Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.

Dinner tonight is broccoli cheddar spaghetti squash! Oh my. I mean, I could get my veggies in like this every day. I crave anything broccoli cheddar and this melty, cheesy broccoli sauce stuffed into tender spaghetti squash noodles does not disappoint. It’s satisfying and comforting and tasted like heaven! It seriously blows my mind that […]

The post Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Dinner tonight is broccoli cheddar spaghetti squash! Oh my.

broccoli cheddar stuffed spaghetti squash

I mean, I could get my veggies in like this every day.

cheesy broccoli cheddar spaghetti squash

I crave anything broccoli cheddar and this melty, cheesy broccoli sauce stuffed into tender spaghetti squash noodles does not disappoint. It’s satisfying and comforting and tasted like heaven!

It seriously blows my mind that I didn’t enjoy anything broccoli cheddar when I was kid. Actually, I’m pretty sure that I would order broccoli cheddar stuffed potatoes and just eat the cheddar and the potato. Riddle me that.

fresh roasted spaghetti squash

These days, broccoli competes for my number one favorite vegetable. It absolutely blows my mind. If you would have told me when I started this blog that I’d actually learn to love almost every vegetable, I would have laughed in your face. Hysterically.

Super glad things have changed around here! If I can become a veggie lover, anyone can. Trust me.

So!

Much like my spaghetti squash parmesan, this is a staple for us when it comes to cozy fall weeknight dinners. The kids love that they can have a “bowl” made of squash and it helps that the mixture is fully of golden brown bubbly cheese. 

cheesy melty broccoli cheddar

It also comes together so easily! The worst part is probably having to actually CUT the squash. But you gotta cut it in half! (P.S. here’s a little trick to make it easier.)

First, you roast the squash so you can scrape the noodles a bit. The edges get golden and caramely and smell incredible. While the squash is in the oven, you sauté some broccoli and shallot and garlic and stir in milk and cheese, making a quick cheesy sauce. 

stuffed the spaghetti squash with broccoli cheddar

Then you stuff the broccoli cheddar mixture into the squash boats, sprinkle with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs and bake until bubbly.

Yessss.

Bake until bubbly.

broccoli cheddar stuffed spaghetti squash

Oh my word.

This is so, so delicious. So hearty, but kind of light at the same time if that makes sense? It’s weeknight perfection.

It will become a new favorite dinner!

broccoli cheddar stuffed spaghetti squash

Broccoli Cheddar Spaghetti Squash

Print

Broccoli Cheddar Spaghetti Squash

This broccoli cheddar spaghetti squash is so comforting and satisfying. Tender squash noodles stuffed with melty, cheesy broccoli. Delish!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 spaghetti squash, cut in half with seeds scraped out
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  • Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the sides. Brush the cut sides with olive oil. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes.
  • While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broccoli florets and cook, stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes, until they are slightly softened. Stir in the milk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is warmed through. Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar and turn off the heat. Stir until the cheddar melts.
  • Remove squash from the oven and flip them over. Use a fork to scrape some of the squash. Season the squash with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the broccoli cheddar mix in each squash bowl. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs.
  • Return the sheet to the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

broccoli cheddar stuffed spaghetti squash

Those golden cheese bits. OMG.

The post Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” are sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soups, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the […]

The post Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” are sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soups, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the cheese, so you still get all that creamy, cheesy goodness without feeling totally weighed down. But, you can always add more cheese if you’d like. #norules This soup is so dang easy I’m sure it’s going to go into my regular rotation!

Three bowls of Broccoli Cheddar Soup with saltine crackers on the side

Smaller Batch for No Leftovers

Most of my soup recipes are big batch so you can freeze the leftovers and stock your freezer with all that goodness, but this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the exception. Cheese sauces (and in this case broths) thickened with butter and flour roux don’t tend to hold up to freezing and thawing, so I made this a small batch soup so you don’t have to worry about having too many leftovers. This recipe makes four generous servings.

How Long Does Broccoli Cheddar Soup Keep?

