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Easy Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Hot pasta is tossed with a homemade broccoli pesto that combines fresh basil, garlic, walnuts, and parmesan cheese for a healthy spin on a classic. 

broccoli pesto

Have you ever made pesto before? How about a pesto that isn’t just basil, garlic, and pine nuts? If you want to try using up excess broccoli from your garden or refrigerator, this broccoli pesto pasta is just the ticket!

You’re probably used to the nutty combo of sweet basil and pine nuts, with garlic for the spice, but you can make pesto in a number of ways, in fact, I’ve made pesto from peas, with walnuts, cilantro, and a number of other different non-traditional ingredients.

When enveloped in fragrant basil, earthy walnuts, and fresh garlic, this broccoli pesto takes on a life of its own, and the best part is you can sneak a few more nutrients into your kids’ meals.

To keep the flavor similar to traditional pesto, I keep basil in this recipe because it’s too darn yummy to omit, and there’s a bit more garlic in it than you might find in a traditional pesto recipe because it tastes great paired with the broccoli, and we’re quickly cooking it, unlike most other pestos.

Broccoli pesto doesn’t age well, visually speaking anyway, so I’d suggest only making enough for this recipe, or freezing it.

broccoli pesto

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Hot pasta is tossed with a homemade broccoli pesto that combines fresh basil, garlic, walnuts, and fresh parmesan cheese for a healthy spin on a classic.

  • Author: Amanda MacArthur
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Category: Entrées


  • 1 lb pasta, like spaghetti or rotini
  • 1 head of broccoli, heads saved, stems discarded or saved for later
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan (the real stuff, not the green can)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil – can be adjusted to your desired consistency
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Pre-cooked, grilled chicken


  1. Boil 1 lb pasta using the instructions indicated on the package, strain, and set aside. Keep pot empty and ready for the last step.
  2. Add broccoli florets, basil, garlic, parmesan, and lemon juice to a food processor or a good blender, and pulse until totally chopped.
  3. Add oil slowly and pulse at intervals until it reaches your desired consistency, then add salt and pepper to your taste (easy on the salt, as the parmesan will add saltiness).
  4. When ready, add into the pot you cooked your pasta, turn heat up to medium until it begins to simmer, and let it cook for just a minute, then add pasta, pre-cooked grilled chicken if desired, toss, and enjoy!

Keywords: broccoli pesto

If you make this recipe for broccoli pesto, I’d love to hear how you liked it, and if you’d make it again. Also, share if you made any tweaks or adjustments, I love to learn how others interpret my recipes!


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