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Broccoli with pesto in a white bowl

Broccoli pesto pasta with charred kale recipe

This recipe is rich in fibre, which has health benefits for the heart, digestive system and more. The dish also provides magnesium and calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Pasta with pesto and broccoli in a grey bowl

Cashew nuts and dark green leafy vegetables are also good sources of magnesium, which helps to convert food into energy and supports good bone health. Dark green vegetables such as kale and broccoli are excellent plant-based sources of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.

This recipe will also help you eat more sustainably, as every part of the main ingredients are used in the dish.

Serves 4


  • 150g wholewheat penne
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 30g basil
  • 15g fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 20g roasted chopped cashews
  • 30g vegetarian hard cheese or Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
  • 100g kale
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of chilli flakes


  1. Start by removing all the florets from the head of broccoli. Place florets into a bowl and finely chop the remaining stalk. Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch 200g of the broccoli florets for 3 minutes, drain and immediately refresh under cold water.
  2. Place the florets into a food processor along with the basil, oregano, nuts and cheese, and blitz until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil until you have a rough pesto texture. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. Prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the stalk and setting aside. Finely chop the stalks. In a pan of boiling water, cook the pasta following the pack instructions, adding any florets you have remaining for the last 4 minutes of the cooking time.
  4. While the pasta cooks, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the broccoli and kale stalks along with the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until tender, then add the kale leaves and a pinch of chilli flakes and cook for 2 minutes until the kale slightly colours.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water, and add to the pan with the kale. Add the broccoli pesto and mix through the pasta to coat, adding some of the reserved pasta water if necessary. Serve the pasta in bowls with some extra cheese to finish.

Rob Hobson MSc RNutr is an award-winning registered nutritionist (AFN) and sports nutritionist (SENR) with over 15 years of experience. He founded London-based consultancy RH Nutrition, and has degrees in nutrition, public health nutrition and sports nutrition.

Find out more at Rob Hobson's website, or read more about Healthspan's health experts.