I typically associate pesto with warm weather given the fact that the main ingredient in the traditional version – basil – is in season during the summer, but a simple swap with broccoli turns the classic pasta accompaniment into a winter-friendly recipe.
I also swapped the traditional pine nuts for walnuts because a) they’re healthier and b) they’re less expensive; but the rest of the usual ingredients can be found in this pesto.
If you have broccoli-haters in your house, fear not; the final product does not taste much like broccoli at all, but it is a great way to sneak some of the cruciferous green veggie into a pick eater’s pasta dinner.
I prefer pesto on the thicker side so it’s not overly oily, but you can certainly add more olive oil to the recipe if you like a thinner consistency. Thicker pesto is also better for dipping crudite into or spreading onto bread for sandwiches, which I highly recommend!
Of course, the most popular way to eat pesto is to stir it into pasta, which is how we enjoyed it.
Green in winter!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Ingredients (1 small jar)
- 1 head broccoli, preferably organic, crowns chopped into 1-inch florets (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 garlic clove, peeled & chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more depending on desired consistency
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Carefully add the broccoli florets and cook until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes.
Drain cooked broccoli and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels; place in the bowl of a food process along with the toasted walnuts, garlic, and parmesan. Process until finely chopped.
With the motor running, stream in the olive oil and lemon juice through the feed tube; process until fully combined. If you prefer a thinner, more runny consistency, stream in additional olive oil (one tablespoon at a time), until desired consistency is reached.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Best if eaten immediately.