Pesto Vegetable Bowls

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Perfectly roasted cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and white beans atop a bed of easy (5-minute) pesto couscous. This easy vegetarian Pesto Vegetable Bowl is packed with flavor, protein, and healthy fats.

Adding basil pesto to roasted vegetables is a game changer! The pesto makes these veggie bowls more filling, flavorful, and crave-able.  These pesto vegetables work great for weekly meal prep. You can also add chicken (using this chicken marinade) to these Pesto Vegetable Bowls.


Overhead image of the ready-to-eat Pesto Roasted Veggie Bowls.

I know I’m jumping the gun a bit by sharing a pesto recipe when fresh basil isn’t quite in season yet, but the point of this recipe is healthy food–fast.

While I’ll be the first to tell you that homemade is always best, there are times when homemade isn’t practical. Often, the best intentions to eat healthily are thwarted, thanks to actual life — from time restraints to all the random things that come up in daily life.

So, if eating healthier and getting your veggies in could use a shortcut, well I’m all for it.

Today we’re using store-bought pesto and it really makes this dish exceptionally easy. And while there is a bit of upfront time chopping vegetables, you could even buy pre-chopped vegetables for one heck of a short prep time. Let’s get started!
Image of the broccoli and cauliflower that are going to be used in these Pesto Veggie Bowls.

How to make these Pesto Vegetables

  • Roast the veggies: Cut the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots all into bite-size pieces. Here’s a guide to cutting and making roasted carrots. By cutting the carrots into thin diagonal cuts, they’ll roast at the same rate as the broccoli and cauliflower. 
  • Make the pesto couscous base: For these bowls, we’re using Moroccan couscous which takes less than 10 minutes to make. 
  • Assemble your bowls: Grab a bowl, fill it with the pesto couscous, and then load on the veggies and beans. Add some fresh avocado, another spoonful of pesto, and sprinkle some sliced honey-roasted almonds on top. Snap an Instagram shot here! 😉


Confused about couscous? The most popular types of couscous are Moroccan, Israeli, and Lebanese. The smallest, Moroccan is about three times the size of cornmeal and cooks up in about five minutes. Israeli couscous (a.k.a. pearl couscous) takes about twice as long, mainly because the individual pieces are much larger. Moroccan couscous is the most common type for American recipes. Lebanese couscous is about the size of a small pea and takes the longest to cook. All couscous is made from semolina flour and is actually a type of pasta–cut extra, extra small.

Overhead image of the carrots being chopped and prepared for these Pesto Veggie Bowls.

A few quick tips

  • Picking out the vegetables: Try to get the freshest vegetables you can. Here are a few tips for picking out the best broccoli and cauliflower: 
    • Check how firm the stem/stalk is; if it feels soft and weak, steer clear of it.
    • The closer together the florets of the broccoli or cauliflower, the better it is.
    • Avoid stems with florets drooping away from the center.
    • Avoid stems with yellow leaves around them.
  • Getting fresh pesto: I highly recommend buying a container of fresh pesto at your nearest grocery store. My favorite brand of pesto is Buitoni® basil pesto (not sponsored, just a fan!) The flavor is a thousand times better than jarred pesto. Of course, you can always make your own too!
  • The toppings: While optional, the honey-roasted almonds and avocado add a lot! Not only do they make the dish more filling (healthy fats!), but they also add texture and flavor.

Overhead image of the oil being added to the veggies that are about to be roasted for these Pesto Veggie Bowls.

My top tip for roasting veggies

Use a LARGE sheet pan: The more space the vegetables have (aka the less crowded they are) the better they roast. When vegetables are overlapping or jammed into a sheet pan, they end up steaming instead of roasting– which greatly affects the end taste and texture. I’ve started using this 15×21-inch sheet pan – which is practically the width of my oven. I can’t recommend the large sheet pan enough!

Overhead image of the roasted veggies and pesto used for these Pesto Veggie Bowls.

