Roasted Broccoli Pesto–Part 1 in a Series

Roasted Broccoli & Garlic (c) jfhaugenTo make poignant; to give zest, flavor or interest to;
to set off; to vary and render attractive.

A great definition of sauce from—and a most fitting description of pesto. But it’s still winter and my garden basil is a distant memory and a future dream. What is in abundance at the moment is broccoli. Last year I tried a recipe for broccoli pesto and was underwhelmed. As it receives such good press, I decided to try it once again. Oh well, not much better the second time around. Major changes were in order.

A Winner
Roasted Broccoli (c) jfhaugenRoasting the broccoli and garlic before preparing the pesto was/is the key to a full-flavored pesto that can be made even in the midst of winter. Wow! What a difference. With roasted broccoli and garlic, the broccoli flavor is more concentrated yet less sharp and the garlic sweeter and less assertive.

This is a great transition pesto from winter to spring, as it uses lots of broccoli and only a small amount of basil. Fortunately, many local markets now carry “living basil” which is a great alternative until our own basil becomes harvest-ready. (Though, when there is lots of fresh basil, Pesto Genovese remains my favorite.)

Nine Delicious Ways to Enjoy Roasted Broccoli Pesto

  1. Right out of the food processor on a spoon
  2. Blended into Baked Polenta (Part 2 in the Series)
  3. Stirred into grains
  4. Spread for sandwiches
  5. Mixed with hummus as a dip for vegetables
  6. Tossed with pasta, or this just in, spaghetti squash!
  7. Added to egg or chicken salad
  8. Thinned out as a salad dressing
  9. Swirled into soup

Birthday Rose (c) jfhaugenBTW
I’ve just celebrated another birthday and wanted to share a photograph of one of the many roses my husband, Paul, presented to me for the occasion. Aren’t they a gorgeous color?

And, yes, thank you, I had a wonderful birthday even if I was in the midst of a cold–another gift from my husband.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto(c) jfhaugenRoasted Broccoli Pesto

Made with roasted broccoli and garlic, fresh basil and lemon juice
Pesto comes together in under a minute once the broccoli and garlic are roasted.

Makes about 1½ cups

For roasting
½ pound broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, sliced

For the Pesto
½ cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
Scant ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Few twists freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli crown from the stem and cut it into 1-inch florets. Peel the stems and thinly slice them. You should have about 5 cups of broccoli. Toss the broccoli with the olive oil, salt and garlic. Place on a parchment lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until tender and browned in spots. Remove from the oven.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto (c) jfhaugenWhen the broccoli is cool, put it and the garlic into the bowl of a food processor along with all the pesto ingredients except for the cheese. Use the pulse button to coarsely mix everything together. Add the cheese and pulse again to incorporate. This pesto ought to remain coarsely textured.


Click here for a printable version of this recipe

5 thoughts on “Roasted Broccoli Pesto–Part 1 in a Series

  1. Happy Birthday Janice! So nice to share your creativity. I shall roast some broccoli in your honor. After the women’s retreat I ended up with an abundance of the little green trees and this will be a great way to make use of it. I also am overflowing in sunflower seeds. Any ideas?

    • Thank you, Nancy.
      Here’s a recipe for a Sunflower Seed dip/spread that uses lots of sunflower seeds. I have never tried this recipe, though it does look interesting. It is from

      2 cups unsalted shelled raw sunflower seeds (10 ounces)
      3/4 cup dill sprigs
      2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
      2 garlic cloves
      1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
      Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
      Crudités, such as raw carrots, endives, radishes and peppers, for serving

      In a food processor, combine the sunflower seeds with the dill, lemon juice, garlic and water and process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the crudités.

      • Great! I think I’ll try it with Cilantro vs Dill. I’m not in to Dill and I have alot of Cilantro. And broccoli, too. I just finished making the Broccoli Pesto – Yum! To die for!

        • Cilantro sounds good and if you have a serrano pepper, that might be nice as well, or some red pepper flakes. Let me know how it comes out. So glad you enjoyed the Roasted Broccoli Pesto 😉

  2. Pingback: Baked Polenta w/ Corn, Goat Cheese & Roasted Broccoli Pesto—Part 2 in a Series | Everyday Healthy! Everyday Delicious!

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