Bow Ties with Broccoli Pesto Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Bow Ties with Broccoli Pesto

When you want a luscious homemade pesto long before basil comes into season, turn to broccoli. Here, cooked broccoli is blended with fresh mint and parsley for a bright, springtime take on the pasta sauce.



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6 Tbs. blanched hazelnuts, plus more for garnish, optional
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2 cups broccoli florets
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1 ½ cups loosely packed parsley leaves
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¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling, optional
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½ cup mint leaves
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4 tsp. lemon juice
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1 ½ tsp. grated lemon zest
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1 ½ tsp. capers, rinsed and drained, optional
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5 large garlic cloves, peeled
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12 oz. farfalle pasta


1. Toast hazelnuts in skillet 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden, shaking skillet often. Cool, coarsely chop, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a boil. Cook broccoli in boiling water 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Drain again.

3. Pulse hazelnuts, broccoli, parsley, oil, mint, lemon juice, lemon zest, capers (if using), and garlic in food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

4. Cook farfalle according to package directions in broccoli cooking water. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water before draining. Toss farfalle with pesto and pasta cooking water. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts, if using,
and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

Nutrition Information: 

7 g
Total Fat: 
13 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
32 g
0 mg
14 mg
3 g
2 g
Serves 9

Comments on this Recipe

This was surprisingly tasty. I didn't pulse the oil. Instead I poured it in the bowl of pesto at the end. Also I followed everyone's advice and used half the garlic. I really like what the capers add to it.

Delisious, but instead of using mint (also didn' have hazelnut on hand) , i used basil. I really dont like mint, but basil worked perfectly. Also i topped with a bit of parmesan which was really good. But the main thing is to make sure you salt it enough to taste. *****5 stars

Really great recipe - although I had to make a lot of substitutions! Used almonds in place of hazelnuts, no mint, no lemon juice or zest, no parsley! What I did add was a blend of dried herbs. Next time I will make it with 3 cloves of garlic - the kids found it a little spicy with 5. I love that it turned out so well with the ingredients that I had on hand. I can hardly wait to make it again.

I want to make this for dinner tonight. If you don't see hazelnuts you could get walnuts or pine nuts. You can skip the capers too since no one but me likes them. I would say basil instead of mint. Or skip that too.

This is a hoot, since mint and basil are in the same family. Actually, one could use spinach, chard, or any other, similar tasty green, and the parsley, and get a pretty good outcome, too.

This recipe is super versatile. I used brazil nuts and eliminated the mint and it turned out beautiful. Flavors tasted even better the next day. And you can serve it warm or cold!

I made this last week and enjoyed it for the most part. I replaced the hazelnuts w/ walnuts however. I used the amount of garlic called for & I felt it was really over powering. If I made this again I wouldn't put so much garlic in. Check out the pictures of it on my blog,

I made this last week and enjoyed it for the most part. I replaced the hazelnuts w/ walnuts however. I used the amount of garlic called for & I felt it was really over powering. If I made this again I wouldn't put so much garlic in. Check out the pictures of it on my blog,

When putting ingredients in the blender, put and blend the brocoli first. That way, you avoid having the oil and nuts paste staying at the bottom and preventing the rest to touch the blades.

Not good results. This was the very first time in 25 years of marriage that my husband scraped his plate back into the serving bowl: Teengage kids tossed theirs in too. 12 oz of pasta became dog for for 4 hunger pooches.

i made this with roasted garlic, Spanish pine nuts and added nutritional yeast for cheese flavor and love it. I did not add the mint. I'm gonna serve it cold for lunch with tomatoes. It's super easy!

My pesto never turned into a sauce- it was very thick and dry. I tried adding more water and olive oil but it didn't help much. Did anyone else have this problem?

Made this tonight and it was delicious. I didn't have parsley or mint so I used a little more broccoli. I also didn't use lemon zest or capers. I took the advice of other reviewers and used only two cloves of garlic, which was plenty garlicky. I add about 1/2 cup grated parmeggiano and fontina. I used whole wheat fusilli, which worked really well. I think I like it better than regular pesto!

I made this yesterday. It was excellent and I will definitely make it again. Thanks for the recipe!

Just made it this evening and it was WAYYY too much garlic! Besides that, it was very good. Just so we don't waste food, we're going to try adding tomato sauce or paste or something to offset the overpowering garlic.