Bowl variation ideas

  • Nuts: Instead of roasted almonds, try chopped pistachios.
  • Cheese: Feta, goat cheese, or Parmesan would work great in these bowls.
  • Add protein: Grill some chicken (use this chicken marinade), slice it up and add it to the bowls.
  • Change up the veggies: Replace the broccoli with roasted Brussels sprouts, use sweet potatoes in place of carrots, or try roasting some cherry tomatoes with asparagus! 
  • Change up the beans: Use the spice mix and directions in this chickpea salad for some perfectly roasted chickpeas you can add to the vegetables.

Overhead image of the Pesto Veggie Bowls ready to eat, with toppings added.

Serve these pesto vegetables alongside

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Pesto Vegetable Bowls

5 from 6 votes
Perfectly roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots atop a bed of easy (5-minute) pesto couscous. This easy vegetarian meal is packed with flavor, protein, and healthy fats.
Print Recipe

Pesto Vegetable Bowls

5 from 6 votes
Perfectly roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots atop a bed of easy (5-minute) pesto couscous. This easy vegetarian meal is packed with flavor, protein, and healthy fats.
Course Dinner, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword pesto vegetables
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 737kcal


  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets (~2 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (~5 & 1/3 cups)
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and sliced (~2 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder and paprika
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup Moroccan (not pearl) couscous
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock (can also use water)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup good quality Basil Pesto Sauce, store-bought or homemade (I recommend Buitoni's fresh-made (refrigerated) basil pesto for this recipe!)
  • 2 large lemons, (3 tablespoons juice + additional wedges for serving), separated
  • 1 large ripe avocado, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1/3 cup honey-roasted almonds (I buy pre-roasted honey roasted almonds -- the "ready-made for salads" type)


  • VEGETABLES: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces (see pictures for general sizes)*. The broccoli and cauliflower should be cut into bite-sized florets and carrots sliced on the diagonal, each cut 1 inch apart from the last cut.
  • Place all the veggies on a very large sheet pan (use 2 sheet pans if the vegetables will overlap) and add olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, and salt + pepper (to taste) on top of the veggies. Using your hands, toss ingredients together and roast for 10 minutes, remove and stir/flip around, and return to the oven for another 7-14 minutes or until crisp tender (timing will depend on the size of the vegetables and how roasted you like your veggies).
  • Remove the veggie tray from the oven and add the drained and dry white beans directly on to the tray, and toss together to warm the beans through. Add 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and a bit more salt and pepper (I add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, but add to personal preference.) and toss again. Set aside.
  • COUSCOUS: Meanwhile, add the chicken stock (or veggie stock or water) to a small pot. Add in the butter and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat. Stir in the couscous and cover the pot with a lid. After about 5 minutes the liquid should be absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Stir in 1/4 cup pesto, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (again, add to personal preference on salt and pepper).
  • ASSEMBLY: Fill 4 bowls with even amounts of the pesto couscous. Add the roasted veggie and bean mixture. Add fresh avocado to each bowl and top with even amounts of the honey-roasted almonds. If desired, add a wedge of lemon to each bowl. Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup pesto evenly over the bowls, using more or less to your taste preference. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

*If you're worried about your carrots not being roasted enough to your preference, place them on a different sheet pan from the broccoli and cauliflower. The carrots can be cooked longer that way. 

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 737kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 1704mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 16697IU | Vitamin C: 244mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 4mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Omg Chelsea! I just made this tonight and it’s so good. I literally can’t stop eating it. I didn’t add the avocado (I’m allergic….so tragic) but I bet it would be amazing with it! Thank you so much for this super yummy and healthy recipe! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This was so delicious!! The family loved it!! We will definitely be saving this recipe again. It was so filling and healthy. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Each recipe that I have tried from Chelsea’s Messy Apron is absolutely delicious, but this one is my FAVORITE! It is packed with so much flavor and heats up really well for the next day’s lunch at work. I would recommend everyone try this recipe! We substitute carrots with sweet potato (both orange and purple).

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