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Orzo pesto salad (risoni salad) in a bowl, ready to eat.
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5 from 1 vote

Mediterranean Risoni Salad with Pesto (Orzo Salad)

Easy pasta salad made with those little pasta shapes called risoni or orzo. Lots of pesto and tomatoes make this salad extra tasty.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time27 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: pasta salad, Pesto, salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 347kcal
Author: Louise-Claire Cayzer


For the Salad

  • 225 g orzo pasta also called risoni pasta
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100 g spring onions (scallions) 1 bunch: About 10 total.
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • Salt to taste

For the Salad Dressing

  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoon fresh pesto see below for pesto ingredients if you want to make your own.

For the Fresh Basil Pesto


To make the Pesto: if using your own.

  • In a food processor, whizz up the pine nuts and garlic
    1 clove garlic, 30 g Pine Nuts
  • Add the basil leaves (make sure they are dry!), nutritional yeast and whizz for a second.
    Salt to taste, 25 g nutritional yeast, 50 g fresh basil leaves
  • With the blade turning, add in the olive oil until it becomes a thick paste.
    3 tablespoon olive oil

To make the pesto dressing:

  • Add the pesto, lemon juice and olive oil and mix to combine.
    2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 4 tablespoon fresh pesto, 1 tablespoon olive oil

To make the salad

  • Boil water and cook the orzo/risoni as per instructions.
    225 g orzo pasta
  • Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, toast the pine nuts. Be sure not to let them burn as they will colour up very quickly.
    50 g pine nuts
  • Finely chop the spring onions and pepper. Cut the cherry tomatoes in two or four, depending on how large they are. You want everything to be small to combine nicely together.
    1 red pepper, 100 g spring onions (scallions), 200 g cherry tomatoes
  • Once the orzo/risoni is cooked, drain and refresh it in cold water. Drain again and add a little olive oil to stop it cooking.
    225 g orzo pasta
  • Now toss all the salad ingredients with the pesto dressing. Garnish with more tomatoes and basil leaves if desired!


Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 439mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1394IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg