Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli

Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli

When my husband goes into the office during the week, I usually eat lunch alone. I have a hard time working up the motivation to cook a whole meal just for myself, so sometimes I end up having a “snack” like chips and hummus until–oops–no need for lunch! Stewart will come home from work and ask if I made anything fun, and it’s then when I realize that toast, or chips, or whatever I had filled myself up with that day probably wasn’t the best idea.

Therefore I’m always trying to come up with recipes that are a little more substantial, but are easy to make and consist of ingredients we always have laying around. Here’s what I decided to work with today:


Fettuccini, lemon, sundried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and broccoli. For the past couple of days I’ve had the idea of this light, fresh, flavorful pasta floating around in my head. The only ingredients used in the recipe that aren’t pictured here are oil, salt, and black pepper. I love this dish because you can taste everything and it all works really well together. The tanginess of the lemon, the sweetness of the tomatoes, the crisp broccoli, the spicy peppper… it’s really yummy. And hey, any dish that involves broccoli is pretty much an automatic winner in my house.

This dish is written for one, but it should be really easy to scale up if you’re cooking for more. We usually buy whole stalks of broccoli instead of just the crowns because we enjoy eating the stems as much as the florets. While this recipe is for only florets, feel free to add the diced stalk in as well. Just cut 1-2″ off the bottom (the tough, woody part) and you should be good to go. You can peel the stem if you want it even more tender.

The key to this dish is balancing the salt, lemon juice, and oil. You want enough oil to distribute the flavors over the pasta, but not so much it’s greasy. There shouldn’t be any oil pooling in the bottom of the pan or on your plate – you want just enough to coat the pasta and no more. The salt and the lemon juice should even each other out; you should taste both without either being overwhelming. Start with 1 tsp of the lemon juice and then add the salt to taste. You should then have a better idea then if you need more of either.

Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli
Serves one

Dried Fettucini, enough for one
2 tsp Olive Oil, to start
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Broccoli Florets
1/4 Cup Sliced Sundried Tomatoes (oil packed)
1/2 tsp Hot Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice, or more to taste
1-2 Pinches Kosher Salt, or to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Lemon Zest, for garnish, optional

While the pasta is cooking in well-salted water, chop the broccoli florets in to small pieces (about the size of a nickel). Slice the sundried tomatoes. When pasta is nearly finished cooking, heat a wok over medium-high heat until it’s quite hot. Add oil and broccoli and toss to coat, adding more oil a little at a time if needed. After 1-2 minutes, add tomatoes and pepper flakes.

Let cook undisturbed for another two minutes, then toss. Repeat this process until broccoli and tomatoes have some color on them, and the broccoli is bright green and becoming tender. Drain pasta very well and add to the wok, adding just enough oil to coat the pasta (if needed). Add lemon juice and salt and taste, adjusting if necessary. Plate and grind fresh black pepper over the top, adding lemon zest if desired. Serve immediately.

This also makes a nice room-temperature pasta salad, so it’d be great for picnics, work lunches, or potlucks.


  1. Namratha

    The picture is awesome and makes me want to grab that fork and dig in! I understand what u mean when u say “not motivated enough to make a whole meal”. My husband travels through the week so its all the meals by myself. Pasta sure comes to my rescue half the time. :)

  2. Suganya

    If I am alone, I usually make dal(lentil) with vegetables. I don’t even care to cook rice. Dal by itself is quite easy and satisfying, like a stew.

  3. jd

    Thanks Lolo, for such a deliciously simple lunch idea!

    I find myself in the same boat as you quite often. My bf, CH, comes home from work & wants to know what exciting thing I had for lunch, & I have to admit that I ate nothing but pretzels & mustard, or a peanut butter & banana sandwich.

    Hopefully this recipe will help me get my act together again! :)

  4. Kelley

    i have a similar speciality i like to call my “bachelorette pasta” that comes out when the husband’s not around. only mine involves lots and lots of garlic.

  5. Sophie

    Lovely recipe – I make pretty much the same but with rosemary instead of sundried tomatoes (I can grab rosemary from the garden). It’s really good with romanescu too.

    Simple lunch recipes are the most important ones I often think – they’re the ones you make the most often!

  6. Vanessa

    I just discovered your site a few days ago, and i find it so inspiring. Thought i would take this opportunity to introduce myself, since i, like a few of your readers, am in a similar situation during the week, with lunches-for-one. Sometimes i end up eating whatever, but most of the time i view lunches on my own as a great opportunity to experiment with something crazy without having to worry about how it will go over with someone else.

