Want to pack some more greens into your family dinner? Try adding raw broccoli to everyday basil pesto. It tastes great and it definitely multiplies pesto’s nutrition! Although I’m not a fan of “hiding” vegetables in foods in order to trick kids into eating them, this is a great recipe that gives you to option of incorporating more green veggies into your weeknight meal without your kids really noticing.
Give it a try and let me know how how your family likes it!
RECIPE, IDEAS, and TIPS below.
IDEAS Broccoli pesto is delicious:
-mixed into pasta or rice or zoodles (zucchini noodles)
-as topping for grilled fish or chicken
-as a pizza sauce in addition to, or instead of, tomato sauce
-as a dip or mixed into dips
-spread on a sandwich or roll-up
-as a topping for roasted veggies
-scrambled in eggs
-tossed with shrimp
-drizzled over avocado toast
Instead of pine nuts try walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds. If you have the time toast the nuts first which adds more flavor to the pesto.
To toast nuts: heat up a dry saucepan to medium, add the nuts, and toss around for about 5 minutes until nuts are lightly browned.
(Side note to the nut toasting: Don’t walk away from the nuts while toasting! I speak from experience. The nuts WILL burn QUICKLY. Many times my daughter has called me into the other room, I get distracted by that load of laundry that needs to be moved from the washer to the dryer…you get the idea…by the time I return to the kitchen…BURNT NUTS! If you have to walk away, set a timer. 🙂
I highly recommend using Parmigiano Reggiano parmesan cheese (it’s worth the extra cost since it adds such yummy rich flavor to the pesto).
I omit the cheese for a dairy-free option all the time and think it tastes great!
Experiment with gluten-free noodles. Our current family favorite is Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta. I have also tried the bean pastas from Trader Joes (lentil and garbanzo). Consider combining regular noodles with the gluten-free noodles or zoodles – they take about the same amount of time to cook.
1 cup raw broccoli, cut in pieces – florets only (thick stem removed)
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (toasting is optional, see note above)
1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on how strong you want the garlic taste)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (see note above about Parmigiano Reggiano) + more to taste
¼ tsp salt + more to taste
¼ cup olive oil + more to taste
Place broccoli in food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment and process until the broccoli resembles a rice texture.
Add basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and salt and blend until you have a smooth paste.
Add in parmesan cheese and blend until incorporated.
As processor is running, slowly add olive oil through the spout until pesto is desired consistency.