The vilification of broccoli is a pet peeve of mine. For some reason people assume that broccoli is universally disliked. Why is that? I liked broccoli as a kid — not that my tastes have ever been normal, but that’s not the point.
It reminds me of when parents would bring their sons into the menswear store where I worked. They’d tell the boys to put on the “monkey suit” and have them flail their arms in a manner not recommended in formal wear, inform the child that it’s not meant to comfortable, and then act shocked when their kid doesn’t want to put it on again.
Why spend ten minutes convincing someone they won’t like something then act surprised when they listen to you? It’s always confused me.
My husband is not a broccoli fan, but he is a fan of semantics. (He is also a fan of broccoli cheddar soup on occasion.) I half-joke that he is my training for when we have kids to feed.
Instead of asking if he wanted to eat broccoli (answer: no), I asked if he wanted pesto (answer: yes!). Don’t get me started on how I have to describe potato salad. Did anyone else marry someone so contrary?
Instead of stupid-expensive pine nuts, walnuts add heft and healthy fat. In lieu of cheese, a touch of miso adds salty umami depth. Instead of pouring in olive oil, the secret ingredient for creaminess is pasta water. By adding the salted, starchy water from the pasta pan, it helps you blend the pesto without making it watery. It’s not unlike magic.
The pesto makes great leftovers; toss with hot pasta for a quick lunch. Rotini or fusilli pastas are great for trapping the pesto in their spirals, but any shape will do. For dinner tonight I had some with ear-shaped orecchiette (oh-reh-kee-et-tay) because it’s fun to say.
No miso? No problem. Non-vegans and the dairy-tolerant could still add Parmesan cheese, or even feta. A sprinkle of nutritional yeast might be nice, too. Leave out the miso and it’s soy-free.
Any recipe that gets my husband to eat broccoli is a good one to have in my arsenal, and even though I do like broccoli, I like having different ways to enjoy it. The raw garlic is punchy, the lemon gives the pesto some brightness, and the walnuts ground the mix. Go eat some green stuff!
Do you like broccoli? The first way I got my husband to eat broccoli was by roasting it.
- 12 ounces pasta
- 1 pound (about 4 cups florets) broccoli
- 2 tablespoons, divided salt
- 1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) walnut halves or pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon miso paste (optional)
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings (3 cups)