Pasta with Broccolini, Leeks and Preserved Lemon

A quick, easy, healthy pasta dish with fresh broccoli, leek, herbs and preserved lemon |


Looking for a seriously quick pasta dish bursting with flavor?  Here it is!  This Pasta with Broccolini, Leeks and Preserved Lemon is so simple, healthy, tasty, aromatic, and pleasing to the palate that you’ll want to have it every week.  Whenever I see young broccoli or broccolini at the market, I make this dish.  It’s just too easy and too good to pass up.  This past dish has a light sauce consisting of olive oil, water from the pasta pot, and a bit of preserved lemon juice. The ingredients are simple and few, and the pasta can be whatever you have in the pantry.  And if you don’t happen to have a jar of preserved lemons in the refrigerator, you can always make a quick small batch in about 24 hours.  Hope you enjoy!!!

A quick, easy, healthy pasta dish with fresh broccoli, leek, herbs and preserved lemon #pasta #preserved #lemon #broccoli @mjskitchen


Spaghetti with Baby Broccolini, Leeks and Lemon Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Yields 4 small servings or 2 large servings
Prep and Cook time: about 30 minutes


3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
White portion of 1 large leek, cut in quarters lengthwise, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tsp. dried thyme or 1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. dried mint (1 Tbsp. fresh mint)
½ pound Broccolini or young broccoli stalks*
1 Tbsp. preserved lemon rind and 1 Tbsp. preserved lemon juice
Cracked pepper
8 ounces farfalle, cooked al dente*
~1 cup pasta water
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano


  1. Start the water for the pasta. Add 2 tsp. salt to the water. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook al dente.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium low in a skillet large enough to eventually hold all of the ingredients including the pasta.
  3. Add the leeks and garlic. Sweat the leeks in the oil over low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the broccolini into bite size pieces (chopped chunky or sliced into smaller lengths).*
  5. To the leeks add the broccolini. Saute’ 3 minutes over medium heat.
  6. To the skillet add ¼ cup pasta water, the thyme and the dried mint. If using fresh mint, hold until the end.
  7. Cover the skillet and let simmer until the broccolini is tender, about 6-10 minutes.
  8. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the broccolini mixture along with the preserved lemon, fresh mint, and cracked pepper.
  9. If the pasta looks too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water.  Be careful not to make it to saucy.
  10. Gently and slowly add the cheese and spread evenly throughout the pasta.
  11. Serve in pasta bowls and top with more cheese, if desired, cracked pepper and mint.

*See Kitchen Notes



A quick, easy, healthy pasta dish with fresh broccoli, leek, herbs and preserved lemon |


Kitchen Notes

Broccolini – We prefer this pasta with the younger, more tender broccoli; therefore, we use broccolini if we can find it, or young, small broccoli stalks.  If you use regular broccoli, cut lengthwise into very thin stalks.

Type of Pasta – We usually make this with either farfalle (bowtie) or spaghetti.  Both work great.  The type of pasta determines how to cut the broccolini.

Cutting the Broccolini – For bowtie pasta, cut into pieces about an inch long.  If a stem is too thick, cut it in half lengthwise.  For spaghetti, cut the broccolini into longer lengths, about 3 inches long.  Again, if the stem is too thick, cut it in half.

This Broccolini, leek and lemon pasta makes a quick & easy meal that taste like you spent the afternoon over the stove. If you like this pasta, then you’ll also like these other pasta dishes.

An easy pasta dish with leftover ham, mushroom, greens and spices. @MJsKitchen


Fennel Spiced Ham and Mushroom Pasta




A vegetarian pasta with leek confit, mushrooms, and sweet red peppers


Pasta with Leek Confit and Mushrooms




Pasta, fresh tomatoes, basil, olives and cheese


Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil




Capelinni pasta with preserved lemons and an egg


Capellini with Lemon, Garlic and Egg



And if you need more ideas for preserved lemons, here is a nice collection of recipes: 30+ Recipes with Preserved Lemon.


