Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Bake

asta Bake | Fork Knife Swoon

This lightened up Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Bake has all the flavor and creamy texture of a classic broccoli and cheese dish, but with a lot less guilt than traditionally calorie-packed recipes. I threw this together last night after a non-stop day and it was just the sort of comforting, indulgent dinner I was craving.

This version uses ingredients we generally have in the pantry, but you could spice it up with other fresh or frozen veggies and any kind of cheese – think corn and bell peppers with pepper jack or sweet peas with a Swiss/gruyere combo.

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asta Bake | Fork Knife Swoon

Lightened Up Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Bake

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings 1x


A quick and easy, lightened up recipe for a Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Bake.


  • 1 lb dry whole-wheat pasta (rigatoni, penne, or other macaroni pasta with ridges)
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water for the last two minutes of cooking the pasta. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until it begins to brown. Add the flour, and whisk until a smooth roux forms. Add the milk, mustard and the spices and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. When the sauce begins to bubble, add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
  3. Add the pasta and broccoli to the sauce and stir until combined. Pour the pasta mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake until the pasta is warmed through and the top is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
  • Category: Pasta, Casserole


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  1. 9.10.19
    Georgia said:

    Very tasty! I have cooked it last night for the whole family and liked it a lot!
    I added some zucchini which I roasted in the pan and also I didn’t finish it in the oven. I served it a step before!! Thank you for sharing the recipe 💙💙

  2. 4.2.19
    Madi said:

    does anyone know what size pan I should use? making this right now! 🙂

  3. 8.1.18
    Allison Summey said:

    Anyone know how to make this ahead of time and reheat? Same day even is fine I just need to be able to make it during the day and reheat it at night. Thanks!!

  4. 5.24.18
    Shanice said:

    Making this for dinner right now I’m so excited to see how it comes out

  5. 4.9.18
    Helen said:

    How many calories in this recipe please

  6. 2.2.18
    Julia said:

    Made this last night — DELICIOUS. I’ve never tried a “roux” before and was a little intimidated, but I had no problems. I added chicken sausage and butternut squash to the recipe, which worked out great. Thanks so much!

  7. 10.16.17
    patricia gohier said:

    quick and great for leftover pasta!

    • 11.14.17
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much, Patricia!!

  8. 8.25.17
    Tara said:

    Hi! Do you know how many calories in fat per serving?

  9. 6.8.17
    Becky Stacey said:

    This sounds great and very simple. If I don’t have milk is there a substrate ingredient? Thank you

  10. 3.30.15
    Andy said:

    It is good. But you have to double up on the broccoli if you don’t want to search for it with a magnifying glass. Otherwise we love it.

  11. 10.15.14

    I made this last night and LOVED it! It’s on my blog today! 🙂

    THANKS for a great recipe!!

  12. 3.16.14
    Carleza said:

    Can’t wait to try it

  13. 2.26.14
    Becky said:

    Do you know the nutrition info? Thanks~!

  14. 8.20.13
    rosanne said:

    Made this tonight only I didn’t use skim or fat free dairy. It was a nice dish! My 2 and 4 yr olds inhaled it! I topped with breadcrumbs and turned on the broiler for the last few minutes. Delicious!

  15. 4.2.13
    Rachel said:

    I made this last night thanks to Pinterest… Simple to make, even in South Korea! Thank you, Laura!

    • 4.2.13
      Laura said:

      I’m glad you liked it! We have some friends stationed in your part of the world…

  16. 3.14.13
    Emanuelle said:

    Looks absolutely delicious!! 🙂

    • 3.20.13
      Laura said:

      Thanks Emanuelle!

      • 8.28.14
        Jaclyn Crawford said:

        Making this for dinner, do you cook covered or uncovered?

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021, and may not be used without permission.