This quick and awesomely vegan Broccoli Pesto Pasta recipe is highly nutritious, healthy, and requires only 6 simple ingredients and 15 minutes to make!
I've been making this vegan broccoli pesto pasta on repeat in the last few months, and my whole family keeps asking for more! So, it was about time I'd share it with you all.
The flavour-packed, creamy broccoli pesto sauce embraces beautifully the paccheri (but you can choose any kind of pasta you like).
The lemon zest gives a delightful refreshing twist and the toasted pine nuts add a little always-welcome crunch.
For an Italian-style pesto, you can also add a few tablespoons of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.
If you like things spicy, a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes will totally complete this dish.
Best of all, it takes just 6 simple everyday ingredients to make this SUPER HEALTHY vegan broccoli pesto pasta.
As an added bonus, this vegan broccoli pesto freezes beautifully, so you can stock up the freezer for a quick lunch/dinner fix whenever you don't feel like cooking.
How To Make Vegan Broccoli Pesto
The BEST vegan broccoli pesto you will ever eat takes just 15 minutes to make *start to finish*, and requires only 6 simple ingredients:
*fresh or defrosted broccoli florets
*a handful of fresh basil leaves
*high-quality, fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Here are a few reasons to fall in love with this creamy broccoli pesto pasta. It's:
- ready in 20 minutes
- just 6 ingredients required
After quickly boiling the broccoli florets, place all the ingredients, besides the pasta, in a food processor and mix until combine.
And your pesto is all ready to go!
For a balanced Italian-style meal, serve it with pasta. I opt, whenever possible, for high-quality short/long Italian-made pasta ( I like paccheri pasta from Gragnano).
Make sure you don't throw the water where you have previously boiled the broccoli.
Instead, when it's time to cook the pasta, simply add it into the broccoli-water pot, so it gets infused with extra broccoli flavor (and can soak up extra vitamins & nutrients).
Don't forget to reserve ¼ cup of pasta cooking water, so you can add it to the broccoli pesto right before dressing the pasta, for a creamy, delicious result.
This broccoli pesto pasta is completely foolproof, so it's absolutely perfect for novice cooks.
And it tastes so good, that will even please the most determined broccoli-haters.
Why You Should Eat More Broccoli
Broccoli is one of those so-good-for-you ingredients packed with health benefits.
This incredible vegetable is the most concentrated source of vitamin C, as well as antioxidants.
It’s also high in fiber, which aids digestion, and maintains low blood sugar.
These are just a few of the healthy properties of this versatile veggie, so you should definitely try to incorporate more broccoli in your diet, and what better way than this vegan pasta sauce?
If you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal, look no further.
This broccoli pesto pasta is easy, quick, completely fuss-free and 100% family approved!
Can I Freeze Broccoli Pesto?
Yes, you can totally freeze broccoli pesto! Once your pesto is ready, divide into portions and store in freeze-safe containers, and place in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Check Out More Pesto Recipes To Try:
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook! Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Vegan Broccoli Pesto Pasta
- 350 g (about 1 head) broccoli florets
- 350 g short pasta (I use paccheri)
- handful fresh basil leaves
- 60 g toasted pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- toasted pine nuts
- handful of basil leaves
- lemon zest
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Cook the broccoli florets in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, for about 5 minutes, or just until tender.
- With the help of a slotted spoon, transfer the florets from the water into a bowl with cold water and ice, then drain and set aside.
- Fold the pasta into the pot used for cooking the broccoli and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes for paccheri.
- Add broccoli florets, basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest into a food processor and pulse until crumbly.
- Set the food processor on slow speed and gently pour in the extra-virgin olive oil. continue to mix until your broccoli pesto reaches a creamy texture.
- Add 60 ml (¼ cup) of pasta cooking water into the broccoli pesto and continue to mix until reaching a creamy texture. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta, return to the pot and stir in the broccoli pesto.
- Divide the broccoli pesto pasta among 4 plates, top with extra pine nuts, lemon zest, basil leaves and freshy cracked black pepper, and serve
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This recipe was originally published in September 2018 and updated with more info.
This was great!
