Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts

I’ve been on a broccoli sprout kick lately and I love using my sprouting kit to well…sprout them! Their health benefits are many as we will discuss below plus Their health benefits are many as we will discuss below plus they satisfy my inner gardener, even if it’s on a micro scale. I have found many ways to incorporate these healthy sprouts into meals, including topping off avocado toast, added to salad and burgers and on pizza!

I thought it would be fun to supercharge homemade pesto by adding broccoli sprouts into the mix. The result was a vibrant, flavorful pesto packed with the goodness of these nutrient-dense greens. This Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts recipe is not only a nutritional powerhouse, it has a delightful lemony flavor with a bit of a bite!

broccoli sprouts in a food processor with a bowl of basil.

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About Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are not only incredibly easy to grow at home, but they’re also packed with nutrition that your body will love. One of the best things about growing your own sprouts is that you don’t need a ton of space or even a sunny window. These little guys are determined to grow!

What makes broccoli sprouts so special? They’re loaded with glucosinolates, which are compounds that convert into isothiocyanates when the sprouts are damaged or chewed. These isothiocyanates are like little superheroes that help fight inflammation and even have anti-cancer properties. It’s kind of like how garlic becomes more potent when you chop it up – the same thing happens with broccoli sprouts!

To get the most out of your broccoli sprouts, it’s best to break them down a bit before eating. This helps release an enzyme called myrosinase, which kicks off the conversion of glucoraphanin (a type of glucosinolate) into sulforaphane (a type of isothiocyanate). Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds! One of my favorite ways to do this is by making a delicious broccoli sprout pesto. Just toss those sprouts into a food processor with some other tasty ingredients, and voila! You’ve got a nutrient-packed sauce that’s perfect for broccoli pesto pasta, sandwiches, or even as a dip.

Click to shop for the supplies needed to sprout your own seeds.

Why You’ll Love Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts

  1. Nutritional powerhouse: Broccoli sprouts are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and well-being.
  2. Sulforaphane boost: The act of processing the sprouts helps release sulforaphane, a potent compound known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
  3. Bright, fresh flavor: The combination of fresh basil, zingy lemon, and the slight bitterness of broccoli sprouts creates a unique and delightful taste experience.
  4. Versatility: This pesto is perfect for tossing with pasta, spreading on sandwiches, drizzling over roasted veggies, or using as a dip for crackers and crudités for a healthy snack.
  5. Easy to make: With just a handful of ingredients and a quick whirl in the food processor, you can have a batch of this delicious and nutritious pesto ready in minutes.
  6. Customizable: Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences, such as adding more garlic, using different nuts, or incorporating other herbs like parsley or cilantro.
  7. Freezer-friendly: Make a big batch and freeze the extras in ice cube trays for convenient, single-serve portions that you can easily defrost and enjoy later.
  8. Impressive and unique: Serve this pesto to friends and family, and they’ll be wowed by the beautiful bright green color, the added nutritional boost and the unexpected (but delightful!) addition of broccoli sprouts.
  9. Supports healthy eating habits: Incorporating nutrient-dense foods like broccoli sprouts into your diet is a simple and tasty way to support your overall health and well-being.
  10. Satisfies your inner chef: Creating homemade, wholesome dishes like this pesto is a fun and rewarding way to express your culinary creativity and nourish yourself and your loved ones.
This Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts in a spoon.
A character drawing of an herb plant.

Shopping List:

Broccoli Sprouts

Fresh Basil

Garlic cloves

Lemon infused Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Parmesan cheese

Pine nuts



All the ingredients for this Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts labeled on an image.

