How to End Your Beef With Broccoli

Break out of the basil pesto mold with this recipe for Broccoli Pesto with White Beans.

Photo by Leah Lizarondo

“Eat your broccoli!”

I’d be willing to bet that a lot of people grew up with that repeated command and are now handing down the mean green ultimatum — dessert held ransom until those little trees disappear from kids’ plates. My kids were brainwashed early and now I barely ever have to remind them. It is actually one of their favorite vegetables.

I think one of the reasons why a lot of people have a distaste for this disrespected veggie (including, notoriously, one POTUS) is because most people overcook it. Broccoli needs to be served al dente.

Take it out of the steamer or oven, or however you want to cook it, before it is completely done. Add it to soups right before serving. But never overcook it. Or, if you do, go all the way and cook it ‘til it melts. There is no middle ground of “a little overcooked” with broccoli, because at that point it tastes horrendous. Hence the hatred.

This is one of my favorite easy ways to prepare broccoli, and a good way to hide it for those who say they truly can’t stand it.

(Do you know someone like this?)

Pesto is such an easy vehicle for a lot of greens, and this version combines it with nuts that we don’t typically use for pesto – macadamia nuts and cashews. These nuts are on the sweeter side and make a good foil for the broccoli’s slightly bitter edge.

I use miso as a stand-in for Parmesan cheese in many dishes. Not only are you adding an umami dimension to the dish, but you are also adding some beneficial probiotics. The creaminess of the nuts with the flavor of the miso is a great combination, although I have made this without miso and like it just as well. Your call.

  Broccoli Pesto with White Beans

  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup cashews or macadamia nuts or a combination of both
  • ½-3/4 cup cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1-2 tsp mellow white miso (optional)
  • Chopped tomatoes, for serving (optional)
  • Lemon juice, for serving (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.   Steam broccoli until just al dente. DO NOT overcook.
2.   Place cooked broccoli, nuts, olive oil, garlic, miso (if using) salt and pepper in a food processor and process until chopped very fine.
3.   Taste for seasoning.
4.   Boil your favorite pasta. When al dente and before draining, add the white beans to heat through. Drain.
5.   Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Note: You can also cook 6 cups of broccoli and reserve one cup to top the pasta with. The extra layer of crunch is nice.

Categories: Brazen Kitchen