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pesto orzo salad in bowl with wooden tongs

Pesto Orzo Salad

Hearty Pesto Orzo Salad is made with just a handful of ingredients, yet is bursting with fresh flavor. Ready in 25 minutes! Gluten-free, Oil-Free, and Nut-Free options.
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Method Stovetop
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 554kcal
Author Caitlin Shoemaker


  • 8 ounces dry orzo
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup Nut-Free Pesto or Arugula Pesto, or store-bought
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan feta (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 ounces fresh arugula or baby spinach


  • Cook the Orzo: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the orzo and rinse with cold water, until the orzo itself comes to room temperature.
  • Make the Dressing: Whisk the pesto and vinegar together in the base of a large bowl until a smooth texture forms.
  • Mix: Add the orzo, tomatoes, and chickpeas to the bowl and mix until evenly combined. Add the basil, feta (optional), pine nuts, and arugula. Gently fold into the salad. Season with additional salt to taste, if necessary.
  • Serve: Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free orzo, or replace with 8 ounces (225 g) of your favorite gluten-free pasta
  • Oil-Free: Use my Avocado Pesto from this recipe instead!


Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 2514mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1487IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 4mg