Food & Drink

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

Getting kids to eat all of their veggies can be tough – no one knows that better than Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin, authors of The Cleaner Plate Club. Here’s a quick, healthy dinner recipe that even the pickiest eaters will gobble up!

Photo © notahipster

Photo © notahipster

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

Serves 4 to 6

If texture is the barrier to broccoli consumption around your house, this pesto variation is a spin, literally, on the traditional way to serve the nutritious green veggie. Herbs, Parmesan, and olive oil smooth out some of the bitterness, so much so that kids may not even realize it’s broccoli.

  • 1 head broccoli, florets only
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup packed Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup packed basil
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice plus zest of 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ pound pasta

1. Put a couple inches of water into a large pot, set a steaming basket in it, and bring water to a boil. Set the broccoli florets in the basket, cover, and let steam until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. You can also use an electric steamer.

2. Add the broccoli, garlic, herbs, and pine nuts to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Add the Parmesan and lemon juice and zest. Pulse again while drizzling in olive oil until you reach the desired texture (mixture should be very mushy). Taste and season with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Toss the pasta with the pesto. You can use a bit of grated Parmesan as a garnish.

Variation: You can use 3 cups of packed spinach leaves instead of the broccoli. Make sure they are triple-washed; no need to steam or cook before adding to the other ingredients in the food processor.

The Cleaner Plate Club

If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of processed food in your kids’ diets, this treasure trove of kid-tested recipes will show you how to turn those farmer’s market finds into dishes they’ll actually love. Get The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin!

GET THE BOOK: Amazon | B&N | | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo