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Healthy broccoli and pumpkin seed pesto: vegan, dairy free

Posted Nov 23 2012 10:03am

Pesto pasta is a classic winter dish, everyone loves it. It’s so beautifully simple, yet so delicious. I find, however, that it can get a little heavy and rich, so I’ve been trying new lighter, healthier versions and this one was such a winner!

It’s made from a seriously awesome list of ingredients too: broccoli, roasted pumpkin seeds, lemon, avocado, basil and toasted pine nuts! Blended together they make the creamiest, freshest, lightest pesto ever. It’s amazing, and a really refreshing change form a classic. My wonderful taste-testing flatmate even declared it the best thing she’s eaten, which is a pretty huge compliment! I have a feeling that you’ll love it too.

Of course as with everything else I make, it’s super good for you! Much better than normal pesto. Pumpkin seeds really add an awesome touch as they are just unbelievably good for you. They’re bursting with protein, fibre, anti-oxidants, vitamins B & E and cholesterol lowering oleic acid, as well as having great amounts of the of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Basically these seeds are like little super foods and we all need them in our lives!

All the other ingredients also give you tons of goodness, everyone knows that broccoli and avocado do wonders for the body, but it’s the pumpkin seeds that are really exciting as they’re not something most people tend to eat everyday, so this is a great way to incorporate them into your diet and turn a classic pesto into a delicious, health enhancing sauce.

If you stir the pesto into pasta sprinkling extra roasted pumpkin seeds on the top as they add the most delicious crunch to the dish! Yum. It tastes great spread over toast too with a few chopped cherry tomatoes sprinkled on top – one of my favourite snacks!

Makes one bowl, enough for three pasta servings

- 2 cups of broccoli (half a floret)

- 1 1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves

- 1/3 of a cup of pumpkin seeds, plus a few extra to sprinkle on top

- 1/3 of a cup of pine nuts

- 1/3 of a cup of water

- 1/2 a ripe avocado

- 1 lemon

- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

- 2 tablespoons of olive oil

- salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Once hot bake the pumpkin seeds together with the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes, until they turn ever so slightly brown.

While these cook, chop the broccoli into small florets and steam until green and tender, it doesn’t need to be fully cooked though. This should take 3-5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, broccoli to a food processor with all the remaining ingredients and blend for a few minutes until a smooth, creamy paste forms.

Then stir into drained pasta, top with some extra broccoli florets, toasted pumpkin seeds and a little chopped basil. Heaven!

Or if you’re feeling a little more lazy spread it over some crackers or rice cakes, or use it as a delicious crudités dip – however you eat it, enjoy – it’s delicious!

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