This simple to prepare dish with our Woodsy flavored Broccoli Pesto sauce

This simple to prepare dish with our Woodsy flavored Broccoli Pesto sauce

Woodsy Broccoli Pesto from the Grill! Click To Tweet

Listen to our blog

I purchased several heads of broccoli recently and decided to smoke them using one of my favorite short cut methods for smoke vapor infusion.  My Nordic Ware Kettle Stove Top Smoker allows me to get the flavor level I like in about 20 minutes using only my stove for fuel.

Once I have my broccoli smoked, I’m going to produce a smoked broccoli pesto that is perfect for so many foods and purposes.  This is super easy and doesn’t take a lot of time to make and it keeps well in the refrigerator.

Easy Smoking Technique

Here are the steps I used for smoking in the Nordic Ware unit but you can adapt these to pretty much any stovetop unit.

our stove top smoked broccoli

#smokedbroccoli

I’ve placed the unit on the largest burner of my stove top, added about ¼ cup of Minuto® Wood Chips #4 from SmokinLicious® in the base pan, topped with the drip pan, and then added the food tray with the broccoli cut into florets.  Total time to smoke and tenderize the broccoli will be about 20 minutes.  Usually a medium-high heat setting generates about 275°F of heat for the cooking process just target to be in the 275-300°F range.  With the broccoli smoked, it’s time to make the pesto.  In addition to the smoked broccoli, there are 6 additional ingredients: salt, pepper, basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and grated Parmesan cheese.

Tasting Notes: You can use any method of smoking the broccoli based on the equipment you have available but if you do want to try a stove top method without having to purchase a ready-made unit, try our method using a standard 2-quart stockpot.

A Quick Process to Pesto

Pesto ingredients

#pesto

Pesto is one of those items that is simple to make but so many people will buy ready-made from the store.  You’ll get a much fresher taste quality when you produce your own.

Start by getting a large capacity food processor with a standard blade.  Place the smoked broccoli florets in the processor bowl, followed by a ¼ cup grated parmesan, ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice from ½  a lemon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  Process all the ingredients until smooth.  You likely will need to add a bit more olive oil to reach the right consistency for your taste.  Remember, this is going to produce about 2 cups of pesto so start with a lighter amount of oil as this ingredient can be added later when you decide how you’re planning to use the pesto.  For me, I’ll be starting with a simple pesto noodle that I intended to add some sliced pork to.

Tasting Notes: Each food processor is different so start on pulse and then work to maintain the motor on for a smooth result.  Feel free to drizzle additional olive oil into the mixture while the processor is running, just do so in drips rather than a stream amount.

Think Endless Uses

There are so many uses for our smoked broccoli pesto!  I’ll be adding ¼ of my 2-cup pesto production to some hot egg noodles that will act as a bed to lay some Asian marinated pork in.

Here are some other uses to consider: use in rice, pastas that have ridges for the pesto to cling to, on a sandwich, or use as a topping for chicken, fish, and pork.  I’m sure you’ll come up with other great uses as well.  The batch you make from the single head of broccoli will last for about 7-10 days if stored in the refrigerator.  If you can store in glass, it will likely last longer.  With broccoli readily available most of the year, this is a treat to be enjoyed anytime!

finished mixed Broccoli Pesto

#smokinlicious #pesto

What’s your favorite pesto recipe?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used for this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to Pesto beyond Broccoli Pesto visit these pages!

Related recipes:

-CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP!

-TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

Dr. Smoke- When searching for a different pest don't forget about Broccoli Pesto but add a Woodsy twist from the grill!

Dr. Smoke- When searching for a different pest don’t forget about Broccoli Pesto but add a Woodsy twist from the grill!

Our Charred Broccoli soup ingredients, in the pot and finished soup

Our Charred Broccoli soup ingredients, in the pot and finished soup

CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP WITH GRILLED BROCCOLI FLORETS

listen to the audio of this blog posting

Known as the mini tree, broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family that includes cabbage, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, and kale to name a few.  Broccoli is low in calories and packed with nutritional value including Vitamin K, C, folate, and potassium.

Although popular as a steamed or stir-fry vegetable, one of the great things when grilling broccoli is it doesn’t lose any nutritional value and you gain great flavor.

