Pesto Orzo Salad

From Julie Van Rosendaal

2014 Jul/Aug

Pesto makes a bright, summery dressing for pasta salads – a delicious alternative to the usual vinaigrette. Orzo is small, rice-shaped pasta.


  • 1-1/2 c. dry orzo or other small pasta
  • 2 c. (packed) baby spinach and/or basil
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese or feta, crumbled
  • 2-4 T. basil pesto
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot of salted water, cook the orzo for 10 minutes or according to package directions, until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain well in a colander and rinse under cool water to stop it from cooking. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Add the spinach or basil, tomatoes and goat cheese (alternatively, save the goat cheese to add at the end if you don’t want to incorporate it into the salad, which creates a creamier sauce), then add the pesto, a good glug of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat the salad, then serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil. Serves 6.