Broccoli and Carrot Penne Pasta with Parsley Cilantro Pesto

broccoli carrot penne pesto pasta

If you glance into my fridge, you’re almost guaranteed to see a jar of pesto sitting on the top shelf.  I’m constantly making new jars of pesto and/or freezing pesto in an ice cube tray.  I buy lots of fresh herbs and, when my stock runs high, I’ll toss them into the food processor with some olive oil for pesto.   It’s perfect to have on hand for pasta, salads, and more!

I remember when I first started making pesto I thought it could only be made with basil leaves.  Boy, has my mind changed.  The classic basil pesto is delicious but I am equally enamored by my favorite parsley-cilantro pesto.   

Pesto is super versatile in the sense that you can use any greens you have (hey, kale pesto!).  Here are just a few things that make a difference for me when making pesto: 

  • An absolute must for me is toasting the nuts.  I know it’s an step you might want to be lazy and skip over.  Though, whether you buy raw or pre-roasted nuts, toasting them on the skillet before adding to pesto sauce is the ultimate flavor enhancer. 
  • Don’t skip out on the olive oil.  A good quality olive oil really MAKES the pesto.  Bad olive oil or all water in the pesto are not going to help it enhance your food. 
  • Salt is a must.  Taste as you go along but it’s better to have the pesto slightly salty than not enough salt.  The pesto gets mixed into the rest of your food so the saltiness won’t stay so concentrated. 

Onto the pasta recipe!   

Broccoli and Carrot Penne Pasta with Parsley Cilantro Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 serving
  • 2 oz of short cut pasta (I used penne)
  • 1½ c chopped broccoli
  • ½ c chopped carrot
  • 3 heaping tbsp of homemade pesto (see notes)
  • Hemp seeds, for topping
  • Nutritional yeast, for topping
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  1. Boil water and add pasta.
  2. Once cooked, add chopped broccoli and carrots, plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain pasta water. Stir in 3 tbsp pesto.
  4. Pour pasta into a bowl and top with a nice sprinkle of hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy! 💁
Cilantro Parlsey Pesto Recipe:
2 cups of fresh cilantro and parsley (I do about 1 ½ cups cilantro, ½ cup parsley)
½ cup roasted/toasted mixed nuts (I used almonds and cashews)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tbsp water, as needed
1 small clove of garlic
¼-½ tsp salt
Black pepper, to taste
A small pinch of red pepper flakes
Add all ingredients to a food processor and combine until a smooth paste forms. Thin it out with a few extra tablespoons of water or oil as needed.

This recipe was made as an entry into the #Banzaplus5 recipe contest on Instagram.  Feel free to use your favorite pasta!

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