and she’s come a really long way over the years (for more tips on this, check out our articles on raising picky eaters). Still, it’s a struggle.

But what I’ve noticed is that roasting practically any vegetable pretty much guarantees slam-dunk success – even with Amy! When I watch how many roasted vegetables she devours, and how much she actually likes them … well, I know roasting is a real winner of a technique. I’ve lived it! (Yay … chalk up a mommy win!)

Pasta with parmesan cheese is a simple and elegant meal, but the flavor and nutrition profiles get a huge bump when you add roasted vegetables to this quick dinner recipe!

The first time I made this pasta recipe a couple of years ago, I basically threw it together on a whim, grabbing what was in the fridge and adjusting the flavors as I went along.

It was an immediate, surprisingly overwhelming hit! And now it’s another of those dinners that my family is truly thrilled to see heading for the dinner table … little cheers for a meal they never seem to get tired of eating.

Do they realize how much nutrition is jam-crammed in there, with all those veggies and the whole wheat pasta? Nah … never occurs to them. They’re munching away too happily to care.

They just know it tastes awesome!

Which is another surprise, really.

This pasta recipe feels so simple, with just a few basic ingredients. But it’s deceptive … the bright tang of lemon, the salty-umami notes from the parmesan, the little hit of garlic … they all combine perfectly with the deep flavors of the roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

Just a few simple, basic ingredients are all you need for a quick and easy dinner recipe with big flavors! A healthy family meal you’ll find yourself making again and again!

So much flavor, so simply! Perfectly quick and easy. Just right for busy weeknights!

Bonus: it’s meat-free and great for Meatless Mondays, too!

Shortcut Tips for Our Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta

To get this dinner on the table in 30 minutes, we recommend snagging the handy bags of pre-cut cauliflower and broccoli florets you can find in the produce sections of most grocery stores. If some florets are still a bit large, it takes just a couple of minutes to get them into evenly-sized pieces so they all roast at the same time.

You know we have recipe shortcuts! You can prep a lot of this roasted vegetable pasta recipe ahead of time, and even buy pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower to make it even faster and easier!

That little shortcut takes your prep time for this recipe to practically nothing!

But, if you prefer buying whole heads of cauliflower and broccoli, you can still save valuable minutes at the busy dinner hour.

Just cut up your broccoli and cauliflower in advance, maybe on the weekend when you have a little extra time. They’ll keep nicely in the fridge for several days, ready when you are! (Psssst … one terrific upside to buying whole heads of broccoli and cutting it yourself … you have those great stalks left over to make Parmesan Roasted Broccoli Stalks! Yum!)

You can also juice your lemon and mince the garlic earlier in the day or the night before, too.

This Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower recipe gets a simple boost of big flavor from minced garlic and bright, fresh lemon juice. Bonus: you can mince the garlic and juice the lemon ahead of time, so this whole grain pasta recipe comes together even faster at mealtime!

Time savings galore!

And trust me … your family will gobble their veggies up in no time!

I’ve seen the magic, and its name is roasting!

My family has a lot of favorite pasta recipes, and this simple Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Pasta recipe immediately became one of them, the very first time I made it!

Talk about success and solving problems … this pasta recipe has got your back! Now if only it could help my kiddos with solving their pre-calc problems … 😉




Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

Preparation 10 minutes 2017-08-19T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 20 minutes 2017-08-19T00:20:00+00:00
Serves About 14 1/2 cups     adjust servings


  • 8 cups broccoli florets (see note)
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 8 cups cauliflower florets (see note)
  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic


Preheat oven to 475º F, and bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, making sure the oil and seasonings are evenly distributed. (If you prefer, you can toss the ingredients together in a bowl and then dump the broccoli mixture out onto the baking sheet.) On a second parchment-lined baking sheet, repeat the process with the cauliflower florets, tossing them with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Make sure the vegetables are spread out evenly on the baking sheets, and not heaped on top of each other, so they roast properly rather than steaming.

Place cauliflower in the oven and roast for 5 minutes; then add broccoli to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes more, and then stir both cauliflower and broccoli and rotate sheet pans to promote even roasting. Continue roasting for about 10 more minutes (20 minutes total for cauliflower and 15 minutes total for broccoli), until the vegetables have developed some gorgeous roasted brown spots. Remove from oven and set briefly aside, keeping warm.

Meanwhile, as vegetables roast, cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, carefully reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

In a large serving bowl, toss the roasted vegetables with the cooked pasta. Sprinkle the parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over the pasta mixture, stirring as you do so to make sure they are evenly distributed throughout the pasta and not concentrated in one spot. Loosen as desired with reserved pasta cooking water (we usually use about 1/2 - 3/4 cup). Taste and adjust the pasta water, lemon juice and salt as needed. Serve immediately.


