Brussels Sprouts Tops Pesto, a super tasty food scrap pesto sauce recipe using the leaves from a brussels sprouts stalk instead of basil! This quick and delicious recipe is a great way to reduce food waste and uses just a handful of ingredients.

a bowl of pesto with brussels sprouts leaves on a white table with a gold spoon

Ever wondered if the leaves from brussels sprouts stalks are edible? They are! Brussels sprouts tops are a strong and sturdy leaf that's similar to collard greens, and its delicious in many recipes like this simple homemade pesto sauce.

👉 Here are three reasons why you should make pesto with brussels sprouts tops:

  • It's delicious! The brussels sprouts leaves add a note of earthy freshness to pesto.
  • It's eco-friendly. The leaves from brussels sprouts stalks are often thrown out because people don't realize they're edible. This recipe helps save them from the trash!
  • It's easy to make. This recipe comes together in 5 minutes with just a few quick steps. Simply blend the greens with nuts or seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Ready to learn how to make pesto from brussels sprouts leaves? Let's do it!


🥬 Ingredients you'll need

  • Brussels sprouts leaves: Leafy greens and herbs are the primary ingredients in pesto, and we used brussels sprouts tops for this recipe. Not only do they add freshness to pesto, they also provide important vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and folate.
  • Nuts or seeds: Pesto traditionally has pine nuts, but you can also use seeds like pumpkin or sunflower.
  • Cheese (or vegan alternative): Parmesan or pecorino cheeses are traditionally used in pesto, but you can also use nutritional yeast as a vegan cheese-alternative.
  • Olive oil: Adds flavor to pesto and helps maintain its texture.
  • Garlic, salt, and pepper: Used to season and add a boost of flavor to pesto.
  • Optional Ingredients: Balance out the pesto with acid and brighten the flavor with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Recommended tools: A food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board, and salad spinner are the main tools you will need to make celery leaf pesto.
fresh brussels sprouts leaves and bowls of nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and oil on a table
Ingredients: brussels sprouts tops, nuts or seeds, cheese, oil, garlic, salt, pepper

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Wash + prep brussels sprouts leaves

Start with washing the brussels sprouts tops by submerging in a bowl of water. Remove any dirt from the leaves, then take out of the bowl and lay flat on a plate or kitchen towel to dry. You can also use a salad spinner to dry the leaves.

Before making the pesto, remove any remaining hard stems from the greens and then slice them into thin strips so they're easier to add to the food processor.

washed brussels sprouts leaves in a colander on a white table
Wash and dry leaves

2️⃣ Step Two: Blend the greens, nuts or seeds, garlic, and oil

Toss the brussels sprouts leaves in a food processor. Add nuts or seeds and garlic cloves, and pulse until finely chopped.

As the ingredients are being blended, slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to pulse until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil but not completely smooth (you will want the pesto to be a little chunky)

Slowly drizzle in olive oil while pulsing the ingredients. Pulse until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil, but still chunky.

ingredients for pesto with brussels sprouts tops in a food processor on a white table
Add ingredients to a food processor

3️⃣ Step Three: Mix in cheese, spices, and lemon juice

Finish off the pesto by slowly adding cheese or nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Give it a taste and add more seasoning until the pesto is flavored to your liking!

blended pest with brussels sprouts tops in a food processor
Blend pesto in a food processor

❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

What can you do with brussels sprouts tops?

Brussels sprouts leaves are a sturdy leafy green that is similar to collard greens, and can be used in many different dishes, including salads, soups, smoothies, side dishes, sauces, and wraps.

Are brussels sprouts leaves healthy?

The leaves on brussels sprouts stalks are a healthy leafy green. They are high in vitamin vitamin K, vitamin C, and are a good source of fiber.

a bowl of brussels sprouts leaves pesto on a white table

👉 How to serve

There are endless ways to cook with pesto! Here are a few ideas for using this unique pesto sauce:

  • Sauce it or spread it. Pasta, pizza, or sandwiches are great paired with pesto.
  • Make it into a dip. Make a batch of pesto as a tasty dip or mix into hummus.
  • Dress it up. Pesto can easily be mixed into salad dressing for herbal drizzling.
  • Use it as a topping. Add flavor to your salads or soup by using pesto as a garnish. We suggest trying it with our Roasted Tomato Leek Soup.

🧊 How to store

Pesto is a great sauce to make once and use again and again. Here are tips for storing:

  1. Refrigerator storage: Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  2. Freezer storage: Store in a sealed freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.

💡 Pro tip: For best results when storing this pesto in the fridge or freezer, drizzle olive oil on top before placing it inside food storage containers to prevent the greens from browning.

green brussels sprouts tops pesto in a white bowl with a gold fork on a white table

♻️ More pesto recipes that reduce food waste

Can't get enough pesto? Look no further! Here are more food scrap pesto sauces:

Looking for more recipes using brussels sprouts leaves? Try sautéing brussels sprouts tops!

Brussels Sprouts Tops Pesto Sauce

Brussels Sprouts Tops Pesto, a super tasty food scrap pesto sauce recipe using the leaves from a brussels sprouts stalk instead of basil! This quick and delicious recipe is a great way to reduce food waste and uses just a handful of ingredients.
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Ingredients

  • 3 large brussels sprouts leaves
  • cup pine nuts, or other nuts or seeds
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • cup parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: squeeze lemon juice

Equipment

  • 1 food processor

Instructions 

  • Wash and prep the brussels sprouts leaves: Start by submerging brussels sprouts leaves in a bowl of water and cleaning it off, making sure to remove any dirt. Use a salad spinner to dry them or lay the eaves flat on a plate or kitchen towel. Once dry, slice the leaves thin to make them easier to fit into the food processor.
  • Blend the greens, nuts, garlic, and oil: Toss the cleaned and dried leaves in a food processor. Next, add nuts/seeds and garlic cloves. Pulse until finely chopped, slowly drizzling in olive oil until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil but still chunky.
  • Add nutritional yeast, spices, and lemon juice: Finish by adding in nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Give the pesto a taste and add more seasonings until it's flavored to your liking.

Notes

  • Nuts or seeds? Traditional pesto sauce uses pine nuts, but any nuts or seeds are perfect for pesto.
  • Tools Needed: food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board, salad spinner
  • Prep ahead: Make this simple pesto up to 2-3 days before serving, or freeze until ready to use
  • Leftovers and storage: Leftover pesto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months (possibly longer).
  • Nutrition notes: This recipe made as written (with nutritional yeast and pine nuts) is plant-based and gluten-free.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 118kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 70mg, Potassium: 44mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 59IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 1mg