Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Penne and Sauteed Broccolini

Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Sauteed Broccolini

This pesto tastes like spring; it’s fresh, green, bright, and crisp with a hint of sweetness. The peppery, green taste of the arugula is nicely set off by the creamy, sweet pistachios. This was my first time trying broccolini, and can I tell you something?

It might be my new favorite vegetable.

It’s a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli (also know as Chinese cabbage or Chinese kale). It’s sweeter and more tender than broccoli with long, delicious stalks. It’s mild with a teeny tiny mustard bite. In other words, it’s totally awesome.

It’s so mild and tender, you can definitely eat it raw. When you’re cooking it, less is more. For this recipe I cooked it very quickly over very high heat – that way I could caramelize it without overcooking. It’s so good. Do pick some up if you run across it at the market.

Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Sauteed Broccolini

Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Penne and Sauteed Broccolini
Serves 2

8 Stalks Broccolini
2 Cups Dry Penne
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Pinch Salt

Pistachio Arugula Pesto – Serves four
1/2 Cup Roasted, Unsalted Pistachios
2 Tbs Sweet White Miso
1 Pinch Salt
2 Cups Arugula
4-5 Tbs Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Start heating your water. Place pistachios in the bowl of a food processor with salt and miso and pulse 4 times for 1 second per pulse. Roughly chop arugula and add it to the top. Drizzle in olive oil. Do not finish processing until pasta is completed.

Cook your pasta. A few minutes before pasta is finished, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan until over medium until fairly hot but not smoking. Trim any dry ends off the broccolini but leave a long stalk. Add it to the hot pan with a pinch of salt. Let cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, or until browned, then turn with tongs to cook another side. When broccolini is bright green and tender crisp, turn off heat and add vinegar, tossing vigorously to coat.

Blend the pesto until well combined, but you should still be able to see chunks of pistachios and arugula.

Drain and toss pasta with 1/2 cup of pesto (you’ll have some left over). Plate and layer broccolini stalks on top. Serve immediately.

Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Sauteed Broccolini


  1. Lolo


    Mama – That’s 1 cup dry, so it expands. I find that 1.5 cups of the pasta I usually use is enough with added veggies, but when I serve that much people (who aren’t me) say it’s too much! So I reduced it to 1 cup per serving. Maybe I should increase it again!

  2. Kate

    Oh man, Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Penne and Sauteed Broccolini looks amazing. I really want to try this recipe but I am not usre where to find broccolini. hmm.

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  4. Chris

    That looks so good! I’ve had broccolini maybe once or twice but it’s been a long time. I might just have to pick some up the next time I see it.

  5. Z-Dog

    Wow, does that look delish. I must run out right now and get some broccolini. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  6. miin

    Broccolini is the best freaking vegetable in all existence! I was addicted to it when I lived in Melbourne (unfortunately at $2.98 for 5 sticks of non organic, it was sending me broke).

    Now that I’m raw, I usually will “soften” the broccolini in celtic sea salt (you leave it for a few hours- you can do this with kale also) and after getting the salt off and some seasoning- BRILLIANT!

    I love your blog btw and wish I had known of it earlier (back when I ate cooked vegan food!).

    I’m still buying a copy of your book when it comes out :P

  7. Devery

    WOW we love you! My husband made this for dinner tonight and it is unbelieveable!

    Looking forward to “Veganomicon,” aka, “our Harry Potter 7,”


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  9. Emily

    This looks amazing! I have never had broccolini (always on my “looks appetizing, but too pricey…just buy broccoli and walk away” list.) this makes me want to make the purchase, though! I’m too intrigued not to.

    On another note, I had planned on making your baba ghanoush for a party tonight and when I tried to find it on the site today, I couldn’t. Did I just miss it? Please help!

  10. Emily

    Oooh, I just realized I found the recipe on fatfreevegan. Sorry!! You should make one, though — I’d love to see what you do with it.

  11. the village vegan

    That looks so delicious. Definately something I’ll try next week when I have a kitchen!

    Brocollini sounds a lot like brocolli raab. What’s the difference? Or are they the same thing?

  12. vegan noodle

    Like you, I only tried broccolin for the first time a few weeks ago, and I totally agree that is is awesome! Thanks so much for posting the pesto recipe! I have been eating a ton of pesto lately and have been looking for some variety.

  13. katie

    I am making this tonight but only found “mellow white miso” and nothing in the sweet variety. I hope it is close enough to make this as tasty. Where do you acquire your miso? I have been having trouble finding each kind.

    I have been in love with broccolini for ages, surprised that it hasn’t been readily available where you live. I used to buy it in st louis all the time and then its always my first pick (over broccoli) for a side veggie.

  14. katie

    This was the biggest hit tonight – totally surprising flavors and it was amazing. I added a tsp or so of agave, to make up for not using “sweet” miso and it worked perfectly.

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  18. tess

    Fantastic. I made this for dinner last night, and wanted to continue eating it for days. I couldn’t acquire broccolini, so used one stalk of broccoli, trimmed into nice slim florets. I blanched them for about 30 seconds, then sauteed them in olive oil until they were tender & browned. Oh! And using fresh pasta made it even better. Thanks!

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  20. Debs


    I have fallen in love with your blog over the past 3-4 months and have tried out two recipes.

    This time, I absolutely had to write in and tell you – I made the pesto arugula pesto pasta this week and it seems to have become my 18 month old daughter’ s favorite food :-) She was jumping up and down in her high chair demanding seconds (and thirds)!!


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  22. Tara

    YUM. I made this for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious. I’m vegetarian, but striving to make more of my foods vegan. This was a great dish with lots of flavor. It was super easy to prepare and fast too, which means I’ll be serving it up for dinner guests at some point. Thanks!

  23. verydeliciousveggie

    LOL – if Debs 18 month old demands Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Penne and Sauteed Broccolini, well, then… I must try it out immediatly – if not sooner ;)

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