Broccoli and Tomato Pasta (Vegetarian with Vegan Option)

I was wondering what to make for lunch, and after poking around the fridge and pantry, I came up with this dish.

Serves 4


  • 4 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 cups of orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 cups of water
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup of tomato pizza sauce or tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp of hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp of butter (if vegan, use olive oil)
  • 4 tbsp of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (Leave off if making this vegan) for garnish


1 large pot, 1 slotted spoon, 1 colander, medium bowl, small bowl, garlic press, knife (yes, I use a garlic press.) Microwave


  1. Peel the garlic cloves and mash them, either with a garlic press or with a knife
  2. Put garlic in the small bowl and add lemon juice. If you have a microwave, microwave for 5 seconds.
  3. In a large, bring the 8 cups of water and salt to a boil.
  4. Add the orecchiette pasta
  5. Once the water comes back to a boil, add the broccoli florets and let the water come back to a boil
  6. In about 2 – 3 minutes, check to see if the broccoli is tender, if so, remove it with the slotted spoon. The broccoli will float on top, so you can just scoop it off and put it in the medium bowl
  7. To the broccoli in the bowl, add the garlic in lemon and the kalamata olives
  8. When the orecchiette pasta is cooked through, save off a cup of the water it was cooked in, then drain in the colander. Shake it to get off water
  9. Turn the heat on the big pot to low. If using butter, add butter to pot and let melt. If using olive oil, add it now.
  10. Add the orecchiette pasta back to the pot, stir, and add the tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and fresh basil
  11. Add the hot pepper flakes to the pot
  12. Heat the tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and fresh basil through while stirring. If you want to loosen up the sauce, add the amount of the saved pasta water that seems good to you.
  13. Dump the ingredients in bowl (broccoli, lemon juice, garlic, and kalamata olives) into the pot and stir until the broccoli is coated.
  14. Put into a serving bowl for family style or onto 4 individual plates
  15. Sprinkle the cheese on the bowl for family style or divide it evenly among the 4 individual plates


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