9 Dec 2012

Broccoli pesto

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of roast vegie salad. At first it came about because I had some cauliflower, pumpkin and sweet potato that were fast approaching their expiry date, and roasting them was an ideal solution. I tossed the veg with some new oakleaf lettuce from my garden, some puy lentils or chickpeas, some toasted walnuts or pepitas, and a simple dressing (see my original winter version here).

Then I realised it was an easy, brainless way of getting food on the table or into my lunchbox – I could bung some veg in the oven while I hung out the laundry or put away last night’s dishes. It was also a godsend to assemble a quick cold version during last week’s heatwaves, too.

But I began to crave more greens than just those soft lettuce leaves, as lush and vibrant as they were. So I bought three beautiful heads of broccoli, their tight dark florets as gorgeous as any bunch of flowers.

So here’s what I made, a sort of thick pasta sauce, a sort of pesto (have you noticed lately that almost any green vegetable – broccoli, kale – can be made into something labeled ‘pesto’?). I compared a few recipes but then just went with my intuition, tasting as I went until I got something fresh and, yes, green.
It didn’t get as far as dressing any pasta – I was so hungry I just spooned over some tinned cannelloni beans.
I was almost loathe to share this with you, as it was a kind of make it up as I went along thingy; and if I’m hyper-critical, it does rather look like baby puree. But what the heck? Maybe you’re craving something green, too.
Broccoli pesto
Really, make this to your taste – as much or as little of the flavours – or entirely different ones – as you like. But it’s the flavours that really elevate this from mushy broccoli, so be bold. This makes enough for about two serves.
  • Cut up the florets if two broccoli heads and finely dice the stems, too. Steam along with a generous cup of frozen peas.
  • Once tender, whiz up in your food processer along with the leafy bits of a few parsley stalks.
  • Now add a dribble of light olive oil, garlic-infused oil and kaffir-lime leaf infused oil (I made this last one myself), lemon zest and juice, a little salt and finally, a handful of fresh basil leaves (my first harvest). Blitz and taste and add more of what you like, including oil for a looser consistency (mine was fairly thick, but I put this down to impatience – I wanted to eat!).
  • Enjoy with pasta, or beans, or perhaps as a dip with toasty bruschetta-type bread.


  1. I am back in blogland and catching up on your posts! I am not a fan of broccoli but i do love all variations of pesto, so this might be a good way to ease myself into eating broccoli.
    Your garden is looking lovely!

    1. Thank you, sweetie, nice to hear from you again (especially with such lovely words)!

      The trick is to really go strong with your favourite flavours - lemon, garlic, or basil - and it realy does evoke the usual basil pesto. i also think this would be good spread thickly on toast and topped with tomato slices. i probably eat broccoli every week - it's one of my favourite vegetables!

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