As mentioned above, you don’t want to freeze this soup, but it will stay good in your fridge for 4-5 days. And boy are the leftovers ever DELICIOUS. They reheat beautifully in the microwave, or can be reheated on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring often.

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This super thick, cheesy “broth” is just begging for some crackers or thick crusty bread for scooping up every last drop. I love saltine crackers with mine, but oyster crackers would be awesome, as would my focaccia rolls

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

Yes, frozen broccoli works quite well for this recipe. I do suggest letting them thaw completely before adding them to the soup, and you probably will still want to chop them into much smaller pieces (think bite-sized, fits-on-a-spoon small).

Make it Vegetarian

I used chicken broth as the base for my soup because it tends to be a little more on the mild side and the light color doesn’t overshadow the orange color of the cheese, but you can use vegetable broth instead to make this soup vegetarian. Just be aware that it tends to have a stronger flavor and the darker color may darken your soup. 

CLose up of a ladle full of broccoli cheddar soup

 
Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with saltine crackers

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This super easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup is chock full of colorful, chunky vegetables in a rich and cheesy broth for a totally meal-worthy soup.
Total Cost $4.97 recipe / $1.24 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 2 cups each
Calories 426.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.52
  • 1 lb. broccoli $1.49
  • 2 carrots $0.23
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.52
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.24
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded $1.27

Instructions

  • Dice the onion. Chop the broccoli into very small pieces. Peel and slice the carrots.
  • Add the butter and onion to a large soup pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and is a light golden brown color.
  • Add the chicken broth and whisk to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and, while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer. When it reaches a simmer it will thicken to a gravy consistency.
  • Turn the heat back down to medium and whisk in the milk, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.
  • Add the chopped broccoli and carrots, allow the broth to come back up to a simmer, and continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  • Finally, turn the heat down to medium-low and stir the shredded cheese into the soup, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth—I did not add any).

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 426.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.43g | Protein: 16.65g | Fat: 30g | Sodium: 949.73mg | Fiber: 2.55g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with saltine crackers

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped broccoli

Dice one yellow onion, finely chop one pound of broccoli, and peel and slice two carrots. I’m showing a photo of the broccoli so you can see how fine you want the pieces. I might even go a smidge smaller on the broccoli next time. You want the pieces small enough to easily fit on a spoon!

Sautéed onion and butter, flour being added to the pot

Add the onion and 4 Tbsp butter to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and has turned a light golden brown color.

Chicken broth being whisked into the pot

Whisk 2 cups chicken broth into the pot, making sure to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy consistency.

Whisk in milk and spices

Turn the heat back down to medium. Whisk 2 cups milk, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper into the thickened broth. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.

Chopped vegetables added to the pot

Add the chopped broccoli and sliced carrots to the pot. Allow it to come back up to a simmer, then continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Simmered vegetables in the soup

You can test a piece of carrot or broccoli to make sure it’s to your desired tenderness. If not, simmer a bit longer. The soup doesn’t even have any cheese in it yet, but it already looks so good!

Shredded Cheese added to the soup

Finally, add 6 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted into the soup. I stopped at 6oz. (¾ of an 8oz. block), but you could always add the remaining 2oz. if you prefer.

Finished broccoli cheddar soup being stirred

And that’s a wrap! Taste your soup and see if you want to add any additional salt. This will mostly depend on the salt content of your chicken broth. I did not add any, but if your soup is tasting a little bland, a little salt can go a long way toward making the flavors pop!

Side view of broccoli cheddar soup in the pot with the ladle

Soooo thick and cheesy!! 😍

Three bowls of broccoli cheddar soup with saltines on the side

The post Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Go-To Tofu Stir Fry

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies. Did you know tofu is delicious? For years Alex and I veered away from tofu because we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Of course, tofu right out of the container is a colorless, flavorless goo. But cook it up right and it’s one of the tastiest plant-based dinners you can have. This healthy vegan protein is great for incorporating into your meal prep repertoire. Want to fall in love with it? Come taste this tofu stir fry. It’s got the most flavor-packed stir fry sauce that works with any veggie, and the tofu is crisped on the outside and perfectly seasoned. First off: is tofu healthy? We get this question a lot, because there have been some tofu rumors out there in the rumor mill. Here’s our two-cents: Tofu is part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies.