Ingredients, Substitutions and Variations

  • Broccoli Sprouts: The star of the show! If you can’t find broccoli sprouts, you can use other types of sprouts like alfalfa or radish, or even microgreens for a similar nutritional boost.
  • Basil: Fresh basil is a classic herb used in traditional pesto ingredients. Experiment with other herbs like parsley, cilantro, or even mint for a unique twist.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds depth and complexity to the pesto. If you’re not a fan of raw garlic, try roasting it first for a milder, sweeter flavor.
  • Lemon-infused Olive Oil: This adds a bright, citrusy note to the pesto. If you don’t have lemon-infused oil, you can use regular olive oil and add some fresh lemon zest instead.
  • Olive Oil: Used to achieve the perfect consistency. For a lighter version, reduce the amount of oil and add more lemon juice or water to thin out the pesto.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan adds a salty, pleasant savory taste to the pesto. For a vegan version, substitute nutritional yeast or simply omit the cheese altogether.
  • Pine Nuts: Traditional in pesto, but they can be pricey. Feel free to use other nuts like walnuts, almonds, or cashews, or even seeds like sunflower, pumpkin or hemp seeds for a nut-free version.
  • Sumac: This Middle Eastern spice adds a tangy, slightly fruity note to the pesto. If you can’t find sumac, use a bit of extra lemon zest or a pinch of paprika for a similar effect.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt helps bring out all the flavors in the pesto. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste, keeping in mind that the Parmesan cheese also adds saltiness.
  • Variations:
    • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick
    • Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes for a sweet and savory twist
    • Stir in some Greek yogurt or avocado for a creamier texture
    • Blend in some baby spinach or kale for an extra dose of greens
    • Experiment with different nut and herb combinations to create your own unique pesto blends!
  • Consistency: Add a touch more oil or a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water to reach your desired pesto consistency.
  • Storing: Leftover pesto will keep for 5-7 days refrigerated with a thin layer of olive oil poured over the top to prevent browning. Or freeze in ice cube trays for easy portioning.
Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts ingredients in a food processor.
broccoli sprouts in a food processor with a bowl of basil.

Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts

Stephanie LeBlanc
This vibrant, nutrient-packed pesto combines the bright flavors of fresh basil and lemon with the superfood power of broccoli sprouts, creating a delicious and versatile sauce that's perfect for pasta, sandwiches, and more. This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 16 Tablespoons
Calories 72 kcal


  • 1 Food Processor


  • 2 pieces fresh garlic cloves or 3 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups broccoli sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • If using roasted garlic, prepare it in advance by cutting the top off a head of garlic, drizzling with olive oil, and wrapping in parchment paper first, then foil. Roast at 400°F for 30-40 minutes until tender and golden. Let cool, then squeeze out the cloves.
  • In a food processor, pulse the garlic (roasted or fresh) until finely minced.
  • Add the fresh basil and broccoli sprouts to the food processor. Pulse until the greens are finely chopped.
  • With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and lemon-infused olive oil through the feed tube. Process until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.
  • Add the pine nuts, shaved Parmesan cheese, sumac, and salt to the food processor. Pulse a few times until the nuts are chopped and all ingredients are well combined.
  • Taste the pesto and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more salt, sumac, or lemon-infused olive oil to suit your preferences.
  • Transfer the pesto to a jar or airtight container. If not using immediately, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface to prevent browning.


Notes: Store the pesto in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days, or freeze in a freezer bag or ice cube trays for easy portioning and longer storage.
Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts in a dish.

That’s the scoop on my new favorite pesto recipe featuring broccoli sprouts. This Lemony Basil Pesto Made with Broccoli Sprouts is super easy to make and seriously versatile. I’ve been using it on everything from pasta to sandwiches, and it always hits the spot in a healthy way!

What I appreciate about this recipe is how it takes the classic basil pesto and adds a nutritional boost with the broccoli sprouts. It’s a simple way to incorporate more greens into your diet without sacrificing flavor.

I encourage you to try this recipe out for yourself and see what you think. And if you enjoy recipes that highlight fresh herbs, stay tuned because I have more coming up. From salads to main dishes, I love finding new ways to incorporate herbs into my cooking.

So, keep an eye out for more herb-forward recipes in the future. In the meantime, enjoy your homemade pesto and have fun experimenting with broccoli sprouts!

my signature which is a drawing of me sitting.

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