This creamy broccoli pasta is a delicious and simple one-pot meal! This pasta sauce tastes rich but it’s secretly healthy! Try this recipe for an easy high protein dinner.

broccoli pasta

I’ve been using cottage cheese in so many recipes lately because it’s an easy way to create a rich and creamy sauce while adding lots of protein to the dish. I started with this cottage cheese pasta sauce and I’ve made a few different variations. This one is great because the pasta and broccoli cook together in one pot, meaning there are fewer dishes to wash.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Cottage cheese– This adds a salty, slightly tangy flavor to the pasta sauce. It also helps to thicken the sauce. If you don’t have cottage cheese, you can use ricotta cheese as a substitute.
  • Cream cheese – This adds a rich and creamy texture to the pasta sauce. You can use low-fat cream cheese, if desired. The cream cheese can be substituted with heavy cream.
  • Parmesan cheese -This hard, aged cheese with a strong and savory flavor adds a salty and nutty taste to the pasta sauce. If you don’t have parmesan cheese, you can substitute it with Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano.
  • Italian seasoning– This seasoning is a blend of herbs that typically includes basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can use a combination of the individual herbs mentioned.
  • Pasta water- A little pasta water helps create a silky consistency. The starchy pasta water also helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. There is no direct substitution for pasta water, but if you forget to save the pasta water, feel free to thin it with water or milk.

How to Make Creamy Broccoli Pasta

Variations and Substitutions

I used Barilla’s Protein Plus pasta which has extra protein and fiber. It’s one of my favorite types of pasta because the texture is very similar to regular pasta. I also like chickpea pasta, if you want even more protein and fiber, but since the pasta water won’t be as starchy, the sauce might be a bit thinner.

You could add other vegetables such as frozen peas or chopped asparagus.

You can also reduce the amount of pasta to 6oz and double the broccoli. It’s an easy way to lower the calories of the dish while still enjoying a large portion of pasta.

Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?

Traditional Parmesan cheese is technically not vegetarian. It is typically made using animal rennet, an enzyme derived from the stomach lining of calves. Many vegetarians still eat Parmesan cheese, but some strict vegetarians will completely remove it from their diet. Luckily, some brands of cheese, like BelGioioso, make vegetarian-friendly versions of Parmesan cheese that use microbial or vegetable-based rennet instead.

broccoli pasta

More Pasta Recipes

If you enjoyed this pasta recipe, be sure to try my cottage cheese pasta saucepenne rosa copycat pasta, or my cream cheese pasta. If you need a vegan idea, try my vegan vodka sauce or vegan cacio e pepe.

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creamy broccoli pasta

Creamy Broccoli Pasta

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This creamy broccoli pasta is a delicious and simple one-pot meal! This pasta sauce tastes rich but it’s secretly healthy! Try this recipe for an easy high protein dinner.


Units Scale
  • 8oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup pasta water (reserved from cooking pasta)
  • 4 cups broccoli, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 8oz cottage cheese (low fat is fine)
  • 4oz cream cheese (low fat is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and and cook the pasta according to the package directions. When there are 3 minutes left of cooking time, add the broccoli to the pot with the pasta.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain the pasta and broccoli.
  4. In a blender, add the cottage cheese, Parmesan, cream cheese, seasoning, and 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  5. Blend until smooth. Add additional pasta water to thin, if needed.
  6. Return the pasta and broccoli to the cooking pot and add the sauce to the pasta. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce is warm.

Keywords: creamy broccoli pasta