This cheesy broccoli pasta bake is easy and ready in under 30 minutes. Rich, comforting, and flavorful, you’d never guess it’s also healthy and nutritious.
I know January is peak “Healthy Eating” season (who doesn’t add “eat healthier” to their list of resolutions every single New Year?)
Isn’t it a cruel coincidence that this month is also the height of cold, windy, slushy days?
All the chilly dreariness always leaves me wanting only one thing:
More specifically, a plate of warm pasta.
Even more specifically, a plate of warm, gooey, cheesy pasta.
But instead of drowning my gray-sky blahs in a big bowl of mac and cheese, I wanted to hang on to my resolution and cook up something that felt like a complete and nutritious meal.
So I came up with this rich and delicious (yet healthy) cheesy broccoli pasta bake.
Being Mom to a baby, I’ve also made this broccoli pasta bake really easy – it’s ready in about 30 minutes.
This dish is comforting, warm, cheesy, and delicious.
But it’s also full of nutritious ingredients, like mushrooms, garlic, broccoli, and whole grains.
So there’s no need to feel like you’re ditching your resolution for yummy comfort food!
Here’s how to make this Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake:
(Scroll to the bottom for the complete recipe.)
Here Are the Key Ingredients You’ll Need
To make this recipe healthier I used:
- whole grain pasta for lots of added fiber
- garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms for tons of vitamins (A, B6, and C)
- olive oil instead of butter for less saturated fat
To save time with this broccoli pasta bake, I used:
- frozen chopped broccoli florets
- packaged pre-sliced mushrooms
- bagged shredded cheddar cheese
Begin By Sauteing the Veggies
First things first: Boil some water in a big pot and begin cooking the pasta.
Then toss minced garlic – along with the sliced mushrooms and thawed broccoli florets – into a sauté pan with a bit of olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper to add flavor and cook for a few minutes, until the veggies are softened.
Next, Prepare the Sauce
Pour the cooked pasta and sautéed veggies into a casserole dish.
Then reuse the emptied sauté pan and heat some olive oil and whole wheat flour over low heat.
Stir with a whisk until the mixture is warm and thick, then add some milk.
Turn off the heat and add the shredded cheddar, mixing it all up until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
Remember to season with salt and pepper to add flavor.
Assemble the Broccoli Pasta Bake
Add the cheese sauce to the casserole dish and mix everything up until the pasta and veggies are all coated in sauce.
Then mix up some whole wheat panko breadcrumbs with some parmesan and olive oil, and sprinkle the breading over the top of the broccoli pasta bake.
Cook the whole thing in the oven for several minutes, until the breading is golden.
Then enjoy this dish while it’s still warm from the oven, the cheese is nicely melted and gooey, and the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden.
Let the snow fall and the wind blow – you’ve got a bowl of warm, yummy comfort food (and a resolution still going strong)!
Here’s the complete recipe for this 30-Minute Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake:
- Serving size: 6
- Calories: 441
- Fat: 16.1g
- Saturated fat: 4.3g
- Carbohydrates: 55.1g
- Sugar: 5.4g
- Sodium: 339mg
- Fiber: 7.1g
- Protein: 21.7g
- Cholesterol: 15mg
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 12 ounces whole wheat fusilli pasta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, diced
- 12 ounces frozen broccoli florets, thawed
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup organic 2 percent milk
- 1½ cups organic shredded mild cheddar
- ¼ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Boil a large pot of water. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until just al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Drain.
- While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the broccoli and heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and spoon the veggies into a large casserole dish.
- Place the emptied pan back on the stovetop, set to low heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then slowly whisk in the flour. When the mixture is smooth, add the milk and whisk. Turn off the heat and add the cheddar, stirring until smooth and creamy. Season with a small dash of salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the casserole dish, along with the cheese sauce. Stir until veggies and pasta are coated in cheese sauce, and everything is well combined.
- Add the panko and parmesan to a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir until mixture is well combined and breadcrumbs are evenly coated in oil. Spoon the mixture over the top of the pasta.
- Bake until cheese sauce bubbles and breadcrumbs are golden, about 8 minutes. Serve.
*I calculate recipe nutrition information at Calorie Count.
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