I’m going to give you two easy ways to bring wood flavor to broccoli using the equipment of your choice.  Then I’ll tell you how to make an easy broccoli soup that is loaded with hearty flavors of the wood fire.

Gas Grill Method

We are roasting our broccoli on the grates on the gas grill over a wood chunk placed on the diffuser.

One of the benefits of using a gas grill is the heat level control and speed at which the grill can do what you want.  For this method of grilling, I’ll first get four wood chunks from SmokinLicious® in the double filet size and place on one of the grill’s heat shields.  This will be the easy way of adding wood flavor to the broccoli while it cooks.  Set the burners to medium and allow the grate to heat up and the smoke to generate from the wood chunks.  Then place pre-cut broccoli florets on the grill grate keeping some space between the pieces.  I usually can close the lid for the first 5-8 minutes before things start to cook rapidly.  At that point, you’ll need heat-safe tongs to turn the broccoli so it cooks and colors evenly.  Once done, remove to a bowl and allow to cool.

Stovetop Smoker Method

Our Nordic Ware® stovetop smoker adding flavor to our broccoli

Stovetop smokers are perfect for the person who lives in a location that a grill isn’t possible, or who prefers to cook indoors but craves smoke flavor.  I’m using the indoor kettle smoker from Nordic Ware® which uses a wood chip product to produce the smoke.  SmokinLicious® offers a great assortment of wood chip sizing with recommendations specifically for stovetop smokers.  I am using a custom blend of Minuto® Wood Chips in #4 White Oak, #8 Wild Cherry and #6 Hickory.  You can view our series on the specific steps of this method in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique blog.  Unlike the gas grill method, with this one, just load the broccoli florets to the smoker tray, put the cover on and come back in about 40 minutes for the finish.

Bring on the Soup!

After wood firing the broccoli, it’s time to gather the additional ingredients to make our charred broccoli soup.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 6 cups of wood-fired broccoli, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 fresh avocado, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups of broth plus extra for thinning soup
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper

To start the soup, place the oil in a pot and add the diced onion, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic.  Allow time to cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Then add the 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil.

After tenderizing the aromatics and adding the broth, add the 6 cups of chopped wood fired broccoli.  Allow the flavors to marry for about 5 minutes on boil, then turn the heat off.  Add the 3 cups of baby spinach, mixing to combine.  Allow the mixture to cool until just warm.

Place ½ the mixture in a blender or food processor with some of the diced avocado and pulse until pureed.  At this stage, the soup mixture will be thick.  Once the ingredients are completely pureed, transfer back to the pot and place on low heat.  You can alter the thickness of your final soup by adding broth as needed.  Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

We now add our spinach to the pot.

Happiness in a Bowl

Once the soup has been returned to the stove on low heat, you can start to alter the consistency and flavors to suit your taste.  If you prefer a thinner soup, add broth.  Don’t like quite that much smoke flavor?  Add a touch of cream or sour cream to balance out the flavors.  Like a bit more kick?  A drop or two of hot sauce works great.  Once the consistency is achieved, top each serving with a drip of cream and some chopped avocado.  Or, if you want to be dairy free, add a stream of olive oil and chopped avocado.  This is a soup that you can make your own.

I’ve gone cheese-free but you certainly can add that as well.   Frankly, this soup is even yummy served cold.  No matter if you pick the gas grill method or the stovetop method, you’ll have a flavorful, hearty broccoli to use in this soup recipe or other recipes featuring this healthy cruciferous vegetable.

Tasting Notes on our Charred Broccoli Soup recipe:

To tone down the boldness of the smoke, always reach for hardwoods that are noted to be lighter in flavor tones.  These would include Alder, Ash, and Wild Cherry.

If you want to make this a cream-based soup, simply add ¾ cup of light cream or ½ cup of sour cream to the finished soup.  Allow for marrying with the other ingredients for 10-15 minutes before serving.

If you’re looking for a broccoli-cheese version, good choices for cheese include white cheddar, Gruyere, Asiago, Maasdam.

If you want a thinner soup consistency, add an additional 1 cup of broth.

For a spicy kick, add 2 teaspoons of hot sauce or a tablespoon of Hoisin sauce.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

-Smoked Squash & Kale Soup

-NO, IT’S NOT SLAW JUST SMOKED CABBAGE!

-PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

Dr. Smoke- you must try our Charred Broccoli Soup!