Lemon Veggie Pasta For Two

Perfect for sharing or enjoying solo, this lemon veggie pasta is about to change your weeknight dinner game. It’s ridiculously easy to make, loaded with veggies, and bursting with a bright and tangy lemon flavor. And if you’re cooking for one, the leftovers make a tasty cold pasta salad lunch the next day!

A blue and white bowl full of pasta with a fork sticking out of it.

The secret to this quick one-pot dinner is that you cook the vegetables with the pasta.

For most of the frozen vegetables we’ve tried (like broccoli and cauliflower), you want to add them to the pot about 4 minutes before the pasta is done.

So far, broccoli is my favorite along with some green peas (they’re an easy and delicious way to add protein to any dish).

Dark metal baking sheet with bowls full of ingredients like frozen broccoli and pasta.

Ingredient Notes

The rest of the ingredients are pretty straightforward:

  • Pasta – We like to use whole wheat pasta but I don’t think it matters what kind of dry pasta you use. My sister makes this recipe with lentil pasta and it turns out great.
  • Sauce – The sauce is a simple lemon and olive oil combo, it’s incredibly light and refreshing. If a marinara or pesto is more your thing – you do you!
  • Cheese – You MUST add the cheese, its salty creamy flavor balances out the tart lemon perfectly. I like to use feta because it’s slow to spoil and easy to use up in salads, toaster oven frittatas or on a veggie hummus flatbread.
  • Beans – Creamy white beans are nice but toothier garbanzo beans are a good choice too. If beans aren’t your jam, add more frozen peas or try some edamame. 
  • Tomatoes – Grape or cherry tomatoes are fantastically sweet (even in January) and always taste great with pasta. Slicing them in half isn’t my favorite chore but it really does help to spread their yummy flavor throughout the dish.

While this pasta recipe is easy to adapt to what’s in your fridge and pantry, start with the frozen broccoli and nail down the time/texture you prefer first.

Then have fun experimenting with all of your favorite veggies, frozen or fresh!

Small red dutch oven full of cooked vegetables and pasta.

Step By Step Instructions

1. Figure Out Your Timing

Before you cook the pasta, subtract 4 minutes from the cooking time called for on your package and set a timer for that amount.

The Delallo whole wheat farfalle we use suggests a cook time of 11 minutes so I set the timer for 7 minutes.

Depending on the shape and what it’s made of your pasta will probably cook for a different amount of time – just subtract the 4 minutes and you’ll be fine.

2. Start The Pasta

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once your water comes to a boil, salt the water and add the pasta. Give it a few good stirs and start the timer for the initial cook time.

Red dutch oven full of boiling water and pasta on a stovetop.

3. Add The Frozen Broccoli

Once the timer goes off carefully add your frozen broccoli to the boiling water. I like to use a small colander, it helps to keep the broccoli from splashing boiling water everywhere.

Now, set a timer for the remaining 4 minutes.

Hand holding a green colander with frozen broccoli held over a pot of boiling water.

I’ve added measurements for the frozen vegetables to the recipe card but you don’t have to follow them. Most nights I just shake the veggies from the bag until it feels like the right amount.

We haven’t tried a lot of different frozen vegetables, but I can say that cauliflower takes the same amount of time as the broccoli.

Red dutch oven full of boiling broccoli and pasta on a stovetop.

Just don’t add the peas until later otherwise they will get overcooked and turn gray (yep, it’s as gross as it sounds).

So far, the fresh veggies we’ve tried have taken less time to cook. Green beans cut into 1-inch pieces tasted perfect after just 2 minutes.

4. Prep Your Other Ingredients

While the pasta and broccoli cook, zest and juice your lemon and slice the tomatoes in half.

Cutting board with sliced grape tomatoes and lemon with grater and juicer.

5. Drain, Season, and Enjoy!

When the timer goes off, drain the pasta and vegetables. Return them to the pot and place the pot on a cool burner.

Cooked pasta and broccoli in a pot with beans and lemon zest.

Stir in the frozen peas, beans, olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Then add the feta and tomatoes.

Give it a taste and season with salt and black pepper. I like to add a little crushed red pepper too for an unexpected spicy kick.

3 Jars of Spices and Seasonings

If you want to change things up, try adding a few shakes of Everything Bagel Seasoning or your favorite Herb Blend.

Have you been storing your fresh herbs so they last longer? If you’ve got basil or parsley on hand toss some in.

Lastly, divide the pasta evenly between two bowls and enjoy!

Pasta and vegetables in a blue bowl on a white napkin.

More Easy Vegetarian Meals For Two

Pasta and vegetables in a blue and white bowl on a white napkin.

Lemon Veggie Pasta For Two

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 21 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

A quick and easy dinner for two that's loaded with fresh and frozen veggies!


  • 3 ounces Dry Pasta
  • 8 ounces frozen Broccoli Florets, not thawed (about half a standard 16 oz bag)
  • 2 ounces frozen peas, not thawed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup cooked great northern beans, rinsed if using canned
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fresh basil or parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook pasta according to the package directions. In the last 4 minutes* of the cooking time, carefully add the frozen broccoli and cook until just tender. 
  2. Drain the pasta and vegetables, return to the pot and place on a cool burner. 
  3. Stir in the peas, beans, olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Add the feta and tomatoes. Taste and season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes as desired.
  4. Divide pasta into two bowls and serve with torn basil or chopped parsley.


Pasta: 3 ounces of dry pasta is about 1½ cups Farfalle (Bowties) or Penne and about 3/4 cup of elbow macaroni or small shells.

*Frozen Vegetables: Depending on the size of the florets, your frozen broccoli might cook faster or slower. If the florets are smaller, test a piece after 3 minutes and add more time as needed. It's always better to undercook than overcook your veggies.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: Half of Recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 574Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3.4gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 84.5gFiber: 19.3gSugar: 7.2gProtein: 16.8g

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  1. Stir in the frozen peas? I’m trying to learn how to cook but that detail sounds really weird. I’m sorry, if I sound ignorant – I am!

    1. Hi Christine,

      That’s a great question. Making this recipe a bunch we’ve found it’s easy to overcook the frozen peas (at least for us) if they’re added to the boiling water with the frozen broccoli. Over-cooked peas are gray, mushy, and not very appetizing.

      To keep the peas vibrant, we toss them in with the drained but still hot pasta instead. The heat from the cooked pasta and broccoli plus the warm pot quickly thaws and cooks the peas.

      But if you’d prefer to add the peas to the boiling water that’s okay too. Just do it when only a minute or two is left of the cooking time.

      This recipe is super flexible and forgiving. It’s great for a beginner cook, so don’t be afraid to try adding different ingredients or combining them in a way you think you might prefer more. That’s the best part of cooking for yourself 🙂

      Hope that helps and happy cooking!
      ~ Brie

  2. Just made this for my parents tonight! Christmas dinner. I never cook so it’s exciting to eat something tasty everyone loves! Even the dog lol 🙂