Broccoli Pesto

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Broccoli Pesto is a delicious alternative to traditional pesto. You’ll squeeze more broccoli into your life, and this recipe is extra-affordable because no pine nuts are required. Once you taste it, you’ll want to lick the bowl clean.

broccoli pesto in jar with spoon

Why You’ll Love It

  • It’s a delicious way to eat more veggies. This broccoli pesto adds nutrients and flavor to basic staples, like pasta, fried eggs, chicken, and more. I want to add a dollop to everything when I have a stash of this in the fridge.
  • It’s nut-free. If you are cooking for someone with nut allergies, or just prefer to avoid expensive pine nuts, this recipe is for you.
  • It’s flexible. This pesto tastes the most authentic when you use a little parmesan cheese, but I’ve also included a vegan variation in the recipe below, if you need a dairy-free option. It’s inspired by my Vegan Pesto, which is also delicious.
  • You’ll get more antioxidants. Broccoli contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help to promote eye health. It’s also a great source of vitamin C!
  • It may help to lower inflammation. Eating broccoli for 10 days has been shown to lower levels of inflammation in smokers, possibly because broccoli contains kaempferol, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

Once you taste it, I think you’ll fall in love with the flavor.

pesto pasta twirled on fork

How to Make It

  1. Steam. You’ll need to cook the broccoli, so it’s fork tender. I like to do this by adding an inch of water to a saucepan, adding in a steamer basket, and then bringing that to a boil. Add in the broccoli, cover, and steam until the broccoli is bright green and tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Blend. Once the broccoli is cooked, transfer it to a blender and add in the rest of the pesto ingredients. Blend until very smooth, about 60 seconds. You can also use a food processor, if you don’t mind a slightly chunkier texture.
  3. Enjoy! Adjust the flavor to taste, adding more lemon juice or salt to taste, and then serve it with your favorite cooked pasta, or as a condiment for any other main entree.

That’s it! Store this broccoli pesto in the fridge for up to a week, and add it to your meals for an extra boost of flavor. One spoonful goes a long way!

broccoli pesto in jar overhead

How to Serve It

Need some ideas for using up pesto? Try these!

  • Add it to eggs. I like to serve it as a topping on fried or scrambled eggs. It adds so much flavor!
  • Pasta. This is the obvious choice, and for good reason. It’s a delicious pasta sauce, especially with sauteed veggies added into the mix. Try my Pesto Pasta Salad for a chilled variation.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich. If you haven’t tried adding pesto to your grilled cheese, you’re missing out. It’s my favorite.
  • Add it to a wrap. This would be a delicious spread for a veggie wrap during the week.
  • Use it on Mediterranean Bowls. A dollop of pesto and a dollop of hummus are the perfect combination on a quinoa lunch bowl.
  • Serve it on pizza. This is a tasty alternative to red sauce, or try adding a few spoonfuls of pesto on top to boost the flavor of your next pizza night. My Almond Flour Pizza Crust or Cauliflower Pizza Crust are two favorites.

pesto pasta with tomatoes and fresh basil

broccoli pesto in jar with spoon
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5 from 3 votes

Broccoli Pesto

Broccoli pesto is a delicious pesto variation, made without nuts! Once you taste it, you'll want to eat it straight with a spoon, but it's also delicious on pasta, sandwiches, and more.
Course sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword broccoli pesto
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 127kcal



  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup fresh basil , tightly packed (23 grams)
  • 2 garlic cloves (5 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (28 grams)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (53 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (5 grams)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (35 grams; or 1 tablespoon white miso)
  • 2 tablespoons water (25 grams)


  • To prepare the broccoli, fill a small saucepan with 1-inch of water and arrange a steamer basket inside. Add the broccoli to the steamer basket, keeping it lifted up out of the water, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover, cooking until the broccoli is easily pierced with a fork, about 8 minutes.
    before and after cooking broccoli
  • While the broccoli is cooking, you can add the rest of the pesto ingredients to a blender to be efficient with your time. When the broccoli is done, add it to the blender and blend until smooth, about 60 seconds.
    broccoli pesto ingredients blended together
  • Taste and adjust any seasoning, as needed. Serve right away with your favorite pasta, or on a sandwich. Store the leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
    finished broccoli pesto in jar and served over pasta



Nutrition information is for roughly a 1/4 cup of pesto, assuming this recipe makes 1 1/4 cups of pesto for you. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.


Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 432mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 410IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1mg

If you try this Broccoli Pesto, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. I really appreciate your feedback!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

This is my agenda for after work:
1) Buy cheese and spaghetti squash
2) Gut the squash and cook it while making pesto
3) Sit and eat it in total bliss, because it’s alllmost the long weekend!! 🙂


This sounds divine!! What a great idea!! 🙂


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


never made pesto with broccoli–only kale, spinach and basil. looks delicious! love spaghetti squash, haven’t had it in forever


Yum! The perfect recipe. Will have to veganify.

Vicky (Sweet and Healthy Living)

This looks delicious! Using broccoli is such a great idea…

Nutrition by Nature

Yum! I am totally trying this tonight, have all the ingredients already! 🙂


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


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 🙂


    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been perfectly happy eating it plain, too. 🙂


Mmm this looks so good! I need to go out and buy more spaghetti squash, none left right now! Have a great Easter today!


I was looking for easy pesto recipe. Thanks for sharing!


i made this pesto the other day & i am mildly obsessed with it!
thanks for the recipe megan!


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


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!


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


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


    That’s great! Good to know that the chickpeas worked well, too. 😉


This looks delicious! Do you think I could omit the cheese and use nutritional yeast instead to make it vegan?


    Yes, I think that would work great! 🙂


    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!

      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?

        Megan Gilmore

        Yes, I think it would freeze well!


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


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.


Just made this recipe last night for dinner and it was sooo good! Thanks for the delicious recipe!


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.


    Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know!

Guess my Name

what’s with the sea salt. It’s not any better than regular salt. quack quack

Linda D

Just made this for a quick dinner, it is the best!!!!

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!!


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!


This pesto is so refreshing and delicious!

Raseel O'Toole

For this recipe, can one substitute nutritional yeast for the parmesan cheese?


Delicious! Had broccoli that needed to be used. Added parsley, had some in the garden as well as the basil and subbed nutritional yeast for the cheese/miso. Only had red miso. Still fantastic.

dawn roper

Hi what pasta do you use with the pesto


Delicious! I added it to pizza this evening and can’t wait to have it on pasta tomorrow. I will be making this often.


My mom and I made this together using 1/4 cup chickpea to make dairy free. We both taste tested it at the same time and immediately looked at each other like “omg this is amazingly delicious”. My new favorite pesto!! Love it Megan. Thanks so much for sharing.


I suffer from SIBO and I can’t use garlic, what would be a good substitute?

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