One of the best ways to get yourself to eat more veggies is sneaking them into your meals, and there are endless ways to do it. You can mix cauliflower into your smoothies, use shredded zucchini in casseroles, and—my new personal favorite—make a broccoli pesto recipe for all your pasta dishes.
While typical basil and pine nut pesto is always a win, using broccoli to create the creamy sauce can take your dinner to an entirely new level. Lately, the cruciferous veggie has been everywhere, pushing cauliflower to the wayside as its becoming the star ingredient in pizza crusts, hummus, frothy broccolattes (I’m not joking… it’s a thing!), meatless popcorn chicken, and more. And that’s great news, because it’s super good for you. A helping of broccoli contains 3.9 grams of fiber per stalk, not to mention folate, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, and antioxidants.
If you’re not a fan of eating broccoli floret by floret, that’s where this pesto comes in. You can reap the benefits of the old-school veggie by simply blending it up with wholesome ingredients like garlic, basil, and olive oil. That’s exactly what Jeanine Donofrio, the food blogger behind Love & Lemons, did for a topping that pairs perfectly with al dente spaghetti.
“I like to make my pesto with just about anything, so when I had a half stalk of leftover broccoli one day, I pesto’d it,” she says. “Broccoli pesto is chunkier and heartier than regular basil pesto, and it’s absolutely delicious in this simple weeknight pasta.”
If you want to try her broccoli pesto for yourself, you’re in luck: She shared the whole recipe with us below. One bite in and you’ll see the green veggie in an entirely new light, guaranteed.
Broccoli pesto recipe
For the pesto:
1 cup diced broccoli
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup basil or parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons parmesan, more for serving
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the pasta:
8 oz. spaghetti, cooked al dente
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pinot grigio
red pepper flakes
1. Blanch the broccoli for 30 seconds. Drain, pat dry, and pulse in a food processor with the remaining pesto ingredients, until coarsely combined (not pureed), so that you can still see flecks of broccoli.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, 30 seconds, then add the wine and stir. Turn the heat to low and let the wine reduce for 1 minute.
3. Add the pasta and pesto to the skillet and toss to coat. Turn off the heat and stir 2 tablespoons more cheese, pinches of red pepper flakes, and pine nuts. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
Ready for dessert? Next, make a big batch of these black bean brownies:
Try the nutty sauce recipe a doctor uses to make her plant-based recipes taste 10 times better. Then go for the no-sugar-added marinara sauce that makes every pasta night healthy and delicious.
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