Monday, February 17, 2014

Spinach & Broccoli Stalk Pesto

Having a toddler means grocery shopping is somewhat at the mercy of what she will eat from week to week. I do not enjoy buying overpriced and out of season strawberries, but they are one fruit I can guarantee Ella will eat no matter what. Bananas and apples can be gobbled up one day and picked over the next, but strawberries are forever. Same goes for broccoli. Ella will eat broccoli raw from the cutting board, she will eat it steamed, stir fried, and obviously covered in cheese. 

I buy fresh broccoli every week, whether I want to or not, and seemingly stock pile the woody stalks. I've tried a couple different techniques for using up the stalks: 1. Broccoli soup - I liked this, but no one else did 2. Veggie noodles - Ella and I liked this, but my husband did not 3. Broccoli Pesto - which we all love! 

I've written about pesto here before, but the ratio is worth repeating and hey - its a good way to use up all that spinach and broccoli stalks. 

Peel the tough outer layer off the broccoli stalks before you use them or you'll never get a smooth pesto! Also just a tip - when you plan to make the pesto - cook up a little pasta, and "clean" blender by putting a little pasta water in the blender, giving it a whirl, and then use that water to dress the pasta. 

Spinach & Broccoli Stalk Pesto 
makes 1 cup  

This weekend I had some parsley that needed using up, so I included that as part of the spinach called for. As I've said before pesto is all about using what you've got on hand. You can use any other kind of nuts, even different herbs. 

2 large cloves of garlic
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whole toasted pecans 
3 cups fresh baby spinach 
1 cup broccoli stalks - peeled and thinly sliced  
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil 

Pulse the garlic cloves, cheese, and pecans into crumbs in a food processor or blender. Add the spinach, broccoli stalks, and salt and process until mostly smooth, stopping to scrap down the sides of the carafe as needed. With the machine running, stream in the oil, following and continue to blend until smooth. 

Pesto will keep very well in the fridge, but dose it into ice cubes trays, freeze, and then store in a zippy bag in the freezer it will last basically forever. 


  1. That's such a sweet picture of her washing the dishes.. my daughter would rather go to the dentist than wash anything.. I'll have to try this, although my toddler will only eat bacon and applesauce oh and soap.. Nothing else need apply..

    1. Girl - she damn near flooded the kitchen, which I guess is good because the floors needed mopping too. A bacon, applesauce, and soap diet sounds hard on the body!

  2. Yay, a delicious use for broccoli stalks!! My boyfriend and I have taken to juicing most of our leftover root tops and veggie stalks, etc. And we actually did juice broccoli stalks once. Keyword: once. It was gross. So yeah, we'll go with pesto next time!