Broccoli walnut pesto has all of the flavors and more of traditional pesto. Walnuts replace costly pine nuts for a delicious pesto sauce that is filled with fresh basil and broccoli for an extra nutritious and delicious sauce.
Homemade pesto recipes are so convenient and versatile! If you prefer a classic pesto, try our basil pesto made with cashews.
Why you will love this recipe
- Broccoli walnut pesto is an easy way to sneak more veggies into your diet.
- It's simple to make and there are so many ways to use it.
Here is what you will need to make this broccoli pesto recipe
This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this recipe; scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.
- raw broccoli florets
- fresh basil leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
how to make broccoli walnut pesto
Prepare the ingredients: Roughly chop the broccoli and garlic, and trim any thick stems off of the basil.
Step 1. Cook the broccoli
Add just enough water to a saucepan to cover the bottom. Add the broccoli, cover and cook over medium heat until the broccoli turns bright green and begins to soften; about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the broccoli from the boiling water; or drain and rinse it with cold water.
Step 2. Process the ingredients
Add the cooked broccoli, basil and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor.
Step 3. Process the pesto
Run the food processor until all of the ingredients are broken down and blended together.
Step 4. Add the cheese
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the cheese. Run the processor again and add the oil through the feed tube while the processor is running. Adjust the texture with oil or the remaining cooking liquid from the broccoli.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Broccoli - fresh broccoli is the best broccoli to use in this recipe. Smaller florets, I like to use smaller florets that will cook quicker.
Fresh broccoli can be replaced with frozen, thawed, and cooked broccoli.
Parmesan cheese - always use freshly grated cheese to avoid extra additives and preservatives.
Walnuts - walnuts add a nice texture and flavor to the pesto sauce. They can be substituted with pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds or cashews.
One of the many great things about pesto sauce is that it's so versatile.
- Change up the herbs - replace or add to the basil with fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, or cilantro.
- Add more veggies - Add a handful of baby spinach or arugula to the food processor with the broccoli.
- Vegan broccoli walnut pesto - replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan cheese.
- Nut-free broccoli pesto - replace the walnuts with an equal amount of sunflower seeds.
- Spicy broccoli pesto - add up to a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for spicy broccoli pesto.
Serve broccoli walnut pesto sauce with a sprinkle of lemon zest and a dash of parmesan cheese over your favorite pasta or zucchini noodles, grilled chicken and a salad for a quick and healthy meal.
How to store leftovers
Store leftover broccoli walnut pesto in the refrigerator for up to four days in an airtight container.
Freeze leftover pesto for up three months in a freezer-safe container.
- Freeze leftover pesto sauce in ice cube trays or mini cupcake tins. Once they are frozen, pop them out of the ice cube trays, and store them in a reusable plastic bag for individual portions.
- Save the broccoli water and use it to thin out the pesto sauce.
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Click on serving size to scale this recipe
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅛ cup walnut pieces
- ⅛ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Add enough water to cover the bottom of a saucepan and add the broccoli. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften - about 10 minutes.
- Drain the broccoli and reserve some of the water.
- Place the broccoli, basil, garlic, and walnuts in the food processor bowl.
- Process the pesto mixture until it is almost pureed.
- Remove the top of the food processor, scrape down the sides add the shredded cheese.
- Process the pesto once again adding the oil through the top of the food processor.
- Adjust the consistency using a little bit of oil or the reserved water from the broccoli.