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 recipehere.
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!
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!
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!
Amazing to hear the recipe went well and you enjoyed it Zoe! Thanks for your comment 🙂