To make it, you add raw broccoli, sunflower seeds, Parmesan (or nutritional yeast as a dairy-free substitute), olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest to a food processor. In the full recipe post, Palanjian also adds parsley leaves or basil, but those are optional. Blend the mixture, stopping every now and then to push down ingredients from the sides with a small spatula to ensure everything gets mixed in. You can also add olive oil as needed to achieve a smooth texture.
Once the sauce is done, boil a pot of salted water and cook the pasta of your choice (Palanjian uses bowtie) according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water, then mix in the pesto. “For kids who’ve never had it before, you can start with less, and for kiddos who love it or for you, you can add as much as you want,” Palanjian said. If your pasta seems too dry, however, add in some of the leftover pasta water to change that.
For any leftovers, Palanjian recommends putting the pesto in a freezer bag, pressing it flat, and freezing it. “You can just break off as much as you need for the next time,” she said. To serve, top it with even more grated Parmesan if desired.
Beyond pasta, the broccoli pesto can also be used as a pizza sauce, a sandwich spread, or stirred into scrambled eggs. However you choose to use it, we hope your toddler loves it — we know we’ll be going back for seconds.