Protein Packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta

A nutritious, protein-packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta using chickpea fusilli. The dairy free pesto is a real treat – made with fresh basil, nutritional yeast, hemp oil and cashews. On the table in 30 minutes.

Large serving bowl filled with a creamy broccoli pesto pasta made from chickpeas, on a wooden board and bunch of basil beside it

Quick has been the name of the game Chez Glucina this week. I feel a little like the master juggler, lots of balls up in the air – time with clients, self-study, recipe development, giving LIVELY™ Desserts some loving, prepping for my demo’s this weekend at the Food Show (will I see you there?!), and a little a side of housework. 

I can’t complain because firstly, I LOVE what I do, but secondly, my poor man is doing it tough in terms of long hours at the moment. He has single handedly set up (and runs) our LIVELY™ Desserts production facility, so is up at the first peep of dawn and home after I’ve already got a good episode or so of Ozark under my belt.

Meal of pesto pasta on the kitchen bench surrounded by pine nuts, lemon wedges and fresh basil

When he gets home, he is ravenous. His eyes gloss straight past me and scan the kitchen bench, looking for his plate of food.

Last week, he thought he was getting soup from me one evening, because he seemed a little sniffly. I changed my mind and made this Broccoli Pesto Pasta. When he came in the door, his eyes literally lit up. He ate two servings worth straight out of the big serving bowl. Inhaled. Feeding frenzy. Gone in sixty seconds. Licked clean. I tell you, it’s quite a spectacle to watch from the safety of the couch.

Anyway, let’s talk about the nutritional benefits of our lovely green bowl of speedy comfort food shall we?

Close up of a meal of broccoli pesto pasta garnished with fresh herbs

First, the pesto.

What is pasta without a good sauce? This pesto is a fabulous basic to have on hand, and I will post it as an individual recipe for easy searching at some point in time. Classic basil is my all time favourite, though you can go crazy with whatever herbs or greens you desire. Nutritional yeast is the dairy free answer to parmesan, and a blend of cashews with pine nuts give it a nice amount of creaminess. To mix it up, I chose hemp over olive oil, which I love because it has the perfect balance of your three essential fatty acids (3, 6 and 9).

Now, the pasta.

My newest culinary addiction is without a doubt the ever expanding range of legume pastas that have hit the shelf. Enter chickpea fusilli. Seriously, you would easily mistake this for a regular wheat based pasta, it truly is that good, perhaps just a little bit chewier that’s all. I love chickpea pasta because not only is it naturally gluten free, it also packs a pretty impressive protein punch (over 12g per serve). They also provide a good amount of dietary fibre (just as a side note however – my LIVELY™ Desserts range are almost as high in fibre as a serve of this pasta! Go LIVELY™!).

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Protein Packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta – Dairy Free, Gluten Free

Packed with vegetables

While the pasta is bubbling away, I sautéed some fresh leek and a whole head of broccoli chopped into delicate florets. Leeks are a great source of prebiotic fibre, providing you avoid over-cooking and caramelising them. Prebiotic fibre provides a food source for the good bacteria (i.e., probiotics) that live in the colon. And broccoli – we all need more broccoli in our lives! Broccoli produces a very potent anti-cancer compound called sulphoraphane, that has incredible antioxidant activity. Cooking destroys this valuable compound so it’s best to consume raw or very lightly steamed or sautéed.

Finally, a generous amount of sundried tomatoes to finish, and we’re done!

That’s all from me today, I hope you enjoy this nutritious, quick and easy winter meal, as much as my resident food shark.


Protein Packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta – Dairy Free, Gluten Free
5 from 2 votes

Protein Packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta

A nutritious, protein-packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta using chickpea fusilli. The dairy free pesto is a real treat - made with fresh basil, nutritional yeast, hemp oil and cashews. On the table in 30 minutes.
Serves 4.
Course Main
Cuisine Plant-based
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 572 kcal
Author Lauren Glucina



  • 2 cups fresh bail tightly packed
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cashews
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 large clove of garlic peeled and minced
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Ample black pepper freshly ground
  • 5 tablespoons hemp or olive oil both are equally as nice


  • 227 grams organic chickpea fusilli pasta (I used the Explore Cuisine brand, the whole packet)
  • 1 medium broccoli
  • 1 medium leek white part only
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes



  1. Wash the basil leaves and let dry or use a salad spinner (genius inventions those!). Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz till almost smooth. Transfer to a large pasta bowl. Note: this recipe will yield about 1 cup pesto.


  1. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
  2. Prep vegetables: wash and dry broccoli, remove stalk, and cut the florets into very small pieces. Finely slice the white part of the leek. Peel and mince the garlic. Thinly slice the sun dried tomatoes (if using semidried, wash excess oil off them and pat dry first).
  3. Heat oil in fry pan, medium heat. Cook leek till softened and add to the pasta bowl. Add a little more oil and cook broccoli florets till just soft, adding garlic toward the end. Transfer to pasta bowl.
  4. Once pasta has cooked (about 10 minutes) drain and rinse very quickly under cold water. Add to pasta bowl with the sliced sun dried tomatoes and toss everything to coat.
  5. Serve with fresh basil leaves!
Nutrition Facts
Protein Packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 572 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 45%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Sodium 154mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 62g 21%
Dietary Fiber 13g 52%
Sugars 9g
Protein 23g 46%
Calcium 17%
Iron 35%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


If you make and enjoy this recipe, please leave a rating!
@ascensionkitchen #ascensionkitchen

White bowl packed full of pesto pasta on a wooden chopping board with fresh herbs

 Vegan Broccoli Pesto Pasta – packed with protein, using chickpea fusilli. #broccolipestopasta #broccolipestopastavegan #legumepastarecipe #chickpeapastarecipe #broccolipestopastarecipes #veganpesto #veganpestorecipe #dairyfreepesto #AscensionKitchen   // Pin to your own inspiration board! //


Lauren Glucina is a plant-based whole foods Nutritionist, Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. She is a passionate advocate for food as medicine. Lauren has also formally trained as a Raw Foods Chef and has a soft spot for raw treats. 

Lauren is available for Natural & Nutritional Medicine consultations here.