Spring Pesto with Broccoli Shoots

This is a springtime version of pesto. It's so simple and flavoursome, using broccoli shoots that will sprout from your broccoli plants once you cut the main head (or from a sprouting broccoli variety). Be aware not to overcook the broccoli, just a flash in the pan to soften the stalks.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 300 g


  • A bunch of broccoli shoots, about 200g (or 1 small head of broccoli, stalk included)
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Small bunch of flat-leaf (Italian parsley), about 50g
  • 30 g grated parmesan or pecorino, or 1-2 tsp miso paste for a dairy-free option
  • About 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Cooked spaghetti to serve - directions above


  1. Wash the broccoli shoots (if using a head of broccoli roughly chop), and place in a small saucepan with the water and salt. Cover and steam briefly for three to four minutes, just until the shoots turn a vibrant green. Drain and cover with cold water to refresh while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  2. Thoroughly drain the broccoli shoots in a sieve, then place in a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and parmesan or miso. Process briefly to combine, then with the machine going, drizzle in the olive oil until a rough paste is achieved. The aim is to have a thick dollop-able sauce if it's not then add more oil. Season to taste.
  3. Spoon the pesto into a jar and store in the fridge for up to three days.
  4. To serve, cook the spaghetti as described above, then fold through two heaped tablespoons per person. Serve with grated parmesan and olive oil.