Tofu stir fry

Did you know tofu is delicious? For years Alex and I veered away from tofu because we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Of course, tofu right out of the container is a colorless, flavorless goo. But cook it up right and it’s one of the tastiest plant-based dinners you can have. This healthy vegan protein is great for incorporating into your meal prep repertoire. Want to fall in love with it? Come taste this tofu stir fry. It’s got the most flavor-packed stir fry sauce that works with any veggie, and the tofu is crisped on the outside and perfectly seasoned.

First off: is tofu healthy?

We get this question a lot, because there have been some tofu rumors out there in the rumor mill. Here’s our two-cents: Tofu is part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. Learn more about tofu here: Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?

How to make a tofu stir fry: the basic steps

Even better than being healthy: tofu can be completely delicious if you cook it correctly! Here’s what to know about the elements of making this basic tofu stir fry:

  • Make the stir fry sauce. This sauce is SO good! You’re going to love the flavor and the thick body of the sauce.
  • Chop the veggies. This is where much of the prep time will come in. We’ve used only a few veggies so you don’t have to spend hours chopping.
  • Cook the tofu. The main idea is to cut it into small squares, then pan fry for 5 minutes per side.
  • Stir fry the veggies. Add the veggies for 6 minutes. Then add the tofu and sauce and turn off the heat! The sauce will heat and thicken using the residual heat. If you have the heat too high, the sauce will evaporate.
Tofu stir fry

Guess what: you don’t have to press the tofu!

Did you notice something was missing? Pressing the tofu! If you’ve made other tofu recipes, they may have called for wrapping the tofu in a towel and placing a heavy object on top for 30 minutes. The theory is that this extracts more water, helping the tofu to get crispier. But really: who has the time for that?

This tofu stir fry works for weeknight dinners because you don’t have to spend the time pressing it before cooking. Just pat it dry with a towel and you’re ready to cook.

What’s in this delicious stir fry sauce

Did we talk up this stir fry sauce enough? Let’s just spend a little more time there. You can use this sauce for any stir fry that’s intended for 4 servings. You can also easily make the sauce in advance! Whip it up and store in a covered jar or container until you’re ready to cook. It saves a few minutes: which can be crucial on a weeknight. Here’s what’s in this sauce:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Miso
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic powder
Tofu stir fry

Other veggies to use in a tofu stir fry

You can use lots of other vegetables in this tofu stir fry! We chose broccoli, red and orange bell pepper, and shiitake mushrooms because they have beautiful colors, lots of nutrients, and a similar cooking time. Here’s a cheat sheet for other vegetables you might want to add to show the timing for each one:

Vegetables that take 6 to 7 minutes to stir fry:

Vegetables that take 3 to 5 minutes to stir fry:

  • Cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Snap peas
  • Bok choy, chopped
  • Zucchini or summer squash
  • Edamame, frozen and shelled

Vegetables that take 1 minute to stir fry:

  • Garlic, minced
  • Ginger, minced
  • Green onion, thinly sliced (or use as a garnish)
Tofu stir fry

What to serve with this tofu stir fry

Lastly, let’s talk about how to serve this tofu stir fry! This makes a fantastic healthy vegan dinner idea or easy vegetarian meal. You’ll want to serve with some sort of whole grain to make it more filling. Here are some options:

  • Rice: The easiest and most traditional option for a stir fry. Go to How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice.
  • Quinoa: When we want to mix things up, quinoa is a fun grain to serve with a stir fry. Go to How to Make Quinoa or Instant Pot Quinoa.
  • Cauliflower Rice: Don’t want to eat a whole grain? Try cauliflower rice! Take 1 head of cauliflower and chop it into large florets. Place half of the florets into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fully chopped and the cauliflower resembles grains of rice. Remove the “rice” to a bowl and process the remainder of the cauliflower.
Tofu stir fry

This tofu stir fry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Tofu stir fry

Go-To Tofu Stir Fry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies.