    Beautiful photos and a delicious-looking pasta that reminds me of a bowtie pasta i make with sundried tomatoes, lemon, and greens.

  7. Earthly Delight

    that looks AMAZING–so wonderfully simple and yet such a powerful combination of some really great ingredients. Definately the sort of thing I’d love to make and definately a recipe I’m going to try.


  8. Steve

    I have a similar recipe, but instead of brocolli, I use either snow peas or snap peas (depends on my garden), lots of garlic and aji limon pepper instead of the red pepper. That pepper is just as hot as the red pepper, and has a subtle lemony flavor that goes great with the lemon juice.

    Great pictures, too!

  9. Rodger

    I’m not vegan, but you seriously make me think that I wouldn’ be missing out on too much!

    I gave you a “You Make My Day” award on my blog! :D You can get a button there so that you can pass it on to others who make your day.

  10. Sarah

    I love this recipe, and for extra veggie goodness I throw in zuccini shreds right at the end instead of pasta. I also add golden raisins, which might sound weird but it adds a great sweetness! Thanks so much for your beautiful photos and recipes. It really is a pleasant read.

  11. cin

    I’m certainly in the same boat – not always being bothered to make something if I’m having a meal alone. I end up eating yughurt or munching on not-so-healthy snacks. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. jen s

    mmmmm… i seriously did go to the store to get a few of the needed ingredients, and just finished. yummy! i think next time i may add a few toasted pine nuts – i think they’d complement the broccoli and tomatoes nicely.

  13. chow vegan

    I do the same thing since I work at home. Munch on chips or whatever and before I know it, it’s past lunchtime and time to get back to work. Love your blog – so inspirational and yummy!

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  15. Suzana

    That’s a wonderful combination of flavours and textures! I’ve been reading your blog and it’s lovely. Always beautiful photos and yummy recipes.

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  17. Sara

    This is a great, delicious, easy recipe. I’m making it again with asparagus instead of broccoli, and I expect it will be a great success :)


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  21. DanielleLovesTastyFood

    I made this and it was SOOOOOOO GOOD! I wouldn’t have considered myself a big fan of sun dried tomatoes, but I may be changing my mind :). I made a double batch and ate the 2nd half cold and I have to say that this is just as good after a day in the fridge.

  22. Catherine

    I loved the recipe, it was fresh light and tantalizing to the taste buds. I chose to add garlic and whole black pepper corns.

  23. ffi

    This sounds delicious. I’m torn between this and the tomato basil cream pasta for dinner tonight (do you think it would be greedy if I made both?).

    Your recipes and your photos are equally stunning…

  24. Jens Hegg

    This is a great dish. I dressed it up with asparagus and smoked sun dried tomatoes and added shrimp to please the carnivore of the family. I also used unrefined sea salt and replaced the black pepper with aji limon as mentioned above and some habanero. Yummm!

    Goes great with mashed sweet potatoes topped with hibiscus sauce.

    I blogged it here if anyone wants to see the results.


  25. Char Noir

    Hello there!
    I have been reading your blog for some time now and even though I am not a vegan it is interesting and with beautiful pictures.

    I am however a rather inexperience cook and so I have a question for this recipe:
    If I use frozen broccoli, do I have to boil it first?
    For fresh, I understand that I just have to mix it with the other ingredients, no boiling first is required.

    Thanks :)

  26. Alex Lee

    Your site makes me so happy. Thanks so much for all your hard work – i seriously get so excited planning when I’m going to try out your recipes. I just made this Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta tonight after a never ending day and totally loved it. So easy, and so tasty. Can’t wait for the cook book!

    Best of luck!

  27. Monique

    I just have to tell you that I cannot wait for your cookbook to come out … and I hope that all of the recipes in your lovely blog are in it!.

    I’ve made this particular recipe repeatedly, and it’s beyond addictive (I often find myself craving it). Thank you so much for sharing it. :)

  28. Gina

    I just made this for a light and easy dinner and it was delicious and surprisingly flavourful! I really enjoy your blog-keep up the good work.

  29. Laura

    OMG – This is perfect. I absolutely have all of those ingredients at home right now and I had no idea what to make for dinner. (Geeze – why can’t I ever think of these things on my own?) The kiddo and the husband won’t be joining me tonight so this meal for one will be perfect. Thank you!

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  31. Little Chubby Panda

    Made this for dinner tonight (doubled, for two!) and loved it! Definitely a repeat-worthy meal. :)

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