It may seem an unconventional combination yet this spaghetti with broccoli, olives, and feta is astonishingly satisfying and comes together with stuff you probably keep a stash of on hand at all times. In addition to being laudible for its healthy Mediterranean-inspired jumble of ingredients, it’s practical as can be given that it’s on the table in less than 30 minutes. And it just happens to be vegetarian—though we swear you won’t want for anything. Rumor has it cold leftovers eaten straight from the fridge make a magnificent breakfast.Angie Zoobkoff

A plate of spaghetti with olives, broccoli, and feta with two serving spoons nestled in the pasta.

Spaghetti with Olives, Broccoli, and Feta

5 / 3 votes
This spaghetti with olives, broccoli, and feta is a quick and easy pantry pasta made by combining cooked pasta with stir-fried broccoli along with, olives, garlic, lemon zest, chile flakes, and feta cheese. On the table in 30 minutes.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories769 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • Olive oil
  • 1 large head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
  • 10 1/2 ounces broccoli or broccolini, separated into florets, stems trimmed and reserved for another use
  • 1 cup pitted black olives or mixed olives, halved or coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red chile flakes, preferably Aleppo (pul biber)
  • Finely grated zest from 2 lemons, preferably organic (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 14 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Place a large saucepan of generously salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, in another large saucepan over medium-low heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook until soft and translucent but without letting it brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.
  • When you have just a few minutes cooking time for the pasta left, set the pan containing the garlic back over medium-high heat, add the broccoli, and stir-fry until the broccoli is crisp and green and tender, about 3 minutes, depending on the size of the florets.
  • Using tongs, lift the pasta from the water and allow any excess water to drip back into the pan. Add the pasta to the broccoli, along with a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water. Gently toss to combine and then add a good drizzle of olive oil.
  • Add the olives, chile flakes, and lemon zest and toss to combine. Stir in the feta and toss to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  • Taste and, if desired, season with salt and black pepper. If the dish seems a little dry, stir in a little more pasta water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, using as much as 1/2 cup to create a sauce if desired.Serve immediately.
Bazaar Cookbook

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 769 kcalCarbohydrates: 97 gProtein: 32 gFat: 29 gSaturated Fat: 16 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gCholesterol: 88 mgSodium: 1730 mgPotassium: 645 mgFiber: 8 gSugar: 9 gVitamin A: 2201 IUVitamin C: 67 mgCalcium: 580 mgIron: 4 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2019 Sabrina Ghayour. Photo © 2019 Kris Kirkham. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This pasta dish was absolutely delicious! I could eat broccoli with every meal so this recipe immediately caught my attention and it sure didn’t disappoint! The brininess of the olives and the freshness of the lemon zest really married well with the garlic, broccoli, and the slight heat of the pepper flakes.

I used plain crushed red pepper flakes as that was what I had on hand, and I used less than called for in this recipe since we don’t like overly hot dishes.

I also left out the feta, since my husband isn’t a fan of it, and it was still fantastic without it. That just goes to show you how versatile this dish truly is.

This recipe makes a lot of pasta, definitely enough to serve 6 people, and can easily be halved with good results.

Super easy and the options really are endless. Perfect timing for all the upcoming summer veggies!

My husband said that if he had ordered this pasta in a restaurant he would gladly order it again. That is high praise from my carnivorous husband. This pasta dish is very flavorful with a slight kick from the pepper, lightly lemony, not overwhelmingly garlicky, and creamy from the feta.

After stir frying the broccoli for about 4 minutes it was still fairly firm. However, once the pasta and water were added and mixed the broccoli finished cooking. Some of the stems were a little al dente.

I think 14 ounces of feta is an enormous amount. I used half that amount and the pasta was very flavorful. The amount of Aleppo pepper added a nice flavor.

Given that the feta and olives are really salty (and the pasta was cooked in salt water) I didn’t need to add additional salt.

I adore a pantry pasta like this one. Recipes like this one are a testament to the fact that if you have a well-stocked pantry, you always have a quick and easy and delicioso dinner on hand.

I used linguine along with pitted kalamata olives, Aleppo chile flakes, and a nice barrel-aged organic feta cheese. That and my favorite California olive oil! This would easily feed 4 super hungry folks, or 6 regularly hungry people nicely.

I loved that this pasta recipe starts with cooking an entire bulb of garlic, thinly sliced in olive oil. We are off to a good start in my book with this step! I used a large, straight sided saute pan in this step to cook the garlic; knowing that the pasta and the rest of the ingredients will be eventually going into the same pan, I suggest a 5 quart pan here. With such a large pan, I used about 1/2 cup oil; also knowing that this would be the sauce base to cook the broccoli in, this was a good amount of oil.

I did add about 1/2 cup more of the pasta water to help everything come together and for a starchy sauce to form. I did also drizzle each serving of the pasta with more olive oil before serving as well. Such a lovely combination of ingredients here. A great dish served with a glass of light-bodied red wine and some roasted cherry tomatoes as a side dish.

This was super quick and easy. The most time spent was slicing the garlic. And I was nervous that it would be just too much garlic. But I was happily incorrect. It was just right.

I had never used pul biber before. What a great spice! That will certainly find other uses in my kitchen.

It makes a generous portion of food. And it hit the spot as a light dinner. It also made a great cold leftover lunch the next day. I would have given it a ten, but I did feel like it needed just one more thing. If I ate meat I would suggest grilled chicken. As a vegetarian I was tempted to add some chickpeas, just to round it out. But I really enjoyed it as-is.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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