20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet

This super easy vegetarian pasta is a quick meal for a busy night! The broccoli and spinach keep it healthy, and the garlic, lemon, and red pepper make it extra tasty. A great last minute dinner for weeknights.

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

You know when you are on the phone with someone and you have to climb stairs and pretend like you are not totally winded? I always fail miserably. I get almost to the top of the stairs sounding totally normal, and then suddenly I interrupt whatever they are telling me, (GASP) “Sorry, (deep breath), I’m climbing the (puff puff) stairs and I think I’m (wheeze) going to die.”

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

So a couple weeks ago I decided that I need to start some kind of exercise regime so that I don’t die from climbing stairs before I’m even 30.

So I did some yoga for the first time ever after some recommendations from my girl Sarah over at Broma Bakery. (She is all about the yoga. Check out them abs.) And I loved it! I did an hour and twenty minutes the first day and vowed to do it every day for the rest of my life. I told my whole family. “I’m a yoga person now! I love it!”

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

The next day I did an hour. The next day I did 45 minutes.

Last night my dad asked how the daily yoga was going. My brother chimed in, “I watched her do some yoga yesterday…for 45 seconds.”

45 minutes…45 seconds…who’s counting really?

And seriously who’s got time for yoga when there are Christmas cookies to be eaten.

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

I don’t know about you but all of my free time in December is dedicated to baking, which means I’m usually too tired to feed my family actual dinner. Ain’t nobody got time for extravagant dinners when there are presents to wrap and stockings to stuff and Christmas PJs to lounge in. (Let’s be real.)

Enter this 20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet! This is the best kind of recipe, because it’s so basic that you can literally swap in whatever you have on hand. It’s just rotini, broccoli, spinach, and a simple lemon-butter-garlic sauce. No broccoli? Use asparagus! No rotini? Use spaghetti! No lemons? Use another acid like red wine vinegar (make sure you taste as you go!)

If you do use a lemon though, I highly recommend zesting with a microplane grater (here’s the one I have). It will take you 30 seconds and amps up the flavor a ton. It’s my favorite kitchen tool!

I threw this quick dinner together using a couple of my Anolon pans:

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from The Food Charlatan

Do you guys have these pans? They are awesome. I took the top left picture so that you could see the part where it says “Metal Utensil Safe.” (And so you could see me taking the photo. HIII!!) How many pans have you ruined because you used a metal spoon on it? Soooo many. I love this!

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20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet

Yield: Serves 6


  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 3-4 cups spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan, plus more to garnish
  • olive oil, to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh lemon wedges, to garnish


  1. In a large skillet or pot, bring the salt and water to a boil.
  2. While you wait, prep your broccoli by trimming the stems and cutting the florets into similar sized pieces (I like mine bite-size.)
  3. Add the rotini and boil on high for 4 minutes. Add the broccoli, cover, and set a timer for 3 minutes (Leave the burner on high enough to keep a rolling boil).
  4. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and drain the pasta using a lid or colander. Return to the pan and stir in the spinach.
  5. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Let it sit for a few minutes so the spinach wilts.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small skillet melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. (I let mine get brown, because that's just how I roll, but that's not necessary).
  7. Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  8. Turn off the heat and add 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Add the lemon butter to the pasta and stir.
  9. Stir in 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Garnish with more cheese, fresh lemon wedges, and eat hot!

Recipe adapted from my brother Nathan, who got the recipe from a girl he went on a date with a long time ago.

Make sure you enter the “Holiday Hosting” Sweepstakes! Anolon is giving away some amazing cookware sets! Learn more at Anolon.com.

There are also a few affiliate links on this post. That means you pay nothing extra and I get a commission that supports the blog. Win-win!

Other easy dinner recipes to get you through the Christmas season:

Easy BLT Pasta Salad

Easy BLT Pasta Salad from The Food Charlatan

Ham Mac N Cheese Soup: <<pure comfort food right here.

Ham Mac and Cheese Soup from The Food Charlatan

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken:

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken from The Food Charlatan

Brown Butter Gnocchi with Asparagus and Prosciutto <<sounds fancier than it is. 30 minutes, tops.

Brown Butter Gnocchi with Asparagus and Prosciutto from The Food Charlatan

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Anolon. The opinions and text are all mine.





  1. says

    The cookies do me in every year, I’ve never tried yoga, but I did like Zumba. And no matter how much we streamline, the month of December fills up so much, it’s unbelievable.

    I’m glad I stocked up on pasta! Lemon broccoli pasta sounds delicious. Of course my family will want me to add bacon. :)
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  2. says

    I run 4 miles every morning on the treadmill…and feel like I’m going to die every time. The only reason I do it is so I can binge eat cookies and chocolate chips before lunchtime. I totally need healthier meals in my life. You had me at lemon. And broccoli. And pasta.