Ingredients

For the stir fry sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the tofu stir fry

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, stem on (about 3 large heads or 6 heaping cups florets)*
  • 1 red bell pepper (or half red and half orange)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 14-ounces firm or extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Start the rice: If serving with rice, start the rice.
  2. Make the sauce: Whisk together the stir fry sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, or make the sauce in advance and refrigerate until cooking.
  3. Chop the veggies: Chop the broccoli into florets. Thinly slice the pepper. Remove the shiitake stems and thinly slice them, if using. Thinly slice the green onion. Peel and grate the ginger.
  4. Cook the tofu: Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces (1-inch squares, 3/8-inch thick and pat it dry with a towel. Add the oil to a large non-stick pan and add the tofu cubes and a few pinches kosher salt. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
  5. Flip the tofu: Briefly remove the pan from the heat to reduce spitting. Flip the tofu with chopsticks (the easiest method!) or tongs. Return the heat to medium-high and cook 5 to 6 minutes until browned. Remove the tofu to a bowl and set it aside.
  6. Stir fry the veggies: Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the broccoli, pepper, and shiitake mushrooms and two pinches salt and cook 6 to 7 minutes until just starting to brown on edges, stirring occasionally. In the last minute, add 1 tablespoon water and allow the vegetables to steam.
  7. Turn down the heat to low. Add the green onion and ginger and cook 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Add the tofu and sauce and stir until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately. Store leftovers up to 3 days refrigerated.

  • Category: Stir Fry
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Tofu stir fry

More easy vegan dinner ideas

Love eating plant based? Here are a few more vegan dinner ideas to add to your repertoire:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

My favorite recipe for Thai drunken noodles (pad kee mao), made with your choice of protein and veggies and the most irresistible Thai basil sauce. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with pretty much all kinds of stir-fried noodles.  But I have to say, I think that Thailand’s famous drunken noodles — pad kee mao […]

My favorite recipe for Thai drunken noodles (pad kee mao), made with your choice of protein and veggies and the most irresistible Thai basil sauce.

Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with pretty much all kinds of stir-fried noodles.  But I have to say, I think that Thailand’s famous drunken noodles — pad kee mao (ผัดขี้เมา) — will forever be my favorites.

I absolutely adore these noodles. ♡

By contrast to what their name may imply, drunken noodles aren’t typically made with any alcohol at all.  Rather, they are traditionally made with rice noodles, fresh veggies, and your choice of protein (I used chicken here).  But the magic of this recipe lies fully in that “drunken” sauce.  It’s made with a blend of savory, slightly-sweet, and however-spicy-you-prefer base sauce that’s already delicious on its own.  But once it’s tossed with lots and lots of anise-flavored Thai holy basil, get ready, because this sauce transforms into something extra-special and tastes downright irresistible.

If you want to give this recipe a try, I’m really going to insist here that you make the trip to your local southeast Asian grocery to pick up some fresh Thai basil, which is slightly different than Italian basil and provides the je ne sais quoi flavor that I consider key to this dish.  And while I can’t guarantee here that this recipe is 100% authentic, it is the closest I’ve come to recreating the Thai-American restaurant version that I fell in love with years ago and tastes ridiculously good.

The good news for all of us is that this dish is quite easy to make and also makes for fantastic leftovers too.  So go round up some Thai basil and let’s make homemade pad kee mao together!

(more…)

Chickpea Mushroom Curry

Can I just say that this is the easiest and tastiest Chickpea Curry or Chana Masala with Mushroom I have ever eaten? And bonus it being vegan and gluten-free. The spices, the coconut cream and all the veggies come together perfectly in this mild and cr…

Can I just say that this is the easiest and tastiest Chickpea Curry or Chana Masala with Mushroom I have ever eaten? And bonus it being vegan and gluten-free. The spices, the coconut cream and all the veggies come together perfectly in this mild and creamy Indian dish. It is absolutely recommended for everyone especially...

Read More

The post Chickpea Mushroom Curry appeared first on My Pure Plants.

