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Lemon and Roasted Broccoli Pesto

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Roasted Broccoli Pesto is made with oven roasted broccoli, broccoli rabe, green onion, and garlic with fresh lemon juice, basil, toasted pine nuts, and Parmesan. It’s a pesto full of fresh summer flavors.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Recipe

Roasted Broccoli Pesto is easy to prepare with minimal active preparation time. First, you need to roast the broccoli, broccoli rabe, and green onion. To do that, you mix melted butter, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, lemon zest, and lemon juice together. Then you toss the vegetables in this mixture and roast them in the oven for 25 minutes.

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Once the vegetables are roasted you let the food processor do the work. The roasted vegetables go into the food processor with some toasted pine nuts, basil, and some more lemon juice, Parmesan, and olive oil. 

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I chose to use both broccoli and broccoli rabe because I like broccoli rabe’s nutty and bitter flavor. It adds some more complex flavors to this sauce, but you could opt to only use regular broccoli.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto | This simple recipe adds extra veggies and a burst of flavor to traditional pesto

The hardest part of preparing this recipe is not immediately eating all of it. I ate several spoonfuls right out of my food processor.

The pesto will be very thick and will need to be thinned before you add it to pasta. Thin the pesto with pasta water, the starchiness of the water helps to bind the sauce to the pasta. I always add a touch of pasta water to sauces before I mix in the pasta.

Easy Roasted Broccoli Pesto Recipe

If you don’t want to serve the pesto over pasta you can use it to stuff chicken breasts. Or spread warm roasted broccoli pesto over toast and top with a fried egg for a delicious breakfast. Add it to a sandwich, it would be delicious on a grilled cheese!

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Roasted Broccoli Pesto is made with oven roasted broccoli, broccoli rabe, green onion, and garlic with fresh lemon juice, basil, toasted pine nuts, and Parmesan.

How to make Roasted Broccoli Pesto:

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Lemon and Roasted Broccoli Pesto

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Roasted Broccoli Pesto is made by roasted broccoli, broccoli rabe, and green onion and then pureeing it with lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan. It's a flavorful sauce for pastas and a fun addition to sandwiches.


  • 1 pound of Broccoli (about 2 medium heads of broccoli)
  • 1/2 pound of Broccoli Rabe
  • 3 stems of Green Onion
  • 2-4 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 3/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh Basil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Water


Chop the broccoli, broccoli rabe, and green onion. Place in a large bowl.

Finely chop the garlic and add it to a small bowl. Add the melted butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup Parmesan, the salt, and the pepper in. Whisk to combine.

Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Stir well to evenly coat them.

Pour the vegetables onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone pad. Roast at 375 degrees for 17-23 minutes, until soft.

While the vegetables are roasting, toast the pine nuts. Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake them alongside the vegetables for 5-7 minutes, until lightly toasted.

Place half of the vegetables in a food processor and pulse to puree. I find that when you try to puree all the veggies at once it doesn't work as well. Add the remaining vegetables along with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup Parmesan, the toasted pine nuts, and the basil.

Pulse to puree, and slowly add water until the pesto starts to churn in the food processor. Taste test and add more salt if necessary.

To add the pesto to pasta, pour the desired amount of pesto into a skillet or pot. Add about 1/3 cup of pasta water per cup of pesto. Stir to combine and then heat the pesto into steaming. Add the pasta and let it cook in the pesto for 1 minute.

This recipe yields 4-5 cups of pesto.

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