Low in cholesterol and high in vitamins, broccoli packs this pesto with extra nutritional value. Using walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts is less expensive, subtracts calories and adds fiber. Serve over whole wheat pasta, or try brown rice pasta for a gluten-free option.
- 1/3 cup walnut halves
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 1/2 cups chopped raw broccoli florets and tender stems (about 4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus a few sprigs, for garnish
- 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- Kosher salt
- Juice of 1/2 small lemon (1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano or grana padano cheese
- 10 ounces whole wheat or tri-color fusilli
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts out on a small baking pan and toast lightly, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Pulse together 1/4 cup of the walnuts and the garlic in a food processor; add the broccoli, basil, broth, nutmeg, red pepper flakes if using, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the lemon juice, and pulse until just combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil through the feed tube with the processor running and puree until a slightly chunky sauce forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 2 tablespoons of the cheese and pulse until incorporated.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta with the pesto in the dry pot or a mixing bowl, along with some of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the remaining cooking liquid if needed and additional salt to taste.
Transfer the pasta to individual bowls and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon cheese. Chop the remaining walnuts and scatter on top. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Per Serving: Calories: 410; Total Fat: 15.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 13 grams; Total carbohydrates: 57 grams; Sugar: 3 grams; Fiber: 8 grams; Cholesterol: 1 milligram; Sodium: 554 milligrams