Best. Broccoli. Ever.

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

I’m not sure how Sara happened on this recipe to begin with, but it’s definitely THE way to prepare broccoli. The first time we made it, it almost got eaten before even landing on the table. There are never any leftovers.

The Journey:

This has been a slowly evolving recipe.

The original recipe was just for the broccoli, which was amazing enough, and we couldn’t get enough of it. However, we don’t really eat a lot of side dishes on a regular basis. On an average night I’m willing to put some effort in on an amazing main dish, but I don’t have the energy left over to put work into sides as well. Maybe some reheated corn and that’s about it.


However, one day Sara sort of smashed it into a pasta recipe and it really became one of our go-to meals. Just the broccoli as-is with pasta is awesome enough, but then you throw in some roasted walnuts and crushed red pepper (which kind of goes with everything, no?) and you’ve got something *amazing*. Plus the walnuts give it a little more staying power.

spicy broccoli


The broccoli is best when it has little blackened spots on it. It’s not burned, I promise! Also, go with the fresh shredded parmesan. For some reason, on this recipe in particular, it really makes a world of difference.

roasting broccoli

The Verdict:

Honestly, it’s hard to get something this delicious that is healthier than this. What more could you ask for? If you can manage to fend off the savages long enough, it’s great as a left-over as well.

healthy pasta

The Recipe:

As a meal:

Recipe inspired by Real Simple.

  • 1 package whole wheat pasta (we usually use spirals)
  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of butter (to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile, on 2 rimmed baking sheets, toss the broccoli, walnuts, oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  4. Roast until the broccoli is tender and slightly browned, 20 – 25 minutes
  5. Toss the pasta with the broccoli mixture, butter, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water
  6. Sprinkle with the parmesan & lemon juice before serving

As a side dish:

Recipe from Farmish Mama.

  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
  • ~1 tablespoon of lemon juice (about half a lemon, lightly squeezed)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425
  2. Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets
  3. Slice garlic and toss in a bowl with the broccoli
  4. Toss the broccoli and sliced garlic with the olive oil and season with salt
  5. Spread it all out on a baking tray making sure they aren’t touching and let it roast 20 – 25 minutes or until you get lots of nice brown roasty spots
  6. Take it out of the oven and squeeze a lemon all over the broccoli and grate some good quality, fresh parmesan cheese all over it