Especially with some oregano, nutmeg and plenty of nooch 🙂
How much lemon juice should you use?
Hi Rosie, it's one teaspoon of lemon juice, but you can omit or add a little more to taste.
Blogtastic Food says
Very nicely done Andrea! Could definitely keep a jar of broccoli pesto in my fridge (:
I love the idea of broccoli pesto and I really love that it freezes so well! I'm making a bunch of freezer meals right now for after my babies are born and am looking for healthy foodie type freezer meals so this fits the bill perfectly. Plus, I may be in the minority but I just love broccoli. It's so delicious.
Charity Beth Long says
I have to make this recipe! Lemon and broccoli are one of my favorite combos but I've never thought of making them into a pesto. Genius!
Chef Markus says
Absolutely love using pesto in pasta! I made my one arugula pesto this year and I bet it would be just fantastic with the broccoli!
What a great idea adding some broccoli to the pesto! I could get my kids to eat some veggies with it!
This broccoli pesto is such a great way to kick up the pesto game! I love broccoli and pasta so I know I would love this.
Who knew you could make pesto out of broccoli? Genius! I also love that it's vegan. Great recipe!
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
I have been wanting to make something vegan every Monday and this looks perfect for me! I love how you made your own pesto!
Blogtastic Food says
Thank you Andrea for showing us what an incredible and versatile ingredient broccoli can be. I'd be asking for more if this was made for me too (:
Marisa Franca says
What a beautiful and nutritious dish!! We think of pesto as a magic sauce. It makes everything taste marvelous and by adding broccoli to it, well extra vitamins! Fantastic idea.
Dominique| Perchance to Cook says
That's a great idea to add broccoli to your pesto!! I like adding cruciferous veggies to my diet whenever I can. Sounds delicious!
What a great (and delicious!) way to sneak some extra veggies into dinner. Broccoli is one of our favorites; can't wait to try this pesto twist.
Aditi Bahl says
hey, i liked you idea of all ingredients in the mixer. A nice idea to make the kids eat those extra veggies.
I love this dish! The combination of broccoli, lemon, and pine nuts is so, so good!!
Caroline's Cooking (@carolinescookng) says
Sounds like a tasty way to sneak some extra veggies in! We're big fans of pesto and broccoli.
oh this is one I would love ... my two favorites with pasta and broccoli pesto wow this is genius ... I make it with cavatelli but never had the pesto! Perfect
Wow I've never had pacheri pasta, but it looks super cute and delicious. I love the use of broccoli in this pesto...it must taste lovely!
I can't have enough recipe inspirations for my vegan daughter. Your broccoli pesto sounds delicious and doable. Thank you for sharing, Andrea.
I love this use of broccoli, and my family will too! And I think paccheri is going to be my new favorite pasta shape. 🙂
Dawn @ Girl Heart Food says
Broccoli is something we regularly have in our fridge. I usually roast it, but this is a nice way to mix things up! And who doesn't love pasta 😉 ??
I love making home-made pesto of all sorts! My favourite is probably sundried tomato pesto. I have never tried adding broccoli to a regular basil pesto, thanks for the inspiration. My husband loves pasta ai broccoli but I always seem to fail at it. Definitely going to try this version, as I almost always win at pesto instead 😀
Danielle Martin says
Great minds think alike! We just shot the recipe for our broccoli pesto too. It's such a good way to get some extra veggies in kids diets too.
Kim Lee (@KimsCravings) says
This looks like such a fabulous meal! I've never tried broccoli pesto - yum!
What a great way to serve broccoli! Love everything about this and I'll be making this soon.
Marc @ NoRecipes says
Wow, what a stunning color combo, and I love the idea of using broccoli as a base for pesto, I did a plant-based broccoli "cheese" soup recipe last winter and something about the broccoli (along with some nutritional yeast) really gave it a cheesy taste.
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says
Such a delicious looking dish! I do love pesto pasta - it is such a great lunch or dinner option and yours looks amazing.
Sounds delicious! I plan to make it this week but I cannot see how much olive oil to use as its not listed in the ingredients. Perhaps I've missed it! Thanks
You're right, thank you for spotting the missing olive oil! Just updated the recipe 🙂