Recipe Notes

Broccoli and cauliflower florets: To get this recipe on the table in 30 easy minutes, we suggest purchasing the pre-cut florets that you can now find in most grocery stores. (You may need to trim a few bigger florets to make sure they're all roughly the same size, which promotes even roasting.) However, if you prefer to buy whole heads of broccoli and cauliflower at the store or farm market, you'll need about 6 average stalks of broccoli and about 1 medium-large head of cauliflower to yield the 8 cups of each type of vegetable that you need for this recipe. Just add a few extra minutes onto the prep time (or see make-ahead tips below).

Parmesan Cheese: To make this pasta recipe truly vegetarian, be sure to select a parmesan cheese made with non-traditional enzyme alternatives from microbes or fermentation, rather than the traditional rennet.

Make-ahead steps: Even if you don't purchase pre-cut veggies, and prefer to purchase whole heads of cauliflower and broccoli, you can still take advantage of another make-ahead option: cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets in advance when you have a little extra time. Store them in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container or plastic bag, and they should keep nicely for a few days. In addition, you can juice the lemon and mince the garlic a few hours ahead or the night before, and store them, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.

We'd love to see your photos of this recipe! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and tag @TwoHealthyKitchens!

More Veggie-Packed Pasta Recipes to Try:

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This simple roasted vegetable pasta recipe is both delicious and easy enough for busy weeknights! Plus, it’s loaded with whole grains and oodles of veggies! A total win!


Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic — 20 Comments

  1. We just made this recipe tonight for dinner and it was delicious! My daughter said it was wonderful and could not stop eating it. We did not have enough Parmesan cheese, so used a mixture of Parmesan, Romano, and mozzarella and it was delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Hi Brit! I’m beyond-thrilled to hear how much you guys enjoyed this! You’ve gotta love anytime that a kiddo can’t stop eating veggies! Yay! And thanks bunches for the terrific input regarding the cheeses you subbed – that kind of tip is super helpful, especially for other readers who might be wanting to make this pasta recipe, but are worried they don’t have quite the right ingredients on hand. Have a fantastic weekend! 🙂 ~Shelley

    • It does! We don’t usually have much leftover at all, but I think that you’ll find it reheats fairly well. The only thing is that it will probably seem a little drier than when it’s fresh and hot off the stove. To combat this, you could keep a bit of that pasta cooking water and use it to refresh the consistency and add a bit more moisture as you’re reheating the pasta. A little additional spritz of lemon juice would work, too, but be careful that you don’t make it TOO lemony. Thanks for the great question. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Shelley

  2. This was delicious! The garlic and lemon gave it such great flavor! My whole family loved it! Great meatless meal. And we love roasted vegetables! Thank you
    for the recipe.

    • Oh Meredith! Thank you so much for taking a moment to leave this lovely comment – it just absolutely makes my day! I’m thrilled that you guys loved this pasta recipe as much as we do! 😀 Roasted veggies for the win!!! ~Shelley

    • Thanks, Catalina! If my own kiddos are any gauge, I think this pasta recipe will definitely be a hit at your house! Really – even my “picky” eater, Amy, happily wolfs this down! The roasted cauliflower and broccoli are deliciously transformed during their little journey through the oven … totally a meal your family can love, and YOU can feel great about serving! Yay! Victory! 😀 ~Shelley

    • Hahaha Krista! Isn’t that totally one of the dangers of being a food blogger and looking at droolworthy food pics all day … the fear that one day you might just jam a fork straight through the computer screen or maybe take an accidental little nibble!??! And if I can get people to feel that way about so many healthy veggies, I count that as a TOTAL victory … every healthy food blogger’s goal, right? 😉 Thanks so, so much! ~Shelley

    • Oh my gosh, I know right?!?! Roasted veggies are just the best! Roasting does something so magical to the flavors, and as a mom, I’m so ridiculously happy how many vegetables my family chows whenever I roast them! Definite mommy win! 😀 ~Shelley

    • It really is, Stephanie! Those roasted veggies pack so much great flavor, and the bright lemon, salty parmesan and spicy little garlic kick are all you really need to make this quick and easy pasta recipe into something the whole family truly loves! Total score, especially on busy nights! ~Shelley

    • Oh, thank you so much, Jocelyn! You seriously wouldn’t think that roasted cauliflower and broccoli pasta could taste so amazing. Seems too simple, right?!? But it’s just awesome – and even better that it’s so darn easy! 🙂 ~Shelley

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