Broccoli pesto pasta recipe


1 minutes

29 September 2021

Broccoli pesto pasta

Need some healthy dinner inspiration? Throw together this simple and delicious pasta dish from The CSIRO Gut Care Guide.

Full of green vegetables and a homemade basil pesto, this pasta dish is fresh, flavoursome and easy to make.

This recipe was created by CSIRO research scientists to include a healthy combination of whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats and protein, and is published in The CSIRO Gut Care Guide.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 150 g low-GI wholemeal pasta
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 cup (155 g) frozen peas
  • 4 cups (60 g) chopped cavolo nero or kale
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 200 g drained tinned tuna in spring water
  • 40 g parmesan, shaved

Broccoli pesto

  • 1 head broccoli, florets and stem, chopped into 1–2 cm pieces
  • 2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch coriander, stems and leaves, roughly chopped
  • 60 g parmesan, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. To start the pesto, scatter the broccoli over a large baking tray and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the garlic cloves, then place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Scatter over the walnuts and roast for a further 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and lightly charred and the walnuts are golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain and set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and zucchini and cook for 8–10 minutes until tender. Add the peas and cavolo nero or kale and cook for 2 minutes, until the peas have thawed and the cavolo nero or kale has wilted. Remove from the heat while you finish the pesto.
  5. Tip the roasted broccoli and walnuts into a food processor and squeeze in the flesh from the garlic cloves. Add the remaining olive oil, basil, coriander and parmesan and blitz to form a chunky paste.
  6. Add the pesto, drained pasta and lemon juice to the frying pan and toss through the vegetable mixture to coat. Season with black pepper and add the tuna, then gently toss again.
  7. Divide evenly among four bowls, sprinkle over the parmesan and serve.

Tip: To make this vegetarian, leave out the tuna and mash 1 boiled egg through each bowl of pasta instead.

Recipe extracted with permission from The CSIRO Gut Care Guide by Michael Conlon, Pennie Taylor, Dr Cuong D Tran and Megan Rebuli. Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99. Photography by Rob Palmer.


This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.