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.

93 Comments

  • Mina
    Lovely recipe! We just had it for lunch and it was super delicious! Followed by the dates truffles ... Yummy yummy ;-) .. Thanks for sharing such great recipes
  • mary french
    This was delicious, even my carnivore/anti-vegetarian brother loved it for dinner tonight. it took less than five minutes to make, so brilliant. I put in pumpkin seeds instead of nuts and grilled cherry tomatoes to serve on top - so good! raw broccoli does has a slightly bitter - or is its more a sort of acidic? - aftertaste though so if youre not a fan of that, just steam/boil the broccoli for a few minutes to mellow out the flavour. Thanks! and what a lovely blog!
  • Ive Anderson
    YUMMY!!!!
  • Anna
    I made this tonight and I'm so impressed with the result. I made it with almonds. This is definitely gonna become a staple in my house! Thanks so much
  • Jo
    I was so pleased to discover other lovers of raw broccoli! Most people think we are crazy that we eat our broccoli more often raw than cooked; in salads, with dips, even just on it's own as a snack and as of last night, as pesto! I made your broccoli pesto to have with spaghetti after one of those hectic days, home late with the children after a busy day at work, school and swimming lessons and wondering what I had time to cook for our evening meal without delaying the children's bedtime. It was so satisfying to serve up a meal that was delicious and nutritious without having to spend too long at all in the kitchen or reach for a packet or a jar! I love reading your blog & now that I have it, your book. Beautiful, interesting and inspiring. Next up, cauliflower pizza bases!
  • TianaLee
    Was just introduced to your book and blog by a friend recently. I am making a healthy change to my diet and have been inspired by your recipes. Just a question regarding the hazelnuts, should you remove the skins first?
    • Hi TianaLee, you don't need to scrub off the skin if you don't want to. It might come out slightly darker in tone with the skin on, but with almost no difference in flavor. /David
      • TianaLee
        Thanks so much for the reply. Intending to try this out on my 2 year old tonight.
  • Mina
    Just found this blog and am so excited about all the great recipes! I made the broccoli pesto this weekend and it was a hit! I roasted the broccoli first (and used the peeled stalks as well), and added halved cherry tomatoes to the dish.
  • Corinne
    Greetings from Toronto, Canada! Your broccoli pesto recipe is the bomb. My husband and son loved it. I made it with pine nuts but next time I will use hazelnuts. Thank you for sharing your recipe and beautiful photography. You are very talented.
  • This looks delicious! What a great idea.
  • sarah
    going to make this tomorrow!!!! is the recipe for the broccoli salad on here yet, it sounds good as well.
    • Hi Sarah, the recipe for the broccoli salad with pomegranate seeds is in our new book. /David
  • This is freaking amazing!
  • Sille
    This sounds amazing! Im gonna have to make it some time this week. I just have a few questions. If using chickpeas, do you soak them overnight and then just rost them on a pan? And if making two jars, how long does it take before it goes bad? Love the blog!!! :)
  • Haley
    SO good. Wow. How long should it stay? As long as the broccoli?
  • Kate Wood
    This is delicious, but what I like best about it is that it is SO quick to make. I can whip it up in 10 minutes - the time it takes my pasta to cook. I mixed it into the warm pasta, and it made a great, healthy, quick after-work meal. This is exactly the kind of recipe I've been looking for -- recipes that make healthy eating with a hectic lifestyle possible. Thank you!
  • This looks and sounds really fab - got to give it a try. Lovely blog, BTW
  • Ailie
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it today for the second time, this time using a little less garlic and steaming the broccoli for just a minute to give the mixture a bit more moisture and to soften it very slightly. I also used mixed nuts this time around, which seems to take the recipe to a whole new level! I used pecans, walnuts and pine nuts and the flavour is absolutely incredible. Ah, how I love to tinker with recipes! :) Thanks again - your blog is wonderful. x
  • shannan
    does this freeze well?
    • Hi Shannan, we haven't tried freezing it ourselves but I know that my mom has. And she says it works fine. /David
  • just made this and tossed it with arugula, grapes, avocado & tomatoes....wow wow wow! amazing. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!
  • Ok, silly question: if the chickpeas aren't roasted, do you just a pasty mess? I'd love this with hazelnuts, but want to give it to my 18 month old daughter. I can roast the chickpeas, I s'pose, but was wondering if it'd still work if I didn't... Thx!
  • Sue Ivory
    As I am intolerant to diary, sesame seeds, and chickpeas finding this brocoli/hazelnut pesto recipe certainly has its possibilities :-) as long as I leave out the black pepper as that's on my list to avoid now also.
  • Hi :) I just made this pesto, only roasted my broccoli + used walnuts, and it was SO GOOD! Im going to make this over and over again- thats for sure! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes :)
  • Shelby
    I just made this about 5 min ago, on bread with tomato. It was AMAZING. Even my husband, who is often afraid to try things I make, ate a ton! Love this, thank you for sharing.
  • Sarah
    I have made this three times in the last month. I can't get enough! It's so simple, but tastes so amazing. You two always come up with the best ideas!
  • Okay. What can I say? Broccoli pesto. There's pesto, right? Aaand there's broccoli, too! What's not to love?! :D This blog goes straight into my very-picky-and-phenomenal-blogroll. Thanks for the inspiration!
  • We eat the raw cauliflower with sauce, then why not broccoli? This recipe made ​​me eager to try when I saw it on your site. I bought all the ingredients and I just finished making the recipe. It smells good and is very good in taste. I will use spaghetti with zucchini, it will be delicious. Thank you for this recipe.
  • Nuuuumeee! I've fiddled with blanched broccoli pesto but I'll have to take the leap and do it raw next time! Love that it is veganized! Elsa is so friggin' cute! Wish my 5 yr old daughter was wee again! Hope you are all well:)
  • I love raw broccoli, but my 4 year old daughter isn't convinced. Maybe your pesto will do the trick - look delicious! Mark Osborne - www.veganhealthandfitness.com
  • What a lovely site you have! I eat mostly vegetarian (I do eat fish) and am always looking for inspiration! Your photos are beautiful! I just recently bought a huge bag of broccoli at Costco...trying to get through it! Do you think this will freeze well?
  • Melanie Persaud
    No roasted chick peas so I used roasted green peas! I also added parmesan. Yummy! Great photography on your blog. I've subscribed. Thanks so very much. Things were getting a bit stale around here....

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