Oil-Free Broccoli Pesto

I have a bit of a problem on my hands.

You see, I’m suddenly addicted to this pesto.

I’ve prepared two batches this week alone, and have not only enjoyed it for dinner each night, but have also found myself dunking cucumber slices, carrot sticks, and, occasionally, even my finger, into the bowl every time I walk by my fridge.

Garlic must be seeping out of my pores by now.

Gently steamed broccoli adds texture and volume to this lighter version, without the use of nuts and oils commonly found in traditional pesto recipes. By omitting the nuts, you can enjoy some freshly shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (often made of sheep’s milk) generously sprinkled throughout, while still keeping your meal properly combined when served over spaghetti squash or spiralized veggie noodles.

The best part? This sauce only takes 15 minutes to make.

Oil-Free Broccoli Pesto
makes about 2 cups

Inspired by this recipe

Ingredients:

2 heaping cups broccoli florets (about 8 oz.)
1 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
2 cloves garlic, about 1 tsp. minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 oz. shredded sheep Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Steam broccoli for about 6 minutes, until it’s slightly tender but still bright green.

While the broccoli is steaming, toss the two garlic cloves (three, if you’re a garlic lover like me) into a food processor, and process until minced– the pieces should stick to the sides of the bowl.

To the minced garlic, add the fresh basil, lemon juice, salt, water, and freshly steamed broccoli. Process well, pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add in the shredded cheese, then process until desired texture is achieved.

This cheese is incredibly salty, which adds a huge punch of flavor to the pesto! (If you decide to omit it,Β be sure to add extra salt to your sauce.)

Adjust the seasonings to your taste, then serve as a bright dip with sliced veggies, or toss with your favorite pasta!

I must say, it’s amazing over baked spaghetti squash.

But, then again, I think it’s delicious in any form. Pass me a spoon!

Oil-Free Broccoli Pesto
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Gently steamed broccoli adds texture and volume to this tasty pesto, without the use of nuts and oils commonly found in traditional recipes.
Ingredients
  • 2 heaping cups broccoli florets (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ oz. shredded sheep Pecorino Romano (about ½ cup)
Instructions
  1. Steam broccoli for about 6 minutes, until it's slightly tender but still bright green.
  2. While the broccoli is steaming, toss the garlic cloves into a food processor, and process until minced-- the pieces should stick to the sides of the bowl.
  3. To the minced garlic, add the fresh basil, lemon juice, salt, water, and freshly steamed broccoli. Process well, pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in the shredded cheese, then process until desired texture is achieved.
  5. Adjust the seasonings to your taste, then serve as a bright dip with sliced veggies, or toss with your favorite pasta!
Notes
Pecorino Romano is a very salty cheese, which adds a huge punch of flavor to the pesto. If you decide to omit it, be sure to add extra salt to your sauce.

Hope you all enjoy this pesto as much as I do!

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organsβ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

39 thoughts on “Oil-Free Broccoli Pesto

  1. Danielle

    I don’t think an addiction to pesto is a bad thing! Haha. Especially when there’s some vegetables packed in πŸ™‚

    Reply
  2. Kibby

    I have all the ingredients on hand. Will be making this beauty when I get home from work. Looks divine! Thanks, Megan! Another winner!

    Reply
  3. jeanne

    Substituting broccoli for the pine nuts or walnuts, this is genius! And don’t get me started on pecorino romano, I love it!

    I was planning on making zucchini pasta to go with it, but it was so good I ate it plain πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. Abby

    I really enjoy making a pasta salad of pesto, farfalle, and granny smith apples. I can’t wait to try it with this recipe!

    Reply
  5. Paige

    I just made this with the broccoli I got from my Bountiful Basket last Saturday and basil from the potted basil at Trader Joe’s. OHHHHHHH!!!! This is sooo good! I’m just now becoming more conscious of my combining choices and I am so glad I have found you! Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I just got a ton of broccoli in my CSA box, so I know what I’m making again this weekend, too! πŸ˜‰ Glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  6. katie

    This recipe is amazing! I am lactose free though so I substituted some chickpeas for the cheese and it was incredible.
    Thanks for this!!!!

    Reply
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    1. Brianna

      I tried it with nutritional yeast and it was amazing! I also added an extra 1/4 tsp of salt to make up for the saltiness in the cheese. It turned out perfect!

      Reply
      1. Nikki Tonic

        Like 1/4 a cup of nutritional yeast, maybe? I’m going to try that.

        Megan – Can this be frozen like the (amazing!) zucchini pesto recipe, you think?

        Reply
  8. Tammy

    Never made this before…excited to try it! Do you think extra batches could be frozen? I have tons of broccoli to use soon.

    Reply
  9. Carrie

    I made Vegetarian Times’ broccoli pesto a while back and was really pleased with the results. The best thing I tried was stuffing it into a large, cored beefsteak tomato, topping it with cheese, and roasting it. It was also great with runny poached eggs. It’d be fantastic on a pizza, too.

    Reply
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  11. Kathy

    I just made this. It is so good! It’s eat-with-a-spoon-hope-there’s-enough-left-for-the-pasta-and-I-plan-to-lick-the-bowl-clean good! Thanks so much for the recipe.

    Reply
  12. Suzanne Ford

    Just wanted to say that I found your website last year around the beginning of summer and have not stopped cooking from it since. I absolutely LOVE every single recipe I’ve made and continuously spread the word to all my friends and family about detoxinista because it is just extremely perfect! This pesto surprised me as to how good it turned out and I’ve been eating it with just about everything for the past few days! So in conclusion thank you soooo much for all the great recipes!!

    Reply
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  15. Beth

    Do you know if this will save in the fridge longer than regular pesto? My pesto discolors and doesn’t take as fresh by the 2nd day. Thank you!

    Reply

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