Meatless Monday in the form of the best easy broccoli cheese tortellini.

Best Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini with Fried Lemon | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Um, YUM.

I mean, what is there not to love about this? Some Mondays are for salads, but this Monday is for pasta. Who’s with me?

It’s my thinking that Mondays can be a bit of a struggle, and while I totally get that sometimes we need to be “good” and eat our bowl of salad, I also get that sometimes we just need a plate full of pasta. Plus, I personally had a veggie filled Sunday, so I’m making up for it today. Mwahahahaha.

Speaking of Sunday, how was the weekend? I spent all day Saturday attempting to get some fun lifestyle type photos of Asher and I, and while I guess I got a few, it’s really, really hard to take a photo and be in the photo at the same time. Oddly, I find myself doing this very often, but when you are actually trying to get your faces in the shot (and not just your hands like I might in a food photo…example here and here), it’s a rather tricky thing. Thank God for camera timers and being able to hit the shutter button from my computer screen. Also, next time I just need to hire a freaking photographer. <– yes, this would have been a much better idea.

In other news, Asher is still probably the cutest thing ever, that little girl gets me every time. We made a few recipes, including one Nutella heavy bread, from the cookbook (release date is getting closer and closer…only spring, summer and then fall and it will be here). Asher was in heaven…until she got bored with me directing her on how to stand. Then she demanded that she had a two o’clock appointment she needed to get to. Ahh, she’s eight years old, RIGHHHHTTT. Girl for sure has some sassiness to her, and if you follow me on Instagram stories, you got a glimpse of it.

Sunday was spent saying goodbye, yet again, to my crazy world traveling brother Red, and chillin the heck out for a second (or about as chill as I can get…).

Best Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini with Fried Lemon | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And today? Well, I am pretty excited for the week. I secretly love Mondays, I see them as a fresh start to kick some serious working girl ass. SOO ah yeah, maybe I should tell you about this here recipe already then?

Yup, probably.

This recipe is one of the simplest yet. Cheese tortellini + broccoli + spinach + fried lemon slices + manchego cheese + parmesan cheese.

Perfection.

The tortellini and broccoli get cooked together in boiling water making this so fast…and easy, a one-pot kind of pasta recipe. I got the idea from the Skinnytaste Fast and Slow Cookbook. If you guys don’t have this one, you have to check it out, it’s like a cook’s bible. Trust me.

So yes, it’s beyond genius to cook your pasta and veggies together at the same time. It saves steps, not to mention dishes! Seeing as fresh tortellini takes about five to six minutes to cook, this recipe comes together really fast. For some serious flavor and spring vibes, I added some very thinly sliced fried Meyer lemons. I know this might seem odd, but the lemons are actually the KEY to this recipe. They give it that pop of fresh flavor and brightness. When the lemon is thinly sliced and then fried, it takes away a lot of the bitterness and leaves you with a sweet and caramelized lemon flavor. Kind of hard to explain, but I promise, so good. Especially when paired with a cheesy pasta like this.

To create a little bit of a sauce, be sure to save some of that pasta cooking water BEFORE you drain it all away. Once the pasta is drained and you’ve fried up the lemon slices, just toss everything together with fresh spinach, a little butter, cheese, crushed red pepper (for a touch of heat) and season it all up with salt and pepper.

Simple as that, but possibly one of the best cheesy pastas ever. Sometimes simple is truly the only way to go…and definitely the only way to go on a Monday!

Best Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini with Fried Lemon | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

SO. My plans for today? Kicking Monday in the butt and then ending it on a very delicious note with this tortellini. Major bonus points that this recipe uses many of my pantry staples…i.e broccoli, spinach, cheese, and fresh or frozen tortellini.

ps. I bought my tortellini (3-cheese) from Whole Foods and they were delish.

Best Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini with Fried Lemon | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Best Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini with Fried Lemon | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Print

Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 6

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 2 heads broccoli, florets roughly chopped
  • 2 lemons, preferably Meyer, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated manchego cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and broccoli and cook according to package directions until the tortellini is al dente, about 4-6 minutes. During the last minute of cooking, add the lemon slices. 

    Just before draining, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain. Pick out the lemon slices. 

    Return the pot to the stove and set over medium heat. Add the olive oil and lemon slices. Fry until lightly golden on each side, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the tortellini, broccoli, spinach, chives, butter, cheese and a splash of the pasta cooking water. Toss until the cheese has melted, adding more water, little by little to create a loose sauce. Season with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Best Easy Broccoli Cheese Tortellini with Fried Lemon | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Double high-five to Monday and all this delicious pasta!