August 30, 2011
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat broccoli? Not anymore! This easy broccoli pesto has all the delicious flavor of pesto but is made with broccoli. Watch how easy it is to make in this quick recipe video.
Broccoli Pesto is the perfect ingredient to add to pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, chicken and so much more.
And if your kids are struggling to welcome broccoli onto their plates, this dip makes a great way to introduce them to the color and flavor of broccoli, while skipping over the texture they might not enjoy.
What is Broccoli Pesto?
Broccoli Pesto takes the traditional Italian recipe, rich with basil, garlic and pine nuts and reimagines it as a kid-friendly, flavorful broccoli spread!
This easy broccoli pesto tastes just like traditional pesto but with a sneaky side of veggies.
Is Broccoli Pesto Kid-Friendly
My kids don’t mind the taste of pesto. I often tuck pesto in a tomato sauce or under pizza toppings and it’s always been a welcome flavor at our dinner table.
But broccoli is another story. “I don’t like those trees” is what my almost 4-year-old son says each times he sees it.
My solution to feed them this vitamin- and mineral-packed vegetable? Pesto sauce!
It amazes me how often kids will be open to trying a hated vegetable if it’s simply served up a different way, so they don’t quite recognize it as the same, hated food.
This pesto sauce has found it’s way into lunchboxes with macaroni noodles and it’s also often a star of my family’s pizza nights.
If your child does not eat pesto, mix 2 teaspoons of pesto with 1 to 2 tablespoons cream cheese or ricotta cheese.
This helps your child be introduced to pesto without it being so strong a flavor. It makes a creamy pesto sauce.
If you have an ultra-picky kid who does not eat “green,” try adding 1 tablespoon tomato sauce to mask the color.
Learning how to introduce foods to picky eaters is one of the things I cover in my Picky Eaters eCourse.
In it, you’ll learn more tips like this about how to encourage kids to eat foods they don’t prefer. Plus, how to remove pressure from mealtimes, so your kids will feel more open to participating in trying the foods that are served.
Start with this broccoli pesto and then learn more about the Picky Eaters eCourse here.
How to make Broccoli Pesto
- Add steamed broccoli florets, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese and salt to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Between pulses slowly pour in olive oil in a thin stream.
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add more oil if needed to achieve pesto consistency.
It’s that easy! You can then store your homemade pesto in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months.
More Easy Broccoli Recipes for Kids
You can do so much with this broccoli pesto, that soon your kids might be open to trying broccoli in some other recipes too.
Here are some ideas:
- Broccoli Nuggets
- Parmesan Broccoli Tater Tots
- Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry
- Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo
And of course, it all starts with broccoli pesto. The taste is delicious, gives great leftovers, and it goes great with just about anything!
Easy Broccoli Pesto Recipe
- 1 cup broccoli florets steamed but still crunchy
- 1 large handful fresh basil
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup olive oil plus more if needed
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all dry ingredients until they are finely chopped.
- In between pulses, slowly pour the olive oil in a thin stream.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add more if it needs it to achieve a pesto-like consistency. Makes about 1 ½ cups of pesto.
I made this broccoli pesto recipe and my kids had no idea. They didn’t notice a difference! Thanks for a great recipe.
MOMables - Laura
Thank you for sharing it was a success with your family.
Again, great way to sneak in those veggies. I ended up adding a lot more steamed broccoli and basil, and also added in pine nuts and walnuts. My kids loved it and I couldn’t even tell the difference! Thanks for the recipe idea!
Do you have a recipe for the Parmesan Crusted Chicken also?
Yes. Here and here.
Thanks for the fabulous idea! Could not have come at a more perfect time…my 16 month old who was once a great eater is refusing to eat most foods. So this is a great way to get in those veggies with some whole wheat pasta!
I ended up adding more basil and pine nuts – the pesto tasted great!
so glad this recipe was a success with your 16mo old!
As much as I would love to have one, I do not have a food processor or the money to get one. Would it be possible to make this in a blender? Its a fairly inexpensive blender but pretty powerful. Do you think it would work?
Dana, yes! nearly all of our recipes that call for a food processor can be made in a blender. Especially… pesto!
What do I do if my kids won’t eat tomato, dairy or anything mixed? LOL ;)
Xealia, my son won’t eat anything mixed either… so I start with adding cream cheese and making it creamier or make a homemade alfredo sauce and introduce things this way. (check out the one in our recipes section)
What a creative idea! This would be a great dish for a kids’ party, too – ups the healthy factor without all the “yucks” :) Thanks for sharing it!
Yes! most of our kids devoured this on pasta instead of the whole broccoli! a winner for sure :)