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51 Responses to “Pasta with Broccolini, Leeks and Preserved Lemon”

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook June 1, 2016 at 12:36 am #

    The thought of preserved lemon gives me such a great appetite! It’s a really nice summer recipe, especially when we lack of appetite due to hot weather. I’d gobble up this dish any time though. It has everything I love. 🙂

  2. Sissi May 23, 2016 at 3:16 am #

    Beautiful light spring meal, dear MJ! And such beautiful fresh colours! And my favourite shape of pasta too! (Well, in most dishes I prefer farfalle). I recently made preserved lemon zest by accident, adding it to Japanese pickles as a seasoning. It was a delightful surprise.

    • mj May 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! How can you not like farfalle? It’s just fun to look at and to eat. 🙂 How did you make preserved lemon zest by accident? Sounds like a happy accident. 🙂

  3. Hafsa May 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    I love pasta and i like to try all pasta recipes! Thanks for sharing it 🙂

    • mj May 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks Hafsa!

  4. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina May 21, 2016 at 7:27 am #

    In my mind, I can imagine how delicious this pasta recipe is with all of the ingredients and their flavors! I can eat pasta prepared so simply like this any day, for any day including breakfast, MJ! Pinning and saving this one!

    • mj May 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks so much Roz! Oh I know what you mean. It’s hard not to eat pasta every day! 🙂

  5. Karen (Back Road Journal) May 20, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    Your pasta dish sounds good MJ, I’m going to have to make some more preserved lemons soon.

    • mj May 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

      One should never run out of preserved lemons. 🙂 thanks Karen!

  6. swathi May 19, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    I have tried broccolini, needs to do it, this pasta sounds yum as it has every flavor I wish for. Tweeting and pinning.

    • mj May 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks so much Swathi!

  7. Abbe@This is How I Cook May 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    Pasta is always a perfect meal and preserved lemons make everything so good. Another winner, MJ! And thanks for the tips about Reddit. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you. Life has been a bit hectic, shall we say?

    • mj May 18, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks so much Abbe! Hope things calm down for you soon. I certainly know how hectic life can get. 🙂

  8. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles May 17, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    I just love the combination of flavors in this delicious pasta MJ ~ and no need to convince me on the frequency of wanting to consume a beauty like this, it’s more stopping the inhalation that I have trouble with :o. I have to say too that bowtie pasta holds a very special place in my heart… it was the first pasta my mom served us as kids (at least that I can remember – t’was a very long time ago, hah!) anyway, I thought she had pretty much struck gold :)).

    • mj May 18, 2016 at 10:01 am #

      Thanks so much Kelly! Oh, I love your story of bowtie pasta! I don’t think they had it when I was a kid. 🙂

  9. Evelyne CulturEatz May 16, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    What a great quick pasta dish. Preserved lemons is certainly the way to go to get a great kick in flavor. Definitely will be trying this out soon, on the terrace with a glass of wine!

    • mj May 18, 2016 at 10:00 am #

      Sounds like a great plan Evelyne! 🙂 A nice pinot gris?

  10. Amy (Savory Moments) May 16, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    This pasta dish looks so light and tasty! I always enjoy preserved lemons.

    • mj May 18, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks Amy!

  11. Nads May 13, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    THIS IS VERY VERY GOOD!! I made it tonight as a side with pork loin cutlets. I didn’t have any leeks or scallions so I left the onion out altogether. Otherwise it was according to your recipe, yes, preserved lemons and all. I agree with Bob, the preserved lemons make it. No, I didn’t make the lemons; I purchased them from one of my favorite gourmet stores. Your photos make it look like a lovely simple little dish, but there is so much surprising depth of flavor. Unfortunately there were no leftovers for tomorrow, but, It will be repeated.

    • mj May 14, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

      YAY!!! So glad you liked it! Hey, purchased preserved lemons should work as well. 🙂 I’ve made this so many times, that when I don’t have the leeks, I’ll just use regular onion, sliced lengthwise., because I ALWAYS have onions. 🙂 Thanks Nads for your wonderful comments and again, so very glad that you all like this!

  12. Judy Purcell May 13, 2016 at 7:20 am #

    Broccoli and lemon have become a favorite combo for me, and mixed with a little parmesan is even better! I love the addition of fresh mint and thyme in your recipe too, the dimension of flavor would be fabulous. I’m ready to pull up a chair!

