© 2011 Green Kitchen Stories Broccoli Pesto

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.


  1. Posted 9 May ’11 at 21:50 | #

    Greens gives loads of love<3 Vackra bilder på härlig broccoli!

  2. Posted 9 May ’11 at 22:13 | #

    what a nice idea! delicious…

  3. Posted 9 May ’11 at 22:14 | #

    Mmmm, I love pesto and I have all the ingredients on hand! I would love to try this :)

  4. Monifah
    Posted 9 May ’11 at 22:40 | #

    No garlic??

  5. Posted 9 May ’11 at 23:24 | #

    that color! gorgeous! I am not the biggest fan of sage, but I will definitely be trying this with basil!

  6. Monifah
    Posted 9 May ’11 at 23:37 | #

    Oh, I can see the garlic now :o/..

  7. Posted 10 May ’11 at 01:32 | #

    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. :-)

  8. Posted 10 May ’11 at 02:29 | #

    Love broccoli but have never had it raw…this pesto sounds so good though that I am up for it! :)

  9. Posted 10 May ’11 at 07:03 | #

    what a lovely blog! And I love pesto so will def try this version! :)

  10. Posted 10 May ’11 at 07:53 | #

    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!

  11. Posted 10 May ’11 at 09:06 | #

    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.

  12. Posted 10 May ’11 at 11:12 | #

    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

  13. Posted 10 May ’11 at 18:31 | #

    I like so much your recipes and your photography, thank for write it!!!

  14. Posted 10 May ’11 at 19:02 | #

    How unique to add hazelnuts! I am going to make this with some zucchini pasta…yummy!

    • Posted 12 May ’11 at 00:05 | #

      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!

  15. Posted 10 May ’11 at 19:03 | #

    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!

  16. Posted 11 May ’11 at 03:28 | #

    Gorgeous! Can’t wait to try it!

  17. Posted 11 May ’11 at 09:27 | #

    Sounds lovely! Beautiful photos too!

  18. Posted 11 May ’11 at 15:39 | #

    Very interesting idea to make pesto from broccoli! I will have to try it, thanks for the idea!

  19. Posted 11 May ’11 at 23:42 | #

    “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”

  20. Posted 12 May ’11 at 21:21 | #

    va gott det var! jag måste ut o köpa broccoli o laga själv!
    puss o tack för mysig picnic idag <3

  21. Posted 13 May ’11 at 01:13 | #

    This looks delicious! I wonder if I could get my partner to eat broccoli this way! If it tricked your little one I just might have luck :)

  22. Posted 13 May ’11 at 11:10 | #

    Mmm, sounds great. I love pesto stirred into hot new potatoes, I wonder what this would be like?

  23. Posted 13 May ’11 at 13:00 | #

    I think I may be making this over the weekend. Looks wonderful!

    • Posted 14 May ’11 at 15:11 | #

      Update: I made it (and it’s only 9AM) and it’s delicious. :-)

  24. Casey
    Posted 15 May ’11 at 02:42 | #

    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!

  25. Posted 16 May ’11 at 05:06 | #

    Love this idea! It’s beautiful and I imagine it’s delicious, too.

  26. Posted 16 May ’11 at 06:07 | #

    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.

    • Posted 16 May ’11 at 20:09 | #

      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

  27. julie
    Posted 17 May ’11 at 21:14 | #

    shaba ding dong, this is excellent! thanks for posting!

  28. Posted 21 May ’11 at 01:41 | #

    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!

  29. Posted 21 May ’11 at 21:42 | #

    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!

  30. sbm13
    Posted 22 May ’11 at 20:46 | #

    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!

  31. Melanie Persaud
    Posted 23 May ’11 at 01:25 | #

    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….

  32. Posted 24 May ’11 at 03:43 | #

    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?

  33. Posted 27 May ’11 at 01:30 | #

    I love raw broccoli, but my 4 year old daughter isn’t convinced. Maybe your pesto will do the trick – look delicious!

    Mark Osborne – http://www.veganhealthandfitness.com

  34. Posted 30 May ’11 at 18:19 | #

    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:)

  35. Posted 4 Jun ’11 at 11:23 | #

    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.

