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Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Don’t be thrown off by this bitter beauty, Broccoli Rabe (pronounced “Rob” I just learned) is named a  top superfood thanks to being a good source of vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, and cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

You may recognize this vegetable in many Italian dishes, but it can also be great in soups, stir fry, and even as a pesto!  I originally roasted the broccoli rabe florets to go in corn tacos and topped it with the pesto I made (using the leaves leftover).  I will be honest, I was not happy with the outcome of the tacos. The pesto topping turned out to be my favorite part, and so I decided to share my pesto creation instead of the taco mishap.

The leaves are just as nutritious as the main part of the broccoli, containing vitamins A, C, and K, and  even good sources of magnesium, calcium, and iron. So please, don’t throw out the leaves!This pesto spread can be used on anything, such as salads, sandwiches, in egg dishes, and of course, in pasta.  If you wanted to replace the greek yogurt, try adding a 1/4 of an avocado for the same creamy texture and also with healthy fats.  To reduce the bitter taste, I recommend roasting or blanching the broccoli rabe.  According to many cookbooks, including The Joy of Cooking, broccoli rabe tastes better cooked rather than in raw form.  For a fun fact, broccoli rabe is not related to traditional broccoli, but the turnip family whose leafy greens also share a similar mustard-like flavor.


Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Broccoli Rabe Pesto


  • 1/2 cup broccoli rabe leaves
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese, such as Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt


  1. Before placing the leaves in the food processor, I recommend blanching the leaves to remove some of the bitter taste. Blanch the leaves by placing them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water.
  2. Simply place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and chop finely. Slowly add in the olive oil and continue on chop setting until the oil has completely mixed in.
  3. If using a blender, start with the greek yogurt on the bottom and then add the remaining ingredients; this helps mix the leaves into a finer, wet form.
  4. Enjoy as a spread or sauce. Can even be used in a salad, egg dishes, tuna, and of course pasta!
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Breakfast for dinner is a favorite of mine.  Try whisking the pesto in eggs before cooking or on top of a salad (as I did shown below).  No need for salad dressing or a salt shaker with this tasty spread.


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