This orzo and pesto salad is so easy to make and full of flavor! Simply toss orzo pasta with vegan pesto and your favorite fresh veggies. Make this potluck favorite in a flash and serve it immediately or chilled!
This Mediterranean-inspired summer salad is such a fun and delicious recipe to share with others. Of course, it’s great all year round, not just in summer!
Enjoy it as a side or make it a main dish with extra chickpeas or tofu. It’s even better that it’s ready in just 15 minutes!
This orzo and pesto salad is made with simple ingredients and completely customizable by changing the vegetables and type of pesto. I like to buy dairy-free pesto.
To make this refreshing pasta salad, simply boil and cook the orzo noodles while you chop all the vegetables. Add them to a large bowl with the store-bought pesto and stir!
Garnish the orzo salad with fresh basil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and enjoy!
If you’re looking for more get-together-worthy recipes, be sure to check out my Pineapple and Mango Habanero Salsa, Chickpea pancakesAnd Peach Crisps!
Reasons to love this recipe
- In good health
- Lots of fresh vegetables
- Ready in just 15 minutes
- Great side dish for the holidays
- Gorgeous with vibrant green colors
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Ingredients and Substitutions
- Orzo – Use orzo or another small type of pasta like couscous.
- Tomatoes – Cherry or grape tomatoes work.
- Onions – Red onions are fantastic here, but other varieties can be used as well.
- Cucumber – Opt for the English cucumber, also called “greenhouse cucumber” because it has thinner skin and fewer seeds than a regular cucumber. Otherwise, just peel a regular one and cut a few seeds from the center.
- Green vegetables – Baby spinach, kale, etc. add a nice crunch and lots of nutrients.
- Olives -I love Kalamata olives for those Greek flavors but you can definitely substitute black olives.
- Chickpeas – Cooked or canned chickpeas add protein and texture.
- Pesto – Buy homemade or store-bought pesto. I keep this dish vegan by opting for a dairy-free pesto.
- Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a zesty touch to the salad.
- Basil – Fresh basil really enhances this orzo salad! If you don’t have any on hand, some Italian seasoning would be perfect.
How to Make Pesto Orzo Salad
Here are some quick visual steps. Find the complete recipe with exact measurements on the recipe card below.
Boil orzo until al-dente, as directed on package directions.
Try not to cook it too long so it’s a little soft and can absorb the pesto later.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Drain the cans, cut everything into bite-sized pieces and mix the pesto with the lemon juice.
Add the drained orzo to a large bowl. Leave him cool for a few minutes and then mix the pesto in it.
To incorporate the rest of the ingredients and add salt to taste.
Make it a meal with…
Chickpea pancakes And Vegan strawberry mousse!
Ideas for recipe variations
- Make it garlicky with freshly minced garlic.
- Switch up the veggies with one of your favorites.
- Replace the orzo with gluten-free pasta or couscous.
- Make it caprese style by adding vegan mozzarella, parmesan or feta.
Storage and reheating
Store this pesto pasta salad in a covered dish in the refrigerator for 4 days. Eat leftovers cold or set them out on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Related Vegan Pasta Recipes
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Orzo and Pesto Salad
This orzo and pesto salad is a breeze to make and incredibly tasty! Toss tasty orzo pasta with vegan pesto and your favorite fresh veggies. Enjoy it freshly prepared or chilled!
- 16 ounces orzo, uncooked
- 6-8 ounces Pesto, dairy free
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup Red onion, diced
- 15 ounces Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ English cucumber, diced
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted, cut in half
- 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
- salt to taste, serve with basil and lemon wedges
Boil the orzo according to package directions until al-dente. This should be done by bringing a large pot of salted water to the boil. Then add the pasta and stir occasionally while cooking for 8-9 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients by draining the chickpeas and olives, cutting the vegetables into bite-size pieces and incorporating the lemon juice into the pesto.
Drain the orzo and add it to a large bowl. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then stir in the pesto until the orzo is completely coated.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and add salt to taste. Serve it with a squeeze of lemon and fresh basil.
- Try not to overcook the orzo so it has a little bite instead of being mushy.
- Serve the pasta salad immediately while it’s still warm or refrigerate it for later.
Calories: 356kilocalories | Carbohydrates: 60.3g | Protein: 13.2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated fat: 1g | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 7.3g | Sugar: 7.1g | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 4mg
Nutrition information is estimated and may vary depending on brands and measurements used.