Spaghetti with Broccoli “Pesto”

Looking for a new way to use broccoli that is easy? The color is so bright that I was inspired to mix it in with pasta, like a pesto.  But given the texture of broccoli, I decided not to make it more gritty by adding nuts so it’s not really a pesto though my recipe does include olive oil, grated parmesan cheese and garlic + it is green! 

One could easily add toppings like toasted bread crumbs or toasted nuts for more texture. 

Yields 2-3 servings (depending on your appetite!)


  • 1 broccoli stalk, florets cut into small pieces. If using stalk, shave off tough layer and dice 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, mince
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti


Bring pot of water to boil for spaghetti. Add salt and cook spaghetti to al dente (or to taste) while preparing broccoli sauce. Drain, setting aside a small cup of pasta water.

Bring small pot of water to boil and add broccoli. Cook until bright green and softened, about 3-4 minutes. Strain and put aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic and chili flakes and cook for another minute, then add broccoli.  Stir so that the broccoli is coated.

Transfer broccoli mixture to food processor along with ½ cup grated cheese and pulse, adding olive oil and some pasta water to loosen mixture into a sauce consistency.  Add salt to taste.

Return broccoli “pesto” to skillet  and add drained spaghetti, coating the strands with the sauce.  Top with remaining cheese.