Meatless Monday: Fettuccine With Broccoli Pesto

You don't have to wait till summer to make pesto; try making this classic sauce with broccoli and a bit of fresh basil.
By: Michelle Buffardi
Related To:

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces -- I love it on pasta, crostini, pizza and on a spoon, straight out of the food processor after I've made a batch. Classic pesto is made from bunches of fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil, but since basil won't be in season for a few months, the basil selection in the supermarket is a little grim. It's more expensive and only available in small quantities, so I usually suffer through the winter without it. But here's what I just figured out: Pesto doesn't have to be made with just basil. This verdant sauce can be made with other herbs, like parsley or cilantro, so as soon as those roll into markets and sprout up in the garden try making pesto with a green herb other than basil.

During the winter months, when cruciferous vegetables are in season, grab a bunch of broccoli and make pesto out of that. Bobby Deen's Broccoli Pesto recipe calls for just a handful of basil, plus cheese, nuts, garlic and olive oil, so it will have the bright color and flavor you're used to. Toss the sauce with sun-dried tomatoes (packed in water if you can find them -- this cuts down on the oil/fat) and whole-wheat pasta for a hearty tastes-almost-like-summer meal you can make all year. Bonus: Broccoli is loaded with cancer-fighting plant chemicals (so have an extra serving!).

Serves: 4

2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, halved

1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth to make it truly meatless)

2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
6 soft sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), cut into thin slivers
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and run under cold running water, then drain again.

Place the broccoli, basil, cheese, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the broth and oil and process until smooth.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer the fettuccine to a large bowl. Add the pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest and toss to coat well.

Per Serving: 286 Cal; 24 g Protein; 12 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat; 28 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 160 mg Calcium; 4 mg Iron; 732 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol

More Meatless Monday Pasta Dishes
Keep Reading

Next Up

Meatless Monday: Oven Roasted Broccoli

Drizzled with olive oil and thrown in a hot oven, broccoli caramelizes and takes on a smoky sweetness. Add breadcrumbs, garlic and a bit of cheese, and I think you have a chance of winning over broccoli haters.

Meatless Monday: Fettuccine With Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

Resolve to give up meat on Mondays, but don't give up creamy, flavor-packed, comforting pasta.

Meatless Monday: Panzanella

David Rocco's panzanella, a Tuscan tomato and bread salad, is so satisfying, you won't miss the meat at all on this Meatless Monday.

Meatless Monday: Obsessed With Hummus

How do I love hummus? Let me count the ways.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower may seem a little boring -- it's the least colorful vegetable out there. But what it lacks in vibrancy, it makes up for with versatility.

Meatless Monday: Spinach and Tortellini

You can count Cooking Channel's recipe for Spinach and Tortellini for a simple, satisfying Meatless Monday dinner. Who doesn’t love pasta after all?

Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetables

Grill up a bunch of vegetables tonight and eat like a king for the rest of the week; use the veggies to make pasta dishes, omelets, burritos, sandwiches and pizza.

Meatless Monday: Paella with Tomatoes

Smoked paprika adds a smoky, almost bacon-like flavor to recipes; use it in vegetarian dishes like Mark Bittman's Tomato Paella.

On TV

Donut Showdown

7:30am | 6:30c

Donut Showdown

8:30am | 7:30c

Donut Showdown

9:30am | 8:30c

Sugar Showdown

10:30am | 9:30c

Sugar Showdown

11am | 10c

Sugar Showdown

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Sweets

12pm | 11c

Unique Sweets

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Sweets

1pm | 12c

Unique Sweets

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Cake Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

Cake Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Cupcake Wars

8pm | 7c

Cake Wars

9pm | 8c

Extreme Cake Makers

10:30pm | 9:30c

Cupcake Wars

11pm | 10c

Cupcake Wars

12am | 11c

Cake Wars

1am | 12c

Extreme Cake Makers

2:30am | 1:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

Man Fire Food

New Episodes, Wednesdays 9|8c

So Much Pretty Food Here