This is a very interesting take on making pesto. I'm sure you've seen all sorts of varieties using arugula, spinach, tomatoes etc. but I think this one is quite unique in flavour. Broccoli itself is quite grassy in flavour, but with the addition of Parmesan cheese and fruity olive oil it blends nicely together to make a smooth slightly tangy spinach like flavoured sauce. I liked the idea of mixing orzo with the broccoli pesto since this then could be served as a quick side dish with any meal. However, you could substitute any other kind of pasta that you really like.

Serves 4 sides
Yields about 2 cups


  • 1-1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 heads of broccoli (discard stems)
  • one large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • low sodium chicken stock (if needed to thin out the sauce)

1. Put a pot of boiling water on, and cook the broccoli florets for 2 minutes. Drain the water and immerse the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking process.

2. Put another pot of boiling water to cook the orzo pasta. Read the package directions to cook the pasta. Once done cooking, drain and place the cooked orzo back in the pot, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and place the lid on for now.

3. In a food processor, add in the cooked broccoli florets, the parsley, garlic cloves, toasted walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and the fresh lemon juice. Pulse the ingredients together until a paste forms. Taste it at this point and season if you wish with salt and pepper.

4. While pulsing the mixer, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Note: if you would rather have it thinned out a bit more, add in a bit of chicken stock or water. Mix together the cooked orzo pasta with the pesto and serve immediately.

Cook's note: Store the pesto in an airtight container to prevent the broccoli from changing colour. Use within the next few days.

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