March 13, 2013

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.


Lightened Up Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Bake

asta Bake | Fork Knife Swoon

A quick and easy, lightened up recipe for a 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
  • Category: Pasta, Casserole


  • 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.


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  • Reply
    September 10, 2019 at 5:54 am

    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 💙💙

  • Reply
    April 2, 2019 at 2:44 pm

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

  • Reply
    Allison Summey
    August 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    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!!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2018 at 6:58 pm

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

  • Reply
    April 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    How many calories in this recipe please

  • Reply
    February 2, 2018 at 7:37 am

    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!

  • Reply
    patricia gohier
    October 16, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    quick and great for leftover pasta!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Patricia!!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2017 at 11:40 am

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

  • Reply
    Becky Stacey
    June 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

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

  • Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    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.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Jenny Bender
    October 15, 2014 at 4:51 am

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

    THANKS for a great recipe!!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Thanks, Jenny!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    March 16, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Can’t wait to try it

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Do you know the nutrition info? Thanks~!

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    February 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

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  • Reply
    August 20, 2013 at 1:25 am

    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!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2013 at 1:56 am

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

    • Reply
      April 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm

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

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  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Looks absolutely delicious!! 🙂

    • Reply
      March 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks Emanuelle!

      • Reply
        Jaclyn Crawford
        August 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm

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

        • Reply
          August 28, 2014 at 7:28 pm

          Uncovered! 🙂