Green Orzo Pesto Salad

30 Minutes

super easy

6 to 8

Summer is the season of cold pasta salad. Though I may single handedly try to change that as temperatures continue to skyrocket and my love for it follows suit! 

This Green Orzo Pesto Salad is one of my all time favorite dishes to make for outdoor gatherings with friends! It goes great with just about every variety of lean meat (chicken, fish, steak, shrimp etc.), which makes it the perfect side dish for your next BBQ or cookout. Though it does have quite a bit more personality than your average bulk meal prep pasta (thank God), I am happy to report that this one comes with no noticeable extra effort to prepare! 

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pasta – yes, it technically is a pasta! Orzo, also known as risoni (ree-soh-nee) is a form of short-cut pasta that is shaped like a slightly larger grain of rice. As you will see when you make this dish, it goes great in cold pasta salads and vegetable or meat-heavy soups. The way I see it, orzo is like that friend you can bring absolutely anywhere. It goes great with just about everything and has a very neutral flavor, which lends itself well to the other ingredients in the dish. 
I like orzo because you still get the fluffy comfort that pasta brings without it feeling like a heavier carb-forward dish. In that vein, orzo’s greatest quality may in fact be that it gladly takes a back seat. So is the case with this dish, as the stars are undoubtedly the small batch Napa extra virgin olive oil, gorgeous green veg pesto and summer veg accoutrement. The crunchy snap of the snap peas will grab both your taste buds and your attention, adding a more satisfying element to the dish overall. You might even play with this a bit more by topping it all off with a sprinkle of extra pine nuts!

Why You’ll Love It

I feel pretty confident in saying that everyone loves pesto. So right off the bat, this recipe should be a no brainer. The fact that it’s also made with orzo will score you some points and then the mozzarella pearls should make it a home run!

From a nutrition standpoint, this dish is a heavy hitter! Spinach, peas, asparagus, nutritional yeast and extra virgin olive oil are all incredibly supportive ingredients. Plus, orzo offers 7 grams of protein per cup, which is only slightly less than the same amount of the very “healthy” ingredient of rolled oats. You love to see it!

This is also a bulk dish recipe. So, whether you’re cooking for a few at home or a bigger group, this dish goes a long way!

Nutritious and healthy
Versatile and Customizable
Quick, Easy and Convenient
Recipe Cost Breakdown

For the Pesto 

     3 handfuls basil: $4.02

     ⅓ cup pine nuts: $9.99

     ½ cup olive oil: $1.98

     1 lemon: $0.48

     1 handful spinach: $0.075

     ½ cup parmesan cheese: $0.075

     3 cloves garlic: $0.18 

     2 tbsp nutritional yeast: $0.42 

For the Pasta Salad 

     1 cup orzo: $1.19

     ½ cup peas: $0.98

     1 cup packed spinach: $0.3

     ½ cup asparagus: $1.8

     1 cup snap peas: $0.43

     1 cup small mozzarella pearls: $6.29

     A handful fresh mint: $2.68

     Total Cost: $30.89

What You’ll Need

Shop our kitchen essentials here!

No Reviews


Adjust Servings
3 handfuls basil
⅓ cup pine nuts
½ cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 handful spinach
½ cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt, to taste
For the Pasta Salad
1 cup orzo, cooked according to package instructions
1 cup small mozzarella pearls
1 cup packed spinach, chopped
½ cup asparagus, chopped
1 cup snap peas, chopped
½ cup peas
1 handful fresh mint, chopped

Nutritional Information

282 Calories
24g Total Fat
252mg Sodium
12g Total Carbs
2g Fiber
1g Sugar
7g Protein



Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add 1 cup orzo. Stir immediately to avoid sticking and check regularly for an al dente finish. I recommend you start checking after about 4 minutes. When done, rinse with cool water, transfer to a mixing bowl, drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
Mark as complete

Then, in a food processor, combine pesto ingredients. Blend well to process, taste, adjust according to preferences and set aside until ready to eat.
Mark as complete

Next, wash and chop your asparagus. Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add about 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and chopped asparagus; season with salt and pepper and cook until soft (about 5 or 6 minutes).
Mark as complete

Once that’s done, you’re ready to assemble your pasta salad. Transfer everything into a large salad serving bowl and dress the salad with pesto. Top with black pepper and mix until pasta is evenly cooked. Serve and enjoy!
Mark as complete