clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
broccoli pesto on spaghetti in blue bowl with pink fork

Easy Broccoli Pesto

  • Author: Amy Palanjian
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Italian


This recipe was updated to improve the taste and method in April 2019.


  • 2 cups raw broccoli florets
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, lightly packed
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds, toasted almonds, or walnuts


  1. Add the veggies to the food processor and grind.
  2. Use a microplane to add the zest of a lemon. Cut in half and squeeze in the juice.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor.
  4. Blend well, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times until the mixture is a thick paste, or for 60-90 seconds. It should be uniform and without large chunks of any one ingredient. If you still see whole seeds, keep going.
  5. Season to taste with salt if needed. (I usually don’t add additional salt but see what you think.)
  6. To serve with pasta, toss with 1 pound of pasta prepared according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid and add it to the pasta when tossing with the pesto if it seems a little dry. (Mine usually isn’t, but just in case!) You will need to use at least 1 cup of the pesto but can go up to 1 1/2 cup depending on how much sauce you prefer.
  7. To serve as pizza sauce, spread about 1/2 cup over raw pizza dough and prepare as you would any other pizza.


Store the pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days before using. Or freeze in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before using.


Dry your broccoli completely.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times to make sure that the ingredients that get stuck on the sides of the bowl have a chance to be well blended.

Run the food processor for 60-90 seconds, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides, or until the seeds are pretty well blended. You don’t want there to be any large pieces of the seeds and this can take a little time. (It’s easy though!)

Toss well into noodles. If it seems a little dry, add a bit of reserved pasta water. (If you toss it well to coat the pasta, this shouldn’t be a problem, but just in case!)

Use on pasta, as a pizza sauce, as a spread on sandwiches or grilled cheese, add a spoonful to soup like minestrone for additional flavor, or stir into scrambled eggs.

Keywords: broccoli pesto, healthy pesto, broccoli pesto recipe

Toddler Won't Eat?

Here's Help!

My favorite tips for getting your littles to enjoy their food!

free email bonus

toddler drinking green smoothie square
Send this to a friend