Broccoli Pesto Pasta is just what you need to add more green veggies to your diet! This flavor-packed vegetarian recipe can easily be made vegan, and also gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. Ready in less than 20 minutes, this is an easy and healthy dinner your whole family will love!
This Broccoli Pesto Pasta is one of my favorite food hacks. Why? Because it’s quick, super easy to make, loaded with amazing fresh flavor thanks to the basil and garlic, and packed full of nutrition from the broccoli!
What we have here is a time-saving, healthy vegetarian meal! To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than having an easy, nutritious, filling meal on the table in less than half an hour!
All About Pesto
Pesto, a.k.a. pesto alla Genovese is a popular Italian sauce originating in Genoa. To make pesto, traditionally you crush basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and parmesan cheese with a mortar and pestle, and then mix the crushed paste with olive oil to create the sauce.
Today, pesto has endless varieties: sun-dried tomato, walnut, vegan, even avocado! My new take on pesto is adding one of my favorite super green vegetables: broccoli.
What ingredients are in this Broccoli Pesto Pasta?
- Broccoli: The broccoli adds volume and extra nutrition to this vivid, green sauce.
- Herbs: Basil is the foundation of pesto – it’s where pesto gets most of its flavor, along with the garlic cloves and seasoning.
- Walnuts: The walnuts provide an added crunch and a boost in protein.
- Extra virgin olive oil: The olive oil makes the paste into a sauce and adds fat to make it more filling and tasty.
- Cheese: The cheddar cheese adds a zing to the pesto sauce, and extra parmesan on top completely elevated the flavor.
- Pasta: In this recipe, I used regular spaghetti, but feel free to substitute it with gluten-free pasta, or even veggie pasta for an even healthier dish!
How to make Broccoli Pesto:
- Blanch broccoli in hot water for 5 – 6 minutes. Set aside until it cools down completely.
- Combine all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and it pulse to form a coarse pesto.
FAQ’s Related to Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Can I make this vegan?
Yes! Just skip the cheese altogether, or add vegan cheese.
Can I make this recipe paleo?
Yes, much like the vegan option, just skip the cheese! You can add 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, but it tastes great either way.
How do I make this gluten-free?
To make this Broccoli Pesto Pasta gluten-free, just switch the pasta for a gluten-free alternative. We are lucky to have so many varieties today: regular gluten-free, lentil pasta, veggie pasta, and edamame pasta, to name a few!
How do I store this Pesto Pasta dish?
Fridge: After the food has completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing pasta, but the pesto sauce will freeze well! Store in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Broccoli Pesto Pasta
- Food Processor
Ingredients For Pesto:
- 2 Cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 Cup fresh basil leaves
- 6 garlic pods
- 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 Cup walnuts
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 Cup grated Cheddar Cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 400 gram dry spaghetti
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 Cup sun-dried tomato or cherry tomato
Ingredients For Serving:
- 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Blanch broccoli in hot water for 5 – 6 minutes. Set aside to cool down completely.
- Combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse to form a coarse pesto.
- Boil spaghetti al dente or as per your liking. Reserve 1/2 Cup boiled pasta water.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan. Add pasta, sun-dried tomato and toss for 10 – 20 seconds. Turn off the heat.
- Add broccoli pesto. Toss pasta gently in the pesto sauce. If the consistency seems too thick add reserved boiled pasta water and get the desired consistency.
- Serve broccoli pesto pasta warm topped with grated cheese and a toasted slice of bread.
- To make this pasta gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.
- For vegan pasta use 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, but it tastes great either way.
- I don’t recommend freezing pasta, but the pesto sauce will freeze well! Store in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.