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.
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.
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
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.
Orzo salad has a main base of orzo pasta. Then, sauce or dressing as well as vegetables and seeds are added for this recipe.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
- 1 box orzo pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
- 2/3 cup pesto
- Cook orzo according to box directions. Before straining set aside 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- While orzo is cooking, slice cherry tomatoes in quarters and set aside.
- 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.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
Try our Vegan Cashew Pesto to make this a vegan recipe!
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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