Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad

You guys!  Did you know you can make pesto with so many different veggies? I tried it out with broccoli, and came up with this amazing broccoli pesto pasta salad!

Overhead shot of finished Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad in a white bowl.

How to make broccoli pesto pasta salad

Well, YOU CAN!  And it’s life-changing.  Because if you’re having trouble finding new ways to use veggies, or just to get your veggies in, period, then you can just add some to pesto and VOILA! you have a fun and delicious sauce to put on any and everything.

My first time making pesto with veggies was when I developed this recipe for Caprese Pasta Salad with Asparagus Pesto – still one of my favorite spring/summer potluck dishes – and it changed my life (I wasn’t lying). 

It became a way of life for me, to add veggies to my sauces, and in turn things were more colorful, more nutritious and not the least bit boring. 

Which is why I decided to do a spin on that recipe by making broccoli pesto and tossing it with Banza pasta, fresh goat cheese and crunchy pine nuts. 

The pesto has cooked broccoli, pepitas (any nut will do), garlic, fresh lemon (zest and juice), olive oil, Parmesan and s/p.  It just gets a whirl in the food processor and tossed with all the other pasta goodies. 

Then we can move on with life in a very delicious way.

Raw broccoli on a white wooden background.
Overhead shot of broccoli pesto in a white bowl.

What veggies can you make pesto out of?

And now this recipe has me thinking…. what other veggies can I make pesto out of? I’ve done spinach and other greens, peas, avocado…  but what about carrots?  Beets? 

Seriously, let’s think about this and regroup, because I’m not done with the veggie pesto recipes.

Also, if you’re not familiar with bean-based pasta, it’s also a life-changer.  They’re made solely from beans and peas (seriously… no other ingredients), it cooks up in 7-8 minutes, and has a ton of protein (25g/svg.) and fiber (13g/svg.). 

Isn’t that something?  It is my new go-to when making pasta, and I’m not mad about it.  You should really give it a try, friends.

Finished Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts in a white bowl.
Overhead shot of Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad in a white bowl.

Now let’s eat some pasta salad.


Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad

Broccoli Pesto Pasta in a white bowl.

Homemade broccoli pesto tossed with pasta and topped with crumbled goat cheese and crispy pine nuts.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 8-ounces pasta
  • 45 cups broccoli florets, cooked and cooled
  • Zest and juice of ½ medium lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup nuts (pine, walnuts, almonds, pepitas)
  • 34 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley)


  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Let pasta cool.
  2. Place cooked broccoli, lemon zest and juice, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, nuts, garlic, salt and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process on low while drizzling olive oil in through the vegetable shoot until desired consistency is reached, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use (while pasta cools or if making ahead). 
  3. Toss broccoli pesto with cooked pasta until thoroughly combined and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with goat cheese, pine nuts and fresh herbs. Serve.


Storage Tip: Refrigerate up to 4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 196
  • Sugar: 3
  • Sodium: 378
  • Fat: 10
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 20
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 11
  • Cholesterol: 4

Keywords: pasta salad, best, easy, healthy, simple, quick, weeknight dinner, nutrient dense, kid friendly

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