    • mj May 14, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks Judy! For me, the mint and thyme make it. 🙂

  13. Liz May 13, 2016 at 5:46 am #

    Oh, how I love preserved lemons! Perfect addition to this lovely pasta dish!

    • mj May 14, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks Liz!

  14. Kiran @ May 12, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

    Looks so comforting!! Love the use of preserved lemons here 🙂

    • mj May 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

      Thanks so much Kiran!

  15. Debra May 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    Looks so fresh and healthy. Checking out that quick preserved lemon technique.

    • mj May 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

      Thanks Debra! The quick technique works quite well for a small batch that you need soon. Hope you give it a try.

  16. Ramona W May 12, 2016 at 4:44 am #

    I love the idea of adding the preserved lemon into a pasta. I bet it was a lovely way of brightening everything up and making it so fresh and light. 🙂

    • mj May 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Ramona!

  17. Adina May 11, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

    I love pasta with broccoli, is a great combination. I never had preserved lemon though, I keep meaning to make it myself one day but never get to it… I really have to, I’ve seen so many good recipes using it.

    • mj May 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Adina! My husband says that it’s the preserved lemon that makes this dish, whereas I think it’s the mint.

  18. Anne@ASaladForAllSeasons May 11, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    What a perfect spring and summer recipe. The kid in me LOVES bowtie pasta. And I love broccolini….so tender. And the preserved lemons and juice just make this dish something special. (though the grated parm doesn’t hurt either!). LOVE this MJ!

    • mj May 12, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

      I’m with you Anne. We more bowtie pasta than anything else. I’ll go with your excuse that it’s the kid in me. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and hope you’re having a great week.

  19. Raymund May 11, 2016 at 11:35 am #

    I love preserved lemon rinds, since I learned how to make them I made a lot of excuse to use them on some dishes. Thanks for this recipe there is another one 🙂

    • mj May 12, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! I’m never without preserved lemons. There are so many uses.

  20. Bam's Kitchen May 11, 2016 at 5:45 am #

    Such pretty photos MJ. Simple and delicious meals are always the best.

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks so much Bobbi!

  21. Katerina May 11, 2016 at 3:31 am #

    I am in the same healthy pasta mood with you MJ. I love the veggies you put in this one! Pinned!

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks for your comments and pinning Katerina!

  22. Anna @ shenANNAgans May 10, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

    Preserved lemon #YARM
    I am in love with this recipe, simple but oh so delicious. Bet the combo of tastes is rad too. I have some mung bean spaghetti that I might give a whirl in this recipe. Thanks love. Cant wait to try!

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks so much Anna! Mung bean spaghetti? That’s a new one on me. Will have to find some and give it a try.

  23. susan / the wimpy vegetarian May 10, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    Oh I love that you used preserved lemon!! I make pasta with broccolini fairly regularly, but never thought to use this wonderful ingredient 🙂

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:25 am #

      The preserved lemon is a wonderful complement to broccolini. Sometimes I just leave off the pasta and made it a vegetable side. Thanks!

  24. John/Kitchen Riffs May 10, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    The mint in our garden is going crazy, so fresh mint for me! I love dishes like this. First, anything pasta is a real hit at our house. Second, always fun to load up pasta with plenty of flavorful veggies. And this dish has tons of flavor! Good job — thanks.

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:24 am #

      Perfect! I remember the first time I made this dish, it was late summer and an ABUNDANCE of fresh mint. Right at the last minute I wanted to add another herb, so I grabbed a handful of mint and threw it in. It made the dish for me.

  25. Deb|EastofEdenCooking May 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Anything with lemon always gets my undivided attention! Love how easy and flavorful this pasta recipe makes dinner!

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks Deb!Lemon just really picks up a dish doesn’t it?

  26. Angie@Angie's Recipes May 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    Quick, easy and so flavourful and delicious. I love the use of preserved lemon rind here, MJ.

    • mj May 11, 2016 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks Angie! Bobby says the preserved lemon makes this dish for him. 🙂

Please comment to Katerina