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Broccoli Pesto

bowtie pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes in a bowl

If you can’t pass off broccoli as tasty ‘trees’ or douse it in enough cheese sauce to make your kids like it, try roasting then blitzing it into an irresistible pesto. Roasting rids it of any cabbagey bitterness, making it sweeter and nuttier.  This sauce goes well on everything from pasta to chicken, hot or cold.

Food broccoli pesto - broccoli pesto


1 small head broccoli, separated into florets and the trunk chopped into chunks
1/4 cup (65 mL) olive or canola oil, plus more for roasting the broccoli
1/4 cup (65 mL) fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup (65 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pinch salt


Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread out the broccoli and drizzle with oil. Toss with your hands to coat the broccoli with oil.

Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring them around once, until the broccoli is golden on the edges. Set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the broccoli (scrape any oil left on the bottom of the baking sheet in as well), basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and salt until well blended. With the motor running, pour the 1/4 cup olive oil in a thin stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add more oil until it achieves a pesto-like consistency.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 mL). Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

Originally published in 2010. 

a man carrying two children

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