I love the flavors of traditional basil pesto but the heavy oils don’t always feel very healthy. Inspired by a post I saw on The Kitchn blog awhile ago, I whipped up this veggie based alternative. The flavor is much more like pesto than broccoli but you use a lot less oil and get loads of nutrients that you don’t get with regular pesto – plus, it’s a great way to sneak in the greens if you have any veggie-phobe eaters in your house!
1 head broccoli (or spinach or kale)
approx 1/3 C low fat ricotta cheese
1/3-1/2 C sliced almonds*
1 small shallot or 1/4 onion
1 large garlic clove
1/4 C water
approx. 1/4 olive oil
kosher salt, pepper
*omit almonds if you have a nut allergy
Trim broccoli into florets and place in a microwaveable bowl. Add 1/4 C water and cover with paper towel. Steam for 2 minutes. Drain water and place broccoli in a large food processor or blender. Add shallot, garlic, almonds, ricotta, 1/4C water and puree. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse until combined. Add enough olive oil to achieve a desired consistency, approx 1/4C (it should be creamy and semi-thick not oily and runny). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: I don’t often use exact measurements with sauces, so these are approximate. Experiment with quantities to get the consistency and flavor that you like.
Serve with whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken and feta cheese for a hearty and healthy meal!