This gluten-free orzo pesto pasta salad with broccolini and sun-dried tomatoes is vegan-friendly and a flavorful addition to any picnic or potluck.
It’s beginning to feel more and more like summer and warm weather always means lots of salads on rotation at my house, including this orzo pesto pasta salad with broccolini and sundried tomatoes. It’s one you’ll often find in my fridge year-round but especially so this time of year when having a sturdy salad that’s ready to eat comes in handy.
It’s an easy pasta salad that’s gluten-free, vegan and comes together in less than 30 minutes so I like to make a batch on Sunday to eat throughout the week.
The base of the salad is a combination of orzo cooked al dente and tossed with a fresh pesto to which chopped sundried tomatoes and quickly blanched broccolini and peas are added. It’s an easy side salad to bring to a picnic, the beach, or a backyard barbecue since it won’t spoil if it sits out for a bit.
What is orzo/risoni?
Orzo (or also known as risoni) is rice-shaped pasta; it’s not typically gluten-free but luckily there are some good gluten-free and grain-free options out there now.
How do you cook orzo?
You can cook orzo the same way you would pasta by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil and cooking until al dente. You’ll want to drain and rinse the orzo quite well when making pasta salad to stop the cooking process and quickly cool it.
How to make orzo pesto salad:
You start by first making a dairy-free basil parsley pesto that comes together quickly in the food processor and can be kept in the fridge until needed.
Next is the risoni/orzo, which is cooked until al dente then rinsed until cool.
Meanwhile you’ll bring another pot of water up to a boil and quickly blanch some broccoli and frozen peas until just tender.
Toss the cooled pasta with your pesto and toss in your vegetables along with some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, a sprinkle of seeds to top and you are ready to serve.
Easy and flavorful, this is the kind of salad you’ll find yourself making over and over again so don’t hesitate to make it your own and switch things up (spinach pesto perhaps? or asparagus would be lovely).
- For the pesto:
- ¾ oz/ 21g basil
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon/7g almond flour
- 3 Tablespoons/45ml extra-virgin olive oil
- For the pasta salad:
- 1 cup/224g grain-free orzo/risoni pasta
- 1 bunch broccolini, stems trimmed
- ½ cup/85 frozen peas
- 2 Tablespoons, chopped sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 Tablespoons/20g hemp seeds to top (optional)
Make the pesto:
- Place pesto ingredients in the bowl of a small food
processor and pulse until combined. Set
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook
orzo/risoni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under water until cool. Set aside.
Blanch the vegetables:
- Bring another large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch
peas for 1-2 minutes. Transfer peas to a bowl of ice water,
cool and drain.
- Bring water back up to a boil and blanch broccolini for 2
minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice
water, cool and drain.
Make the pasta salad:
- In a large bowl toss orzo/risoni with pesto, blanched vegetables,
chopped sundried tomatoes and parsley.
Top with hemp seeds, season with salt to taste and serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 230mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 14gSugar: 13gProtein: 17g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.