Broccoli Pesto

If I say pesto you say … broccoli?! No, I didn’t think so. Like most people we are normally pretty conservative when we make pesto. For us, it might have something to do with the fact that it is one of Luise’s favorite things to eat. Why change a winning concept? A few days ago we felt like having yet another pesto dinner, but since none of us had the energy to go to the store, we ended up using what we had in the house; a big broccoli, some roasted chickpeas instead of nuts, fresh sage, garlic, lemon, oil, salt & pepper. Luise looked suspiciously at the broccoli-mixture, before giving it a try. We finished the whole bowl in one night. We have made this recipe two times more since then, experimenting with the ingredients. We have tried both basil and sage, they both taste good in their own way, choose whatever is easiest to find. Roasted chickpeas are fun to try in a pesto, but quite honestly, the hazelnuts give a better punch to the taste.

Raw broccoli might sound repulsive to some of you, but it is in fact very good in salads. We often make a super tasty raw broccoli salad with mayo, onion, raisins, sunfl … wait a minute, let’s save this recipe for another post ;-) Here is how you do the pesto.

Broccoli Pesto
2 cups of pesto

We left out cheese to keep it vegan. If you are not a vegan, a few slices of pecorino works great here.

1 large broccoli (around 2 cups)
A couple of stems fresh basil or sage
1/2 lemon, juice
1/2 cup hazelnuts (roasted chickpeas if you’re allergic)
2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp water
salt & pepper

Throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse for about a minute. Taste it. Add more olive oil or water if it feels too dry, and salt & pepper according to taste.
Serve with pasta, in a salad, on a sandwich or in a wrap.

Luckily Elsa loves vegetables (she always makes her ahmmmm sound whenever we pass the vegetable department), but if you are having problems getting your child to eat greens, pesto is a good trick.


  • sbm13
    Thanks for sharing this. My daughter is deathly allergic to pine and other tree nuts. I love the idea of broccoli in a pesto. I'll give this one a try!
  • As a nut allergy sufferer, pesto is something I can't have but crave! I'm so excited to try this one out with the chickpeas instead of hazlenuts - thanks so much!
  • hello from portland oregon! just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog. i made a big batch of the broccoli pesto, and its wonderful! (i love to make pestos with different herbs, but broccoli was a first for me.) today I made a lovely sandwich: slather good sourdough with broccoli pesto on one side, and lebneh on the other, add a handful of baby arugula. yum!
  • julie
    shaba ding dong, this is excellent! thanks for posting!
  • So funny! I have nearly an identical recipe on my blog from a couple years ago, with roasted chickpeas, broccoli, garlic, basil... great minds think alike! ;) Your photos are MUCH more beautiful though. Thanks for another great post, I need to make broccoli pesto again soon.
    • Hi Kim, that is funny. When we added the roasted chickpeas we really thought we made something unique, ha! Anyway, we are on our way now to check your recipe out. /David & Luise
  • Love this idea! It's beautiful and I imagine it's delicious, too.
  • Casey
    I tried it last night and actually added Parmesan cheese to the blend as well. It tasted fantastic served with fresh pasta. Yum guys! I never thought raw broccoli could taste so divine!
  • I think I may be making this over the weekend. Looks wonderful!
  • Mmm, sounds great. I love pesto stirred into hot new potatoes, I wonder what this would be like?
  • va gott det var! jag måste ut o köpa broccoli o laga själv! puss o tack för mysig picnic idag <3
  • "roasted chickpeas if your allergic" I can't help but call out the correction, only because I was captivated by the design of the website, and then I saw that mistake and began to feel uneasy. your is the possessive form of you, like "Your ball" you're is a contraction meaning "you are", like "if you're allergic"
  • Very interesting idea to make pesto from broccoli! I will have to try it, thanks for the idea!
  • Sounds lovely! Beautiful photos too!
  • I love brokkoli, but I never thought of adding it to a pesto! But I sometimes use radish leaves for pesto and like it very much, and so I pretty sure that I will love the brokkoli pesto, too!
  • How unique to add hazelnuts! I am going to make this with some zucchini pasta...yummy!
    • Hi Coco, we also made some zucchini pasta just a few days ago. It sure is a superb, lighter alternative to regular pasta. Plus Elsa loves it! /Luise
  • I like so much your recipes and your photography, thank for write it!!!
  • I love this pesto recipe!!! I made it with arugula or spinach, but I've never tried broccoli pesto...I could eat broccoli every day so I think I'll enjoy this very much...thanks for sharing
  • Raw broccoli is actually fantastic - I'd rather eat it over boiled/steamed broccoli any day. Raw cauliflower is really tasty too - they both make nice changes to the usual "carrot sticks and celery" when serving up crudités.
  • Oh, definitely testing this one when we start to get local broccoli. I'm a pesto fan but have never tried it with broccoli. Sounds really nice!
  • what a lovely blog! And I love pesto so will def try this version! :)
  • Love broccoli but have never had it raw...this pesto sounds so good though that I am up for it! :)
  • Pesto is a favourite but never cheap to buy in NZ. So thanks so much for posting this idea! I have TWO heads of broccoli in the fridge and a cupboard full of various nuts. Me thinks broccoli pesto and dinner is definitely on the menu this week. :-)
  • Monifah
    Oh, I can see the garlic now :o/..
  • that color! gorgeous! I am not the biggest fan of sage, but I will definitely be trying this with basil!
  • Monifah
    No garlic??
  • Mmmm, I love pesto and I have all the ingredients on hand! I would love to try this :)

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