WARM LEMON BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD is a delightfully fresh take on pasta salad that’s irresistible!
The first time I enjoyed this salad, was on a buffet at our family’s Easter gathering one year. I was surprised by the depth of flavor with such simple ingredients. It has since become a family favorite and a frequently requested recipe in my family. This salad can be served warm or at room temperature, making it a great choice for a holiday buffet. I’ve enjoyed it as a side dish, but it also makes a great meatless main dish. I have even added cooked chicken breast to it to make it more hearty one-pot kind of meal.
I think one of the reasons I love this salad so much is the bright lemon flavor. I love all things lemon and this salad is no exception. As much as I’d like to, I can’t take credit for this recipe though, as it is an Ina Garten original that I’ve tweaked to my tastes. The original recipe uses pine nuts, but they are expensive and can sometimes be hard to find. I substitute toasted walnuts in my version and I actually think they taste better than the pine nuts. Walnuts are also so nutritious, which is a bonus for me!
I used mini bow tie pasta when I made it for Real Housemoms, but I’ve used all kinds of pasta shapes in the past. You can use your favorite pasta shape! I did increase the pasta amount to 12 oz. dry when I used the mini bow ties, but if you are not using mini, stick with the 8 oz. amount of dry pasta for regular shapes. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so you can adjust the amount of pasta to your liking. Garnish the dish with shaved Parmesan cheese and some sliced lemons and you’ve got a spring salad that is as pretty as it is delicious!
- 8 oz. dry pasta bow ties, penne, etc
- 8 cups broccoli florets
- 2 TBS unsalted butter
- 2 -3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves fresh minced garlic
- zest of one lemon
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup toasted chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl filled with iced water to shock the broccoli from continuing to cook and help it retain it's bright green color. Drain ice water and set broccoli aside.
- Add the pasta to the same pot you cooked the broccoli in and cook to al dente according to the package directions.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the oil. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, or until it becomes fragrant. Take off heat and add in the lemon zest and the lemon juice.
- Drain pasta and add it to the skillet with the butter, garlic and oil. Stir to coat, Add in the broccoli and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a bowl, and add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir. Sprinkle some cheese on top for garnish and add a few lemon slices on top, if desired.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Another pasta salad you might enjoy!