    • Posted 5 Jun ’11 at 21:18 | #

      You are welcome VeganPower! Great idea to use it with zucchini spaghetti!

  36. Posted 16 Jun ’11 at 16:09 | #

    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!

  37. Sarah
    Posted 29 Jun ’11 at 21:11 | #

    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!

  38. Shelby
    Posted 1 Jul ’11 at 22:38 | #

    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.

  39. Posted 8 Jul ’11 at 13:50 | #

    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 :)

  40. Posted 7 Oct ’11 at 04:35 | #

    I’ll be making this tomorrow!

  41. Sue Ivory
    Posted 25 Oct ’11 at 10:09 | #

    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.

  42. Posted 4 Nov ’11 at 03:20 | #

    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…


  43. Posted 13 Nov ’11 at 23:14 | #

    just made this and tossed it with arugula, grapes, avocado & tomatoes….wow wow wow! amazing. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  44. shannan
    Posted 23 Jan ’12 at 18:50 | #

    does this freeze well?

    • Posted 24 Jan ’12 at 23:16 | #

      Hi Shannan, we haven’t tried freezing it ourselves but I know that my mom has. And she says it works fine.

  45. Ailie
    Posted 23 Feb ’12 at 12:11 | #

    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

  46. Posted 11 Mar ’12 at 18:41 | #

    This looks and sounds really fab – got to give it a try. Lovely blog, BTW

  47. Kate Wood
    Posted 3 Apr ’12 at 20:15 | #

    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!

  48. Haley
    Posted 12 Feb ’13 at 07:17 | #

    SO good. Wow. How long should it stay? As long as the broccoli?

  49. Sille
    Posted 15 Feb ’13 at 11:46 | #

    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!!! :)

  50. Posted 28 Feb ’13 at 02:15 | #

    This is freaking amazing!

  51. sarah
    Posted 27 Apr ’13 at 00:33 | #

    going to make this tomorrow!!!! is the recipe for the broccoli salad on here yet, it sounds good as well.

    • Posted 27 Apr ’13 at 10:04 | #

      Hi Sarah, the recipe for the broccoli salad with pomegranate seeds is in our new book.

  52. Posted 27 May ’13 at 15:44 | #

    This looks delicious! What a great idea.

  53. Corinne
    Posted 13 Aug ’13 at 03:31 | #

    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.

  54. Mina
    Posted 10 Sep ’13 at 14:00 | #

    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.

  55. TianaLee
    Posted 17 Sep ’13 at 06:56 | #

    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?

    • Posted 17 Sep ’13 at 14:26 | #

      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.

      • TianaLee
        Posted 18 Sep ’13 at 02:23 | #

        Thanks so much for the reply. Intending to try this out on my 2 year old tonight.

  56. Jo
    Posted 26 Sep ’13 at 02:02 | #

    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!

  57. Anna
    Posted 26 Sep ’13 at 03:58 | #

    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

  58. Ive Anderson
    Posted 26 Mar ’14 at 17:15 | #


  59. mary french
    Posted 30 Apr ’14 at 15:23 | #

    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!

  60. Mina
    Posted 5 May ’14 at 15:49 | #

    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

  61. Sarah
    Posted 12 Jun ’14 at 02:38 | #

    My kids love pesto tossed through pasta. I would never have thought to try it with broccoli, but I just whipped up my first batch and it is delicious…thank you! :-)

  62. Sarah
    Posted 12 Jun ’14 at 02:40 | #

    P.s. I made it with cashews instead of hazelnuts (because that’s what I had) and added some parmesan…yum!

  63. Skitzoid Lady
    Posted 9 Jul ’14 at 15:05 | #

    This was pretty gosh darned good! My husband, 1/2 Italian, gave it a try before realizing what was in it. He loved it, and he’s pretty picky about his pesto. I substituted the hazelnuts with pistachios because that’s what I had on hand. YUM! I also steamed the broccoli for about two minutes, just to soften it a little, then let it cool before adding it to the food processor. For that reason, I left out the water. I definitely added the Parmesan cheese. Pesto isn’t pesto without it. I served it over gluten free spaghetti noodles, and I could…not…stop EATING IT. Thanks for sharing!

