Who would have dreamed that broccoli could be the base of a delicious pesto? This vegan Broccoli Pepita Pesto recipe is whole food, plant-based and oil-free. You gotta’ make it to believe it!

I love broccoli, and I love that I have a new way to enjoy it even more. By quick-steaming the broccoli, you’ll preserve more of the vitamin C, sulforaphane and other phytonutrients that make broccoli an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxifying and cancer-fighting vegetable powerhouse.

PipitasPepitas are shell-less pumpkin seeds found only in certain varieties of pumpkins. These tender and tasty flat green seeds provide vitamin E in at least 5 different forms and a diverse array of other antioxidants and minerals. The lignans in pumpkin seeds are also antimicrobial and anti-viral. Toasting the seeds brings the flavor of the pesto to another level, but if preferred, you can leave them raw.

Serving this pesto inside the hollow of a roasted spaghetti squash makes for fun eating! I love pulling the spaghetti squash strings away from the side of squash with my fork as I go, picking up some of the pesto with each bite. My husband prefers to mix it all up inside the squash first, then eat. Either way, our squash “bowls” were scraped clean. This recipe will be in high rotation this season!

Ready to dig in?

Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Broccoli Pepita Pesto

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash
½ large crown of broccoli, cut into florets
1/3 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2-3 large cloves garlic
½ tsp. salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp. water

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. (To make cutting the squash easier, you can microwave the whole squash for 3-5 minutes. Allow it sit for several minutes to cool off. Carefully remove it from the microwave with a towel.) Place each half cut side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes. It’s done when you can press on it and it yields to pressure. Remove from the oven and keep warm. (For a busy weeknight meal, the squash can be made ahead of time and reheated.)

While the squash is cooking, steam the broccoli florets for 3-4 minutes until bright green and crisp tender. Do not overcook! Rinse under cold water, drain well and set aside.

On a baking tray, place the pepitas in an even layer and toast them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Stir mid-way through. You’ll hear them start to pop as they inflate and turn a medium golden brown. Watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn.

In a food processor, place the garlic and pulse to chop. Add the broccoli, toasted pepitas, nutritional yeast and salt. Pulse to combine, adding a tablespoon of water at a time if needed to get a thick “pesto” consistency. You’ll have to stop a few times and scrape down the sides. Taste and add more salt if needed.

To serve, divide the pesto between the two squash halves. Enjoy!

Other Serving Ideas: Try tossing this pesto and some broiled cherry tomatoes with whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, or as baked potato topping.

Other Recipes You Might Like: 

Mexican Black Bean Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Mongolian Soy Curls and Broccoli

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Sources: 

Recipe adapted from Spaghetti-Squash with Broccoli-Pumpkin Seed Pesto.

Nutrition information from the World’s Healthiest Foods.