Broccoli Pesto

We’re big pesto fans at our house. Traditional pesto recipes, while tasty, can be expensive to prepare due to pine nuts (which I always, always burn) and basil when it is out of season. Enter broccoli and spinach. Both lend themselves well as substitutes and pack a punch nutritionally. To further boost the nutrient content, I added nutritional yeast (great source of B vitamins, especially B12, protein and minerals). Nutritional yeast is a handy seasoning to keep on hand as it has a pleasant cheesy taste and is free of nuts, salt, sugar, egg, milk, wheat, corn, soy and other common allergens. It is also not to be confused with Candida albicans yeast or brewery by-products as in brewer’s yeast.

I prefer to lightly steam broccoli for this recipe as it takes the “edge” off of raw broccoli. We also like to toss some Kalamata olives on the finished product, and those not adhering to a strict vegan diet might enjoy some freshly grated parmesan as well! All in all, it’s a quick dinner fix. This would also make a nice dip. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

Broccoli Pesto

Broccoli florets and trimmed stems – about 4 cups
Spinach – 2 cups packed
Garlic – 2 cloves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt

Cooked pasta
Olives for garnish – optional
Fresh parmesan – optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Lightly steam or boil broccoli for approximately 3 minutes – should still be crisp. Combine garlic and cashews in food processor and blend well. Add spinach, steamed broccoli, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt – combine well. With food processor running, add olive oil in a steady drizzle. Serve with your favourite pasta and top with olives, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.