The Whole-Roasted Broccoli Eden Grinshpan Eats Multiple Times in a Week

“When I look around the table and see a collection of double-dipping, hand-eating, pants-unbuttoning guests, I know it’s been a successful night,” chef and Top Chef Canada host Eden Grinshpan writes in her first cookbook, Eating Out Loud, which debuted…

“When I look around the table and see a collection of double-dipping, hand-eating, pants-unbuttoning guests, I know it’s been a successful night,” chef and Top Chef Canada host Eden Grinshpan writes in her first cookbook, Eating Out Loud, which debuted earlier this month.

Grinshpan, who is half Israeli and grew up in Toronto, learned to embrace this unshy, unfussy approach to food while living in Israel. She and her family travelled there for countless summers and, eventually, Grinshpan moved there after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in London.

Read More >>

The Absolute Best Way to Cook Broccoli, According to So Many Tests

In Absolute Best Tests, Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She’s boiled dozens of eggs, mashed a concerning number of potatoes, and seared more porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall. Today, she tackl…

In Absolute Best Tests, Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She's boiled dozens of eggs, mashed a concerning number of potatoes, and seared more porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall. Today, she tackles broccoli.


The year is approximately 25 B.C., and the world’s primordial broccoli is about to be presented to a human for possible consumption. “Aspetti!” hisses the emperor’s chef, his eyes wide as the tiny treelike structures make their way to the grand dining table of Domus Augusti. “Wait! Is there any way to make it look any less…limp? Or any more…green?” But it’s too late—the florets are already in motion. And the emperor, never one to mince words, takes a single bite before pronouncing it “fine but kinda boring,” thereby relegating it to side dish status, at best, for thousands of years.

Read More >>

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously […]

The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously rich sauce to smother the pasta, chicken, and broccoli. The pesto provides all the garlic and herbal flavor needed, so there’s no need to even dice an onion, mince garlic, or measure any herbs and spices—it’s already in the sauce! The whole dish cooks very quickly so you can have this one on the dinner table in about 30 minutes.

Originally posted 11-24-2013, updated 8-9-2020.

Creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet, viewed from above

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

Yep! Any short shaped pasta, like penne, rotini, or even macaroni will work fine for this recipe. You can use a longer type pasta, like fettuccine or linguine, but it’s a little harder to stir chunky ingredients, like the chicken and broccoli, into long pasta. Sometimes breaking it in half before cooking can help.

What Kind of Pesto Do You Use?

I used basil pesto from ALDI for this recipe because it’s super affordable. If you don’t have an ALDI store near you, Classico brand pesto and Barilla brand pesto also tend to be very affordable. 

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

If you’re not into cream cheese, you can make a similar creamy sauce by substituting the cream cheese with about a ½ cup heavy cream, or replace both the chicken broth and cream cheese with 1 cup half and half. The sauce will be nice and creamy, but it won’t have that tangy cream cheese flavor that some people are not a fan of. You may need to add a pinch or two of salt at the end if you’re skipping the chicken broth.

Make it a Vegetarian Creamy Pesto Pasta

This Creamy Pesto Pasta can easily be made vegetarian. Just use a little extra broccoli, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and you’re good to go!

Front view of a bowl of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a fork lifting one bite

 
A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

A super fast creamy pesto sauce drenches tender pasta, chicken breast, and broccoli for an easy weeknight dinner.
Total Cost $5.48 recipe / $1.37 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 606.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bow tie pasta $0.67
  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli florets $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.12
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast $2.49
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto $0.73
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.40

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once it reaches a full boil, add the pasta and continue to boil just until the pasta is tender, but still slightly firm in the center (7-8 minutes). Once the pasta is tender, add the frozen broccoli florets to the water with the pasta and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and continue to cook until the outside of the chicken pieces are white, but they're still tender in the center (they will continue to cook as more ingredients are added).
  • Add the chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and allow it to heat through. Once hot, add the cream cheese (cut into small pieces) and pesto. Continue to stir and cook until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth, creamy sauce with the pesto and chicken broth.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir to coat it in the cream sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 606.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.58g | Protein: 37.18g | Fat: 28.33g | Sodium: 725.78mg | Fiber: 7.15g

How to Use Your Leftover Pesto

Not sure what to do with the rest of the jar of pesto? Try these recipes:

How to Make Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 8oz. bowtie pasta and continue to boil for 7-8 minutes, or just until it’s tender with a little firmness in the center. Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more or just until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.

