Melissa Hemsley Shares Her Favourite Zero Waste WFH Lunch

By Rosina Borrelli | 11th March 2021

Wondering what to do with those wilting veggies in the back of your fridge? Chef, cookbook author and food activist, Melissa Hemsley shares her favourite WFH lunchtime pasta dish that helps to combat food waste with her ‘no waste’ pesto sauce.

Renowned for her colourful recipes, Melissa is passionate about teaching individuals how to cook sustainably by sharing her passion for tasty, nourishing seasonal food sources from resources, land and people who are respected. She’s recently partnered with Maldon Salt to share with you this nourishing and delicious recipe. Who can say no to pasta anyway?

A  Vibrant Spring Veg Bowl

Combine British purple sprouting broccoli  with garlic, lemon and a generous pinch of salt  to make Melissa’s ‘no waste’ pesto-y sauce. This will mix perfectly with your favourite beans and a few handfuls of cooked pasta. It is really tasty flavoursome dish and only takes 20 minutes to make.

Serves 2


Broccoli ‘pesto’ sauce – makes lots

  • The bottom half of the broccoli stems
  • 30g fresh basil & basil stalks  – also delicious with a mix of parsley & basil
  • 30g toasted pine nuts or walnuts or fave seeds
  • Handful grated hard British cheese or parmesan or pecorino
  • 1 big garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and a little zest
  • Pinch of Maldon Salt and black pepper


  • 1 x 400g tin beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 handfuls uncooked pasta, your favourite type
  • 300g purple sprouting broccoli or regular broccoli
  • Pinch of Maldon Salt

To serve

  • Chilli flakes and Lemon zest and more cheese if you like


1.     Start by toasting the pine nuts or walnuts in a small frying pan for about 1.5 minutes on each side until golden and fragrant.  I recommend not skipping this step as worth it for the extra flavour. Tip half the pine nuts in a blender or food processor and keep the rest aside for garnishing.

2.      Pop the rest of the pesto ingredients (apart from the broccoli stems) in the blender or food processor.

3.        Bring a medium pan of salted boiling water to the boil and add the purple sprouting broccoli to simmer for 3 minutes until just tender then immediately remove and transfer to a bowl.

4.              Keep the pan on the hob, add the pasta and cook according to label instructions.

5.         Use scissors or a knife to chop off the bottom half of the broccoli stems and put the stems straight into the blender and blitz until you get a thick pesto type sauce. Taste for seasoning and if v thick, add a splash of the pasta cooking water.

6.          Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta, reserving ½ a mug of pasta water then mix the drained beans or chickpeas into the hot pasta to heat through and add 3 – 4 tbsps of the broccoli pesto.  Serve up topped with the broccoli stems and the rest of the toasted nuts plus some chilli flakes, lemon zest and extra cheese if you like. Keep the extra pesto in a sterilised reused jar with lid and drizzle some extra olive oil on top, avoid double dipping and it will keep for 5 days to add to fried eggs, top chillis and soups or to go into wraps and wherever you like to add pesto!

Check out our interview with the extremely talented Jasmine Hemsley


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