Pesto Orzo Salad

I’m the kind of person who is seriously lost without a jar of pesto in the fridge. With some simple ingredients, pesto can truly make a delicious pasta dish in minutes. There’s many a day when I come home from the store, there’s nothing in the fridge, but as long as we have pesto, a packet of pasta, and some parmesan cheese, we’re all good and there’s dinner on the table! This pesto orzo salad recipe is full of those fresh flavors and a little variation on that simple dinner. Pasta, pesto, tomatoes, greens, a few pine nuts, and burrata. It’s a simple side dish and the perfect summer salad. Does it get any better?

a bowl of pesto orzo salad with a whole burrata drizzles with pesto and extra virgin olive oil on top

Here’s why you need this Summer pesto pasta salad at your next bbq

Its oh-so-easy to make AND you can get started the day before if you’re a bit time-poor. Cook the orzo and roast the tomatoes a day ahead. Pop the cold pasta and roasted tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge overnight and just throw everything together on the day of your bbq.

I’m just going to say it… Because it’s un-Australian not to serve a good pasta salad side dish at every Summer bbq. But no one says it has to be the in-every-deli, bought variety. Let’s mix it up a little!

Did I mention that there is burrata in it?

Here is the handful of ingredients you need to get started

  • Orzo (Risoni) cooked al dente to package directions.

  • Pine nuts or substitute for your favorite nuts

  • Pesto. Either store-bought pesto or homemade pesto will be perfect. Just remember to pop a little extra aside to drizzle over the burrata. I’m a huge fan of Roza’s Gourmet pesto. When pesto is this good (and you go through it as much as I do), it’s so much easier to find a good pesto that you like and stick with it. However, if you’re in the mood feel free to make your own pesto. It’s super easy to make fresh pesto with the help of a food processor. It literally takes a minute to make, so when the garden is full of fresh basil, a quick pesto sauce is great way to use it up.

  • Slow-roasted juicy cherry tomatoes at either room temperature or cold from the fridge. I prefer them cooled than to wilt the greens by being too warm. You can find the recipe for my slow-roasted tomatoes here.

  • English baby spinach and rocket. My go-to greens for salads and sandwiches

  • Burrata Cheese. If you haven’t yet discovered this gem, you’re in for a treat. It’s basically heaven on a cheese-lovers plate. Big individual mozzarella balls filled with cream. They’re solid on the outside but cut inside and you’ll be greeted with a soft and creamy interior that just oozes cheesy goodness. It’s rich, it’s decadent, and it’s totally worth every calorie! Try it in a Caprese salad (or any salad really!), on top of pasta, or smothered on some crusty bread, with fresh basil and some of my slow roasted tomatoes.

  • freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, torn fresh basil leaves (optional) to decorate

What’s orzo?

Orzo, or ‘risoni’ as it’s known in Australia, is a small, rice shaped pasta. Try finding it at your local specialty food store. It’s a great addition to salads, soups and stews.

Here’s how to make this orzo pesto pasta salad

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius.


  2. In a large pot of water on medium heat, cook the orzo to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave to drain completely and cool.


  3. While the orzo is cooking, place the pine nuts on a baking tray and pop them into the oven for 5 minutes. Pop aside to cool.


  4. In a large bowl combine the cooked orzo and pesto. Stir to combine


  5. Add the English spinach, rocket leaves, and pine nuts. Gently mix through


  6. Dot the pasta salad with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.


  7. Pop a drained burrata on top of the salad. Cut it open to reveal its creamy inside.


  8. Drizzle with extra pesto, a little extra virgin olive oil and pop a little freshly ground pepper on top. Scatter with a few (optional) basil leaves


  9. Serve!

Let’s mix this pesto pasta salad recipe up a bit with a few variations

Want to turn this creamy pesto pasta salad into a meal? Try adding some protein in the shape of grilled chicken tenderloins or lamb chops. Chicken pesto pasta for dinner tonight sounds good, doesn’t it?

Not a fan of pinenuts? Substitute them for your favorite nuts. I like to use almonds occasionally when I make this pesto salad.

If you can’t get your hands on burrata, you could easily substitute the burrata for some goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.

Here’s what I serve my orzo pesto salad with when I’m having a bbq

I LOVE a good bbq. It’s what Summers are made of in our house. Someone grilling in the background, splashing in the pool, and a good supply of Pimms! They’re not fancy. Normally a meat dish like beef rissoles, a salad and maybe a potato dish like this Black garlic potato gratin– there is an Irishman in the house after all! Don’t skip a chunk of crusty bread to mop up the excess pesto!

Want to make friends with salad? Here are a few of my favourites…

x

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a bowl of pesto orzo salad with a whole burrata drizzles with pesto and extra virgin olive oil on top

Pesto Orzo Salad

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Medditeranean

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 4 tbsp pesto + extra to drizzle over the burrata
  • 200g slow-roasted cherry tomatoes
  • large handful of rocket and English spinach
  • 1 burrata
  • freshly ground pepper

 


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius.
  2. Cook the orzo to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave to drain and cool.
  3. While the orzo is cooking, place the pine nuts on a baking tray and pop into the oven for 5 minutes. Pop aside to cool.
  4. In a bowl combine the cooked orzo and pesto. Stir to combine
  5. Add the English Spinach and rocket leaves and pine nuts. Gently mix through
  6. Dot the pasta salad with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.
  7. Pop a drained burrata on top of the salad. Cut it open to reveal its creamy inside.
  8. Drizzle with extra pesto and pop a little freshly ground pepper on top
  9. Serve!

Keywords: Orzo, Pesto, Burrata, Salad

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. OMG this looks so good. Adding to my list for this weekend!

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful. This is a place for positivity, inspiration, constructive criticism & healthy debate. Comments that are deemed inappropriate, offensive, unrelated to this story, or spam will be deleted.

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

Recipe rating