Diced chicken breast on an orange cutting board

While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch chunks.

Broth being poured into a skillet with cooked chicken pieces.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the diced chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is white on the outside, but still slightly tender inside (it will continue to cook as more ingredients are added). Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and allow it to heat through.

pesto and cream cheese added to the skillet with the chicken and broth

Add 4oz. cream cheese (cut into small chunks) and ⅓ cup basil pesto to the skillet. 

Smooth and creamy pesto sauce in the skillet

Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth sauce with the pesto and broth. The cream cheese might look a little chunky as it’s melting, but keep stirring and cooking, it will smooth out once fully melted.

Finished creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet with a spatula

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir until it is all coated in the creamy pesto sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or too thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up.

A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

And that’s that! So easy! If you like ranch flavored foods, I think this tangy, garlicky sauce almost tastes ranch-like. So yum!

The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Broccolini Salad

This broccolini salad is packed with flavor! It pairs the unique vegetable with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. If you’re a broccolini lover, hold onto your hats. Here’s the recipe for you! Meet this epic broccolini salad. It stars those sweet, tender elegant florets that look so much fancier than regular old broccoli. Pair that with baby bella mushrooms, red onion, and the punch of fresh dill, and cover it all in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Wow, is this good! It’s so unique and a total crowd pleaser. It’s lightly based on a salad we had in Spain a few moons ago…and we’re truly over the moon for it. Here’s what to know about this salad! What is broccolini, exactly? Before we start, let’s talk about broccolini. It looks like a baby version of broccoli, but this veggie is not quite that. And it’s got a history that might surprise you! Here’s what to know about broccolini: Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli. Broccolini was invented in 1993! Wait, what? We would have guessed it […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This broccolini salad is packed with flavor! It pairs the unique vegetable with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Broccolini salad

If you’re a broccolini lover, hold onto your hats. Here’s the recipe for you! Meet this epic broccolini salad. It stars those sweet, tender elegant florets that look so much fancier than regular old broccoli. Pair that with baby bella mushrooms, red onion, and the punch of fresh dill, and cover it all in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Wow, is this good! It’s so unique and a total crowd pleaser. It’s lightly based on a salad we had in Spain a few moons ago…and we’re truly over the moon for it. Here’s what to know about this salad!

What is broccolini, exactly?

Before we start, let’s talk about broccolini. It looks like a baby version of broccoli, but this veggie is not quite that. And it’s got a history that might surprise you! Here’s what to know about broccolini:

  • Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli.
  • Broccolini was invented in 1993! Wait, what? We would have guessed it was an ingredient Italian grandmothers cook with. Nope, it’s not even 20 years old.
  • How to find it: It’s not available at all grocery stores, but it’s becoming easier to find. Look for the small bunches of broccoli with long stems.
Broccolini salad

Ingredients in broccolini salad

This easy broccolini salad tastes like more than the sum of its parts. It’s got just a few fresh ingredients, and the rest you can probably dig out of your pantry. Here’s what you need:

  • Broccolini: 3 bunches, to be exact. Bunches can vary in size, but they’re typically quite small (about 8 ounces each)
  • Red onion
  • Baby bella mushrooms: the mushrooms are raw in this salad, which brings a delightful texture contrast to the crunchy broccolini
  • Fresh dill: you can substitute another herb like oregano in a pinch, but dill adds just the right flavor (or see these other dill substitutes)
  • Parmesan cheese: you can omit for vegan, but it adds a great savory note
  • White wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup or sugar: either works, use maple for a naturally sweet dressing
  • Olive oil & salt
Broccolini

Tastes best fresh!

This healthy broccolini salad has the best flavor when it’s freshly made. However, you can store leftovers refrigerated. Unlike this broccoli salad, the flavors don’t intensify over time: they actually dull a bit. So if you do have leftovers, revive them by adding a pinch of salt or a splash of white wine vinegar.

