Skip to Content

Pesto Orzo Salad (Vegan Option)

Pesto Orzo Salad is loaded with basil pesto, roasted pine nuts and fresh cherry tomatoes. Serve this salad hot or cold as a meal or a delicious side dish. 

Pesto orzo salad in a white bowl

Ingredients for Pesto Orzo Salad

While pesto recipes are typical for summer I think this recipe should be enjoyed all year long. This pesto orzo salad is super simple to make and only requires a handful of simple ingredients. You will need:

  • orzo pasta
  • cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • roasted pine nuts
  • fresh basil pesto or store-bought pesto

The pesto for this recipe can be store bought or homemade. For a delicious vegan option try our Homemade Vegan Cashew Pesto for this recipe. It uses nutritional yeast and cashews to make it dairy-free in place of the parmesan cheese. Other ingredients include fresh basil leaves, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt.

pesto orzo salad close up

How to Make Pesto Orzo Salad

To start, bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Cook orzo to al dente according to package instructions. Before straining set aside 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Then, while orzo cooks, slice cherry tomatoes in quarters and set aside.

Once pasta is done cooking, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. If necessary add the pasta water a little at a time to thin the pesto so it coats all of the pasta.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pesto pasta salad served hot or cold?

This pesto pasta salad can be served either warm or cold making it perfect for leftovers. To serve cold, make ahead of time and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

What is orzo salad made of?

Orzo salad has a main base of orzo pasta. Then, sauce or dressing as well as vegetables and seeds are added for this recipe.

How should I store leftovers?

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and used within 5 days. Salad can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave.

Is this recipe gluten free?

No, orzo pasta is not gluten free. To make this recipe gluten free, use a different kind of gluten free pasta and be sure that your pesto is gluten free if buying a store-bought sauce.

Are there any other ingredient substitutions I can make?

Try another kind of pasta in place of the orzo, use sun dried tomato instead of cherry tomatoes and use a vegan pesto sauce in place of traditional pesto.

Pesto orzo salad

For a behind the scenes look at Return to the Kitchen, be sure to follow us on InstagramFacebookYouTubeTikTok and Pinterest! Also, if you make this recipe or any of our recipes be sure to tag us @returntothekitchen!

Looking for more side dishes? Try our Warm Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad, Easy Oven Baked Zucchini Chips, 60 Non-Vegetable Side Dishes, Easy Air Fryer Crispy Parmesan Eggplant Fries, Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob, Gluten Free Dairy Free Corn Casserole and Easy Homemade Peach Applesauce.

Pesto orzo salad in a white bowl

Pesto Orzo Salad

Yield: 4-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box orzo pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup pesto

Instructions

  1. Cook orzo according to box directions. Before straining set aside 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  2. While orzo is cooking, slice cherry tomatoes in quarters and set aside.
  3. Once pasta is done cooking, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. If necessary add the pasta water a little at a time to thin the pesto so it coats all of the pasta.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

Notes

Try our Vegan Cashew Pesto to make this a vegan recipe!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8th recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 211Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe