Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Tagged in: Recipes
Broccoli Pesto Pasta

A delicious pesto made from broccoli and green olives—who would have thought?

We probably wouldn't have come up with this combination ourselves - so we are so glad our yogi friend, healthy home cook, and one of our favorite writers, Ali Margo, brought it to our attention! The recipe comes from Kelly Senyei’s new cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook.

And we have to admit - we LOVE secret ingredients! Especially the ones that bring an unexpected and delightful surprise to a dish. That’s the idea behind The Secret Ingredient Cookbook and this Broccoli Pesto Pasta.

As it turns out, this pesto is hiding more than one secret ingredient: Green olives contribute both a bright green color and briny, salty flavor, while broccoli adds a power house of nutrition - vitamin C, B6, magnesium and protein.

The pasta can be served warm, room temp or chilled, making it a year-round winner. Use as much of the pesto as you like, and save any leftovers for later. The pesto keeps well in the fridge, and makes a great dip for veggies or crackers.



  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets

  • 1 lb. uncooked pasta, rigatoni or penne

  • 3 Tbsp. pine nuts

  • 1 cup green olives, pitted

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (we like violife for vegan option)

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, plus extra for seasoning

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • kosher salt, for seasoning

  • Optional add-ons: sprinkle of red-pepper flakes, drizzle of olive oil, roasted or steamed broccoli florets


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for one minute. Transfer the broccoli to a food processor or blender with a slotted spoon.

  2. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta, cooking until al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of the pasta water in a measuring cup.

  3. In a small saucepan, cook the pine nuts over medium heat until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

  4. Add the pine nuts to the food processor or blender along with the olives, basil, garlic, cheese, pepper and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Pulse until well combined.

  5. With the processor on, add the olive oil slowly, stopping to scrape the sides as needed, until the pesto is pureed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with a desired amount of the pesto, thinning with extra pasta water two tablespoons at a time as needed. Serve.