Orzo pasta tossed with a zesty cilantro pesto and black beans, topped with tomatoes and avocado. This can serve as a vegetarian main or a side for pork, chicken or fish. Excellent served with a Cerasualo d’Abruzzo rosé wine.
I’m a big pesto fan, which you certainly would have noticed if you’ve visited Cooking Chat a few times before!
But cilantro pesto is a nice change of pace from your usual pesto. The cilantro lends a unique zesty flavor which is enhanced by the bright flavors of lime juice.
While I’d never think of making my other pestos without cheese, our cilantro recipe has plenty of flavor without cheese. This makes our cilantro pesto a great option for someone looking for a dairy free pesto. This pesto with cilantro is also nut free.
I noticed people ask online “Can you freeze cilantro pesto?”. I haven’t tried freezing cilantro pesto, but I would anticipate it would freeze well seeing as it doesn’t have dairy.
In addition to be great in this orzo recipe, I really like cilantro pesto with pork. See for instance our Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops recipe.
Making orzo with cilantro pesto
Cilantro pesto is a breeze to make. You can start the water boiling for the orzo pasta as you put the cilantro together.
Just combine the garlic, cilantro, lime juice and red pepper flakes in a food processor and boom, you’ve got cilantro pesto! Set it aside as the orzo cooks.
When the orzo is done, toss it right away with the cilantro pesto, then stir in the black beans followed the cheese, if you are using it. Top it with the avocado and tomatoes, and you have yourself a very tasty dish!
Cerasualo Wine with Cilantro Pesto Orzo
The first time I made this Orzo with Cilantro Pesto recipe, I opened a bottle of the 2017 La Valentina Cerasualo d’Abruzzo ($10, 13% ABV) to with it.
Cerasualo d’Abruzzo is a rosé made from Montepulciano grapes. Since visiting Abruzzo earlier this year, I have been a big fan of this full bodied rosé wine. La Valentina was one of my favorite wineries that we visited on that press trip.
The La Valentina Cerasualo comes from Montepulciano vines that are between 25 to 35 years old. The Ceresualos can be a bit hard to track down in the US. You might have more luck finding the La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzos such as the Spelt, which I paired with the Spicy Chicken Sausage Pasta. For more information on the La Valentina and its wines, visit the winery website.
This Cerasualo is flavorful and refreshing — ripe melons, great mouthfeel. I don’t believe you will find much cilantro pesto in traditional Italian cooking, but the fruit forward wine does nicely with the bright flavors of the cilantro and lime. As I learned in my Abruzzo visit, Cerasualo also pairs well with tomatoes.
If you can’t get your hands on the Cerasualo to pair with this dish, you might try a Riesling…or let me know if you come up with something else!Print
Orzo with Cilantro Pesto and Black Beans
Orzo tossed with a zesty cilantro pesto and black beans, topped with tomatoes and avocado. This is a nut and dairy free pesto recipe, although we do include an optional cheese at the end of combining the pasta with the pesto.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 5 servings
- Category: main
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: fusion
For the Cilantro Pesto:
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- pinch red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ozs orzo pasta
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/3 cup Mexican cheese such as cotija (optional)
- Begin boiling the water to cook the orzo.
- Make the pesto: Combine the garlic cloves, cilantro, lime juice, red pepper flakes and olive oil in a food processor. Puree until the cilantro and garlic are finely chopped and everything is well mixed together. Set aside.
- Cook the orzo according to package instructions. When the orzo pasta is done to your liking, drain and toss immediately with the cilantro pesto.
- Add the black beans to the orzo,and stir to combine. Stir in the cheese, if you are using it. Serve the orzo, topped with a handful of tomatoes and avocado. Enjoy! this orzo with cilantro pesto is very good with a Cerasualo d’Abruzzo.
- Omit the cheese if you wish to serve this as dairy free, vegan dish.
- When tomatoes aren’t in season, I like to use the best grape tomatoes I can find. They seem to be more flavorful than other options outside of peak tomato season.
- Cut the avocado shortly before serving so it doesn’t turn brown.
Keywords: vegan cilantro pesto, cilantro, pesto, cilantro pesto, Cerasualo