Summer salads

More great salads to pair

There’s nothing better than a few salads to make a summer salad dinner! We served this broccolini salad with a sampling of other salads with the best produce summer has to offer. If you do make it a meal, we recommend incorporating a protein element with a bean salad or black eyed pea salad. Try some of these zesty recipes:

How to make broccolini salad

This broccolini salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the Parmesan cheese.

Print
Broccolini salad

Simple Broccolini Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 18 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This broccolini salad is packed with flavor! It pairs the unique vegetable with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. 


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds or 3 bunches broccolini
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced into slivers
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large sprigs fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan shavings
  • Lemon zest, optional

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Chop the broccolini into florets, keeping the stems long. 
  2. When the water is boiling, add the broccolini and cook it for 2 minutes. Remove it from the water with tongs and place it in an ice bath for a minute or so until cool. Pat the florets dry. 
  3. Meanwhile, thinly slice the red onion into slivers (you may want to rinse or let it soak in water ot remove some of the bite, then shake it dry). Thinly slice the mushrooms.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup or sugar, and kosher salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the broccolini, red onion, raw mushrooms, dill sprigs, Parmesan shavings, and vinaigrette dressing. If desired, garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately. The flavor is best fresh, but you can store leftovers refrigerated. (You may need to add a bit of salt or a splash of white wine vinegar to revive the flavors after refrigerating.)

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Broccolini salad

More broccolini and broccoli recipes

Here’s another broccolini recipe, plus a few more broccoli recipes to enjoy this healthy family of vegetables:

  • Perfect Roasted Broccolini A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli.
  • Broccoli Slaw This creamy broccoli slaw is irresistibly tasty! It’s easy to make using fresh broccoli or the packaged mix you can find in most grocery stores.
  • Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup Intensely creamy, satisfying, and 100% plant based! It’s an easy healthy soup that everyone loves.
  • Roasted Broccoli and Carrots Mix up your side dish routine by a pairing that’s full of contrasts.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Broccoli Salad

A new and improved take on the classic broccoli salad! Crunchy and savory sweet, it stars broccoli, raisins, and a flavor-popping dressing. Love broccoli salad? Us too. There’s something about that classic American broccoli salad: you know, the one with raisins and a mayo-based dressing? It’s a retro summer salad, where the florets are marinaded in the sauce until they’re soft and savory sweet. It’s oddly satisfying and gives us all those nostalgic vibes. Here’s a new and improved version of to make it fresh and healthy: but it keeps all the character and deliciousness of the original. In fact: we think it’s even better. Broccoli salad: new and improved! Mayo dressing and raisins reeks of the 1950’s and 60’s, right? While we couldn’t find a definitive history of broccoli salad, it’s got all the markers of those decades. Usually this salad is topped with bacon and sometimes cheese: taking it from a fresh and healthy salad to a decadent treat. So here at A Couple Cooks, we set about to modernize this classic (just like we did with this green bean casserole). Here’s why you should make this broccoli salad recipe: Dressing with just enough mayo. Mayo brings big […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

A new and improved take on the classic broccoli salad! Crunchy and savory sweet, it stars broccoli, raisins, and a flavor-popping dressing.

Broccoli Salad

Love broccoli salad? Us too. There’s something about that classic American broccoli salad: you know, the one with raisins and a mayo-based dressing? It’s a retro summer salad, where the florets are marinaded in the sauce until they’re soft and savory sweet. It’s oddly satisfying and gives us all those nostalgic vibes. Here’s a new and improved version of to make it fresh and healthy: but it keeps all the character and deliciousness of the original. In fact: we think it’s even better.

Broccoli salad: new and improved!

