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, 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!

5 from 1 vote
Print
Oil-Free Broccoli Pesto
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Gently steamed broccoli adds texture and volume to this tasty pesto, without the use of nuts and oils commonly found in traditional recipes.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6
Calories: 39 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
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)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 oz . shredded sheep Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 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!
Recipe 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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Comments

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!!!!

    Megan

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

Cel

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

    Megan

    Yes, I think that would work great! 🙂

    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!

      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!

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.

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.

Gina

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

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.

    Megan

    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!!

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!

Marie

This pesto is so refreshing and delicious!

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