Loved your menu but NEED RECIPES>PLEASE<thank you

I agree with everyone's comments, this is very good. That said, next time (and there will be a next time), I will use less garlic. I tend to agree with an earlier comment that there was way too much garlic.

I'm allergic to tree nuts. What can I substitute for the hazel nuts?

This was so awesome! I added spinach, almonds and walnut (no hazelnut), half parsley half cilantro, more olive oil, only 1 tsp of capers, half a lemon, and the right amount of broccoli. I loved it and it's so healthy and addicting! Thanks VT! Although I changed the recipe, the concept was something really great!

I absolutely loved these! I will definitely make this again. It was fantastic

great recipe -- easy to make with frozen organic broccoli florets -- taste is great -- I omitted the capers because I didn't have them in my pantry -- still was great tasting!

This was really great! I made a few changes: I used walnuts instead of hazelnuts, no mint and only one clove of garlic. I also added about a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a bit of cheesiness. Very yummy!

The final product was very tasty but I had to make major changes. I didn't add as much lemon zest as the recipe called for, I put it just a pinch with the 4 tbsp of lemon juice and I still found it to be a little too much. Also I added about a cup of Parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and no capers. It was very delicious and after all the alterations I do think it is something I will make again and again.

Tastes great. I added all the garlic (we love garlic) and thought it was just fine. Could use some nutritional yeast... next time!

Thank you so much for this recipe. It tasted sooo good: I only substituted sliced green salad olives for the capers because I had them already. I doubled the pesto recipe but kept the pasta the same. It was wonderfully full of flavor, the garlic, the lemon, the mint, all goes so well with the broccoli! I love hazelnuts but peeling them was alot of work. It was delicious, my 2 daughters loved it and we are always trying new Vegan recipes. *****

I just made the broccoli pesto tonight. I was skeptical about the huge quantity of garlic in this recipe, but I decided to go with it and follow the recipe as closely as I could with what I had on hand. It's definitely overpoweringly garlicky, and I'd halve the garlic next time, but it's still delicious! I also had to substitute hazelnuts for toasted almonds, which was all I had on hand. And along with the parsley and mint I threw in a bunch of basil that was gasping its last in my fridge. It's fantastically flavourful, and it works great as a vegan pesto, but I ended up missing the cheese so I added a bit afterward. It turned out super thick - the consistency is more like thick hummus than pesto without the addition of extra oil. I haven't tried it as a pasta toss yet, but I think it might not coat the pasta too well. I think it would make a fantastic spread, though, and I plan to make stuffed roasted tomatoes with it tomorrow. I can't wait to try this pesto out on a few different dishes!

This didn't turn out how I hoped. Like other comments said, the texture was a bit off. More of a dip than a sauce, I had to add extra oil to make mix with the pasta. Also I think it would have been a bit better textured, and perhaps flavored, if I would have steamed the broccoli instead of blanching it first. After everything it was bland. I was attracted to this recipe because of its relatively low calories per serving, but I had to add so much salt and oil to it that any benefits of the original nutritional count (which was already a bit high in the fat) were lost.

My family thought this was disgusting. Never making it again.

Made this today. I used walnuts instead of hazelnuts and as I didn't have enough parsley I added some chopped chard. I used juice of half a lemon instead of zest. I had trouble getting the mixture going in the blender so instead of more oil I used about 1/3 cup of the liquid from the broccoli and that really did the trick and made it more flavourful with a good consistency. I topped it with some chopped nuts and green onions. Very good and easy vegan recipe. I think the pesto itself could also be used on crackers as a dip.

Refrigerate the pesto until cold and use zuchinni made into spaghetti with a spiralizer in place of the farfalle and mix pesto and zuchinni together for an almost raw very excellent dish.

I think this is great! I used walnuts for the nuts and toasted them with my garlic. It was really tasty! I'll make this again.

I used some the other suggestions and added nutritional yeast and plenty of broccoli cooking water to get the right fluidity. I also substituted basil for the mint and tossed veggies in with the pasta and pesto: zucchini, olives, dried tomatoes, mushrooms and green onion. It was incredibly satisfying. I would consider tossing in some feta if I wanted to add a cheese.


Too green tasting for me.

My family and I really enjoyed this recipe! I halved the amount of parsley after reading some of the comments.