Mayo dressing and raisins reeks of the 1950’s and 60’s, right? While we couldn’t find a definitive history of broccoli salad, it’s got all the markers of those decades. Usually this salad is topped with bacon and sometimes cheese: taking it from a fresh and healthy salad to a decadent treat. So here at A Couple Cooks, we set about to modernize this classic (just like we did with this green bean casserole). Here’s why you should make this broccoli salad recipe:

  • Dressing with just enough mayo. Mayo brings big flavor and texture, but it doesn’t need to be swimming in the stuff. This dressing is just the right blend of creamy and savory sweet. Vegan mayo is becoming easy to find: use that for a plant-based broccoli salad.
  • Skip the cheese and bacon. Salad doesn’t need cheese and bacon to taste good! Removing those, it’s fresh and plant based.
  • Same great flavor…or better! This salad is just as satisfying as the standard…in fact, we think it’s even tastier!
Broccoli salad

Ingredients for broccoli salad

Are you convinced? Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the base of this broccoli salad:

  • Fresh broccoli: make sure it’s at its peak freshness. The fresher the broccoli, the better the salad!
  • Red onion
  • Carrot
  • Raisins: You also can use dried cranberries or cherries
  • Mayo: Use vegan mayo as desired
  • Cider vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup or sugar: Either works! use pure maple syrup for a naturally sweet salad!
Broccoli salad

Add the smoky sunflower seed topping!

Remember we told you we removed the bacon from the classic broccoli salad? You don’t need anything in place of it. But if you really want to take this salad over the top: make this smoky sunflower seed topping! It mimics the flavor of bacon using sunflower seeds that are flavored with soy sauce, maple syrup and smoked paprika. They bring just the right smoky and savory flavor to the salad.

What’s smoked paprika? It’s a smoky Spanish version of sweet paprika. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores: it’s sometimes labeled pimentón. Smoked paprika is our secret weapon in plant-based cooking and we use it in so many recipes! Go to Best Smoked Paprika Recipes to use up a jar.

How to make broccoli salad

Do you really have to refrigerate 1 hour?

Great question: and we like that you love shortcuts (we do too). In this case though: the wait time makes a difference. Yes, you do have to refrigerate broccoli salad for 1 hour! Here’s why:

  • It makes just the right tender broccoli texture. Technically, you can eat it right away. But if you do, the broccoli is crisp. Honestly, it just doesn’t taste right! Refrigerate 1 hour, and it softens just enough.
  • The flavors permeate even more! The flavor also tastes better after that 1 hour soak. The broccoli salad tastes even more tangy and savory sweet.
Broccoli salad

More broccoli recipes

Guess what? We have so many more classic broccoli recipes to enjoy this healthy veggie! Here are some favorites that you should try:

  • Broccoli Slaw This creamy broccoli slaw is irresistibly tasty! It’s easy to make using fresh broccoli or the packaged mix you can find in most grocery stores.
  • Epic Roasted Broccoli Makes this green veggie taste SO GOOD you can’t stop sneaking bites! It’s charred until tender, then spritzed with lemon juice.
  • Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup Intensely creamy, satisfying, and 100% plant based! It’s an easy healthy soup that everyone loves.

This broccoli salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use vegan mayo.

Print
Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad (New & Improved!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 75 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A new and improved take on the classic broccoli salad! Crunchy and savory sweet, it stars broccoli, raisins, and a flavor-popping dressing.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds broccoli on the stalk, enough for 8 cups florets
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 carrot, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (vegan mayo as needed)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Chop the broccoli into very small florets. Slice the red onion. Stir together with the raisins.
  2. Whisk together the mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard and salt. Add to the vegetables and mix to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and the broccoli to become soft (you can eat right away but the broccoli is crisp and has less of the traditional texture).
  3. Meanwhile, place the sunflower seeds, soy sauce, sugar, smoked paprika, and 2 pinches kosher salt in a skillet. Heat over medium low heat and sauté for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are sticky and most of the liquid is evaporated, taking care that they do not burn and scraping any sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. When they are sticky and darkened in color (and may have clumped together), remove from the heat and spread them onto parchment paper in a single layer and allow them to dry until serving, about 10 minutes.
  4. When ready to serve, top the salad with the sunflower seeds.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Broccoli Salad, Best Broccoli Salad

More amazing salad recipes

Salads are the best way to eat your veggies! Here are some of our favorite salad recipes:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes