Pesto Orzo Salad with Chicken, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Pesto Orzo Salad with Chicken, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Pesto Orzo Salad with Chicken, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes


Easy summer recipe perfect for BBQ'S!

This delicious Pesto Orzo Salad is the best summer pasta salad. Who doesn’t love pesto? Bring this flavourful pasta salad to your next BBQ and prepare for the incoming compliments! All you need is orzo, pesto, chicken, spinach, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan!

If you love pesto and really want to impress your friends and family, make my Homemade Pesto to use in this recipe for even better results. I promise you will be eating pesto all week! Check out my recipe here.

pesto orzo salad

What do i need?

  • Pesto – I have used homemade pesto because I can’t bear to buy store bought after learning how to make my own! Check out my recipe here! If you are lazy then I recommend buying an organic Italian brand or fresh from a deli. You can find this at Salvinos in Tufnell park or Eataly in Liverpool Street. There you will find real Italian pesto, failing which you can buy a generic brand at the supermarket.
  • Orzo – This is a delicious tiny pasta the shape of rice. It cooks quickly and is so cute what’s not to love! My favourite brand is Garofolo a great authentic Italian brand.
  • You know me I can’t help but put meat or fish in everything! So I had to add some Chicken breast pieces. Simply cut chicken breast into small cubes and sauté in salt and pepper. Or go veggie and leave out the meat altogether.
  • For some greens I add some fresh Spinach its also delicious with broccolini.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes for colour and sweetness.
  • The final touch for more texture is cubed Parmesan pieces and Pine nuts.

Tips & Tricks

  • Cook the chicken and orzo first and leave to cool.
  • To cool the orzo further simply drain and rinse under cold water. This will also help the pasta from clumping together.
  • Only mix together your pasta salad when all the ingredients are cold. If you do not wait the heat will melt the parmesan and wilt the spinach which you do not want.
  • Add less pesto than the recipe calls for and then adjust to your taste.
  • Add the spinach last to avoid bruising and wilting.

How to Make Homemade Pesto!

Making Homemade Pesto is easier than most people think. All you need is 10 minutes of time and 5 simple ingredients. You can make it in a food processor or with a pestle and mortar (this takes longer and requires patience). Check out my full recipe here!

  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • garlic cloves
  • pinch salt and pepper.

For the full instructions and how to go to my Homemade Pesto post!

pesto with pine nuts

Serving Suggestions –

This Pesto Orzo Salad is a great summer salad perfect for BBQ tables. When going to a BBQ its sometimes hard to know what to bring everyone brings potato salad or coleslaw. Impress your friends with a punchy pesto pasta salad!

Check out my Homemade Pesto recipe to complete this recipe!

5 from 1 vote

Pesto Orzo Salad with Chicken, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Delicious summer pesto pasta salad full of goodies!
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes


  • Saucepan
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Salad bowl
  • Silicone spatula


  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup parmesan cubes
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp pesto


  • Cut the chicken breast into small cubes and fry for 7 minutes with some salt and pepper. Set aside and leave to cool.
  • Boil the orzo in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. 7 minutes should be enough for al dente. Drain the orzo and rinse with cold water and set aside.
  • Chop the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces. Chop the parmesan into small cubes.
  • In a salad bowl add the cooled orzo, parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and pine nuts. Use the spatula to mix everything together until well combined.
  • Finally add the spinach and mix until well distributed. Your salad is ready!


  • Ensure the chicken and orzo are cool before mixing your salad.
  • Cook your chicken in advance to save time. 
Author: Daniel Devereux
Cost: £6
Course: Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken, Orzo, Pasta, Salad, Summer

Did you make this Pesto Orzo Salad?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @chilliandlife on Instagram and hashtag it #chilliandlife


  1. 5 stars
    Had to mix it up slightly as my local only had baby leaf salad and grated parmesan, but otherwise followed to a tea and this was DELICIOUS. Never cooked with orzo before and this was the first recipe I found that sounded good. Will be taking the leftovers for my lunch tomorrow and I’ll definitely be making it again!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Sign Up Now
Recent Posts