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Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Salad

A bowl of orzo pesto salad with text that reads "Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Salad"
“Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Salad” recipe was developed by Fiona Mainolfi and reviewed/edited by Rivah Goldstein, MScFN, RD and Jackie Silver MHSc, RD
Last updated: July 23, 2023

Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Salad:

Looking for the perfect side for a summer BBQ? Look no further! This Greek inspired orzo pesto salad is a satisfying and fresh summer recipe that you can  enjoy by yourself or with loved ones. 

You can easily make this orzo pesto salad in steps, which makes it simple to prepare. Cook the chicken the night before and cut the vegetables ahead of time. This way, you’re ready to put the salad together, everything is already prepared, and it saves you time in the kitchen.

This orzo pesto salad is a great recipe for meal prepping. l It stores well in the fridge and tastes even better on the second day. Packed with vegetables and protein,  this orzo pasta salad is full of nutrients that will keep you energized and satisfied throughout the day.

Orzo Pesto Salad in a white bowl on a wooden table

This Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Salad is:

  • Easy to make
  • Stores well in the fridge
  • Perfect for meal prep 
  • Can be made vegan,vegetarian, and/or gluten free  
  • A delicious lunch or dinner option
  • Includes a variety of nutrients

Storage Tips:

Fridge: To keep this orzo pesto salad fresh, it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator. You can place your  orzo pesto salad in a sealed container and store it in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. You can use storage containers such as these or these.

Recipe Variations and Substitutes:

Variations 

  • Chicken: If you are vegetarian, vegan or just do not enjoy the taste of chicken, you could substitute the chicken breast for 2 cups of chickpeas. The protein content will remain similar with this substitution.
  • Orzo: While this recipe uses orzo pasta, you can easily substitute it with another type of pasta, such as penne. For a gluten free option, feel free to replace it with gluten free pasta. For extra fiber and protein, red lentil pasta is a great option.   
  • Feta: if you do not like the taste of feta you could substitute it for bocconcini cheese or exclude the cheese entirely. If you are vegan you can use a plant based substitute, such as Just Like Feta.

Additions 

  • If you enjoy spice you could add ¼ cup of sliced pepperoncini peppers.
  • You can also add other vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumber, or grilled zucchini. 
Orzo Pesto Salad in a white bowl

Equipment Suggestions

Gotham Steel 5 Quart Stock Pot with Strainer Lid

This pot is unique because it has twist and lock handles that can help you strain out your pasta water in seconds, without making a mess. It contains 2 straining sizes, one for thicker foods and one for thinner foods, ensuring that you won’t lose anything while you’re straining! 

This pot is dishwasher safe, oven safe, and can be used to cook all sorts of delicious meals.  

Black+Decker 3-in-1 8-Cup Food Processor 

This food processor is simple to assemble and can hold up to 8 cups of food, giving you the flexibility to process both small and large amounts of ingredients. It comes with an S shaped blade, perfect for blending your homemade pesto for your orzo pesto salad. 

It also includes a reversible metal disk that allows you to slice or shred veggies in no time!

8 Piece Measuring Cups and Spoons Set

Each item of this 8 piece measuring cup and spoon set is BPA free, odor proof, and stain proof. This set is made from durable and high quality stainless steel and comes with a ring that can be used to keep them neatly organized. Cleaning is a breeze too – simply rinse with water or toss them in the dishwasher!

15 Piece Silicone Cooking Utensil Set

Each utensil in this set is food grade and BPA free. This set contains 15 different utensils, ensuring that all your kitchen needs are covered! The pasta server and tongs would be the perfect utensils to use for while preparing this orzo pesto salad.

12-Piece Color Coded Kitchen Knife Set

This set contains 6 different knives that are color coded to prevent cross-contamination. There is a knife for any recipe you want to make. Each knife has a protective blade guard, great for safe storage or if you have little kids around! 

Try out this Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Pasta Recipe!

One of my favorite simple recipes to make in the summer is this orzo pesto salad. The flavor combinations are endless and the dish can be served on its own or as a side. This Greek inspired orzo pesto salad is incredibly versatile and nutrient dense. If you try out this recipe tag @accessiblewellness on Instagram or comment below; we would love to see what you have created!

If you like this recipe try out some of our other recipes by clicking the links below!

Orzo Pesto Salad in a while bowl on a wooden table

Greek Inspired Orzo Pesto Pasta

Jackie Silver MHSc, RDJackie Silver MHSc, RD
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine gluten free, meal prep, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 8
Calories 559 kcal

Ingredients
  

Orzo Pesto Pasta

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 2 cups dried orzo
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pesto (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Homemade Pesto

  • 100 grams fresh basil
  • cup parmasan
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts (or almonds)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°C. Season chicken breast with your preferred seasoning and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked. When the chicken is ready and cooled, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • Fill a large pot with water and season with salt. Bring the water to a boil and add in the orzo. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking. I cooked the pasta for about 8 minutes. When the pasta is finished cooking, strain the water out and coat the pasta in the olive oil. Set pasta aside.
  • If you are using store bought pesto you may skip this step. Add basil, parmesan, olive oil, nuts, and minced garlic to a food processor or blender. Process until the consistency resembles  apple sauce (you may need to add more olive oil).
  • Next mince garlic, slice cherry tomatoes in half and dice the onion. Set the chopped vegetables aside while you strain the olives and crumble the feta.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in cooked orzo, sliced chicken, chopped vegetables and olives. Pour the pesto overtop of the mixture and gently toss until the pesto coats the pasta evenly. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad to evenly distribute the flavors.
  • Garnish the orzo pesto salad  with crumbled feta and enjoy! 

Notes

  • This orzo pesto salad recipe serves 8 as a meal, however if you are serving this dish as a side it may serve about 16 people. 
  • This recipe is perfect for meal prep as it makes numerous servings. You can store in containers such as these or these.
Keyword meal prep, vegan, vegetarian
Orzo pesto salad nutrition facts

Please note: Nutrition facts are provided for Google and SEO purposes only. There is no right or wrong serving size and I do not preach counting calories. You get to decide how much you want to eat.

Orzo Pesto Salad in a white bowl
Fiona Manolfi

About Fiona

Hi! My name is Fiona and I am studying nutrition and dietetics at Western University. I love cooking, creating new recipes and learning about the way food can impact our mental and physical health. I am going into my final year of undergrad this fall and I can’t wait to see what opportunities await after I graduate. I’m looking forward to sharing new recipes and providing some education about how to fuel your body effectively!

About Jackie

Jackie is a Registered Dietitian whose mission is to empower and support the neurodivergent and physically disabled communities through nutrition. Jackie runs a virtual private practice and blog which has simple recipes and health information tailored to these communities. She loves cooking, exercising, traveling, journaling, and spending time with family and friends.

Check out her full bio here →

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