Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Orzo + Broccoli Pesto Salad

A few days ago during some rare, quiet moments to myself while my baby boy was taking an epic nap, I was surfing through some of my favourite food blogs and I stumbled upon this tasty little pasta dish on Sprouted Kitchen. I absolutely love LOVE pesto, I mean who doesn't? and I also love broccoli and so the idea of a broccoli pesto really got me curious. I'm also a fan of pasta dishes that can be eaten warm or cold since they always make easy lunches to pack up for the next day.

When I first met my hubby he hated broccoli with a passion. In fact he refused to eat it altogether and often he wouldn't even eat anything that the offending broccoli had touched! You think this is bad you should see his reaction to mushrooms, talk about dramatic. In all fairness, I am equally if not more annoying with my inability to eat any sort of pork product. Whenever we order pizza we order a large pizza "half vegetarian and half meat lovers", I kid you not!

Anyway, over the years I've slowly sneaked small amounts of broccoli in here and there and now he actually admits to liking it! Success! One thing that I consciously did to ease him into broccoli is I always chop the broccoli into tiny pieces so he never gets a huge mouthful all at once. Also cooking it, and I prefer steaming which retains the most nutrients, takes the bitter edge off as well. I suspect this method may also be helpful when trying to get children to eat their veggies.

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C and dietary fiber as well as having known anti-cancer properties so go ahead and eat up!

Orzo + Broccoli Pesto Salad 
from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

1 cup orzo pasta (I used 2 cups so I had plenty for next day lunch leftovers)
2 cloves of garlic
5 cups of raw broccoli cut up into florets
2/3 cups toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup creme fraiche (I used plain yogurt instead which worked well)
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 avocado, sliced

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the orzo according to package instructions. When cooked, rinse in cold water. Next, steam or boil all of the broccoli for about 3-4 minutes, just enough to stay slightly crunchy, the last thing you want is soggy broccoli. Then make the pesto combining 2 cups of cooked broccoli (save the remaining 3 cups of broccoli for the salad), most of the pinenuts (save some for a garnish), parmesan and lemon juice in a food processer. Slowly add in the extra virgin oilive oil and creme fresh until it forms a nice, smooth pesto. Finally, toss the orzo, pesto and broccoli florets together and serve warm or cold. Sprinkle parmesan, sliced avocado, lemon zest, toasted pinenuts and fresh ground pepper on top to garnish. (Serves 6)


  1. This will be my next challenge :) :) Looks so good!

  2. This recipe sounds delicious, I am going to have to give it a try.