  64. Adrienne mcg
    Posted 15 Jul ’14 at 23:39 | #

    SO delicious!! I would never have thought of broccoli but it works so well. Flavour and texture are incredible.

  65. Posted 7 Aug ’14 at 04:04 | #

    This looks incredible. What a great idea. I have added it to my Top 30 Best Low Carb Snacks. It so deserves to be there. Libby x http://www.ditchthecarbs.com/2014/08/07/best-low-carb-snacks/

  66. Posted 31 Aug ’14 at 13:11 | #

    This looks so good! :)
    Do you use roasted hazelnuts for this or keep them raw?
    I love your blog, it’s so inspiring!
    Best wishes.

  67. s
    Posted 20 Sep ’14 at 17:24 | #

    Hi I made this but it tasted rather bitter what can I do to improve the flavour?

    • Posted 20 Sep ’14 at 21:21 | #

      Sometimes, bad hazelnuts give a bitter taste. Sample a few before using them to make sure they are good. If you are finding the broccoli flavor to be too empowering, you can add some extra lemon, oil and nuts to even it out. Good luck!

  68. Amanda Li
    Posted 13 Oct ’14 at 20:10 | #

    Hi, is it okay if I use my Vitamix to make this recipe? If so, what order should I put in the ingredients? Thanks so much! :)

  69. Savannah
    Posted 28 Oct ’14 at 02:12 | #

    Just made this!! Yum! Didn’t have hazelnuts so I used walnuts… I also used 1/4 walnut oil with 1/4 olive oil because the walnut oil was just sitting there calling my name.

    Only problem was the frozen broccoli (defrosted and wrung out) I can’t imagine how much better it would be with fresh broccoli.. Should have made the 5 min trip to grocery!

  70. Madison
    Posted 12 Dec ’14 at 02:37 | #

    Made the pesto to serve with spinach brown rice spaghetti tonight and it was delicious!
    Personally, I would have used a little less lemon juice but other than that, an amazing recipe!

  71. Kylie Sherriff
    Posted 28 May ’15 at 22:55 | #

    I know you posted this is years ago, but I just found it today when I was looking for something new to do with broccoli. I live in Chile, and my boyfriend grows both broccoli and garlic, so at the moment, we have both in abundance. It’s also just after will not harvest season, so I made it with fresh walnuts. It’s delicious! Thanks for the guidance with your recipe.

  72. Danni
    Posted 24 Aug ’15 at 07:02 | #

    WOW! I’ve made quite a few broccoli pestos before but this is the best. I made a few changes due to what I had on hand: I used mixed nuts instead of just hazelnuts, apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice, and I added white pepper just because I love it. I was eating it by the spoonful before I could even finish boiling water for my noodles. I’m excited to make more tomorrow, maybe I’ll try fresh sage instead of basil for that batch. Never will I make pesto with cooked broccoli again, raw all the way. Thank you for this extremely easy to make but absolutely delicious (and healthy!) recipe :)

  73. Posted 15 Jan ’16 at 01:29 | #

    Wow, this is a fantastic idea! I’ve done pesto with basil, cashews, almonds, coriander – but never thought of broccoli! Beautifully photographed too.

  74. Posted 24 May ’17 at 15:10 | #

    Wow this looks great – perfect way to sneak some greens into my toddler! Thanks!

  75. Yang - Sun
    Posted 26 Aug ’17 at 15:26 | #

    I just made brown noodle with your brocoli pesto
    It’s delicious, thank you !!!!

  76. Posted 19 Sep ’17 at 22:21 | #

    Mmmm, I love pesto and I have all the ingredients on hand! I would love to try this :)

  77. Vera from Lisbon (Po
    Posted 12 Nov ’17 at 23:22 | #

    Tried and (soooo) approved! It’s never too late to experiment yummy recipes!;)

  78. Posted 18 Dec ’17 at 22:34 | #

    Such a great idea. I am not event vegan or vegetarian but this is a must try recipe for me. Going to make it soon!!

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