Broccoli Pesto

Fusilli Primavera with Broccoli Pesto

In April I wrote about coming up with creative ways to eat broccoli,  setting a goal of discussing seven different recipes.  Today I want to discuss four more ideas to bring the tally to seven.

First up is my most creative twist – Fusilli Primavera with Broccoli Pesto.  I subbed in steamed broccoli for basil to create a unique and tasty pesto.  It worked great as the sauce for a primavera style pasta that was stocked full of baby tomatoes and summer squash.

Broccoli Pesto

Broccoli Pesto

The next kitchen experiment used a grocery store find I have been waiting to try – sriracha powder. Blanched broccoli and honey roasted peanuts get a kick from a light sriracha mayonnaise dressing.

Sriracha Broccoli Salad

Third up is flash fried broccoli. I used my recipe for flash fried Brussels sprouts, though you only need to fry the broccoli for 2-3 minutes to get a crisp exterior.  This was just as much of a hit with my husband as the fried Brussels sprouts.

Flash Fried Broccoli

As the seventh and final way to eat broccoli in a week I’d be remise if I didn’t go with the classic crudité plate. My dipping sauce these days for fresh broccoli is a poblano ranch dressing.

Phew! Seven different ways to eat broccoli in a week.  Now you are either sick of broccoli or an addict.

Fusilli Primavera with Broccoli Pesto

¾ lb fusilli
½ lb fresh broccoli
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped baby tomatoes
1 yellow squash, chopped

Cook fusilli according to package directions.  Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.  Add the steamed broccoli to a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add the pine nuts and process until mixed, then with the food processor running, pour in the oil.  Scrap down the sides of the food processor if necessary, and blend until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the food processor and stir in the pecorino, salt, and pepper.  One the pasta is done, drain and place in a large bowl.  Pour the pesto over the pasta and stir to coat.  Add in the tomatoes and the squash, stir until combined and serve.

Broccoli Pesto

Sriracha Broccoli salad

½ lb fresh broccoli
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha powder
¼ cup honey roasted peanuts

Blanch the broccoli,  drain and place in a large bowl.  In a separate small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and sriracha powder until a smooth sauce is formed.  Pour over the broccoli, add the peanuts and stir to coat.  Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken

A few weeks ago I attended a goodbye dinner for a client. The mealtime banter was light and fun, and at one point turned to the grocery shopping habits of another client in attendance.  It turns out that despite that fact that his Denver field assignment is without his family, he can’t seem to pry himself from buying what he referred to as the “pillowcase” sized bag of broccoli and other warehouse goodies from Costco.  This means he eats a lot of the same meals, over and over.

I joked that I should write one of my blog posts on seven different ways to eat broccoli in a week. While said in jest, it sounded like a good challenge to me, just one I will write over two postings to keep you in suspense.

The first step was to buy a bag of broccoli at Costco.  It really is nearly the size of a pillow, but the price is fantastic so I can see the draw of purchasing the mammoth bag.  I must admit it is a lot for my family of four to get through in a timely fashion, so I can’t imagine trying to do so by myself.

Broccoli and Chicken

One of the ways we have enjoyed eating the broccoli is in a Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken Saute.  Equal parts of quickly boiled broccoli and cooked chicken chunks are slathered in a butter sauce that has a generous amount of fresh garlic, ricotta, and lemon pepper seasoning stirred in it.  The recipe I share below calls for cooking the chicken from scratch, but if you have leftover baked or grilled chicken (or even pork) it can easily be substituted.  

Broccoli and Chicken4

I’m counting the Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken as dish one. Two other broccoli dishes I would recommend are:

Tune in next month for the remaining four recipes of the seven different ways to eat broccoli in a week!

Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken

¼ cup +2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, chopped in 3/4 inch cubes
1 pound fresh broccoli florets
2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon pepper salt
¼ cup ricotta


Melt the ¼ cup butter in a large saute pan.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked throughout and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a 3 quart pan. Add the broccoli to the water and boil for 5 minutes, or until florets are bright green and begin to get tender; drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.  Remove the chicken from the saute pan and add to the broccoli.  Add the remaining butter to the saute pan, then once it is melted add the garlic to the saute pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until begin to brown. Stir in the ricotta and lemon pepper until the ricotta is mixed in, then pour over the chicken and broccoli.  Stir to coat, and then serve warm with rice, if desired.

Note: If you prefer to steam your broccoli, you can substitute broccoli that has been steamed for 5 minutes for the boiled version


Ninja Panini

Ah, the perils of a food blogger. Sometimes a recipe sounds better in your head, and when you try to execute the idea, it is quickly derailed. Point in case – my ninja panini.

Since Ninjas are trained in the art of stealth, I thought it would be a clever name for a sandwich that snuck in some broccoli. What better way to add some extra veggies to your kids diet, all the while fooling them with a fun name?

I started with some chopped up broccoli, diced ham, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese, and stirred them all together to make a filling.




I brushed the outside of my bread slices with butter, split my broccoli-cheese filling between four slices of the bread (butter side down) and spread the filling. I topped the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread and then grilled them in my indoor, double-sided grill ( alternatively, you can use a panini press or two heavy skillets).

The result was a golden, crunchy on the outside and deliciously gooey in the inside sandwich. I loved it, but unfortunately the kids were not fooled and didn’t eat much of it. I have actually seen them eat more broccoli serve raw AND without a dip.


The second disappointment was that the other element behind the name – the shape of the sandwich – was also a fail. I had wanted to use my ninja cookie cutters to shape the sandwiches. The cookie cutters aren’t sharp enough and the sandwich the wrong consistency, meaning I was left with more of a blob than a ninja.


Oh well. Failures are just as important to the crafting of culinary skills as successes!

Ninja Panini

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup diced broccoli
½ cup diced ham
8 slices of bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat a panini press.

Place the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, broccoli, and ham in the bowl of a large mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the cheese, broccol, and ham until a uniform spread is formed.
Lightly butter one side of each piece of bread. Turn four pieces of bread bread butter side down and evenly divide the cheese spread between the four slices, smearing it in an even layer. Top with the remaining slices of bread, butter side up. Grill the sandwiches in the panini press for 2 minutes each, or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. Remove the sandwiches (makes 4) and serve immediately.