Orzo Salad with Kale Pesto

orzo salad with kale pesto

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Orzo salad tossed with kale pesto, tomatoes, peppers, white beans and olives. Can be served as a side dish or a vegetarian main course.


  • 3 cups kale, rinsed and thick stems removed
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 of a large yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 8 ozs grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, or other white beans would do
  • handful of sliced kalamata or black olives, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb orzo


  1. Start boiling a pot of water for the orzo.
  2. Make the pesto: Add the kale, arugula and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients. Add the other ingredients and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. Set the pesto aside while orzo cooks.
  3. Cook the orzo according to package instructions, taking care not to overcook. Strain the orzo when cooked to your liking. If you are making this to serve later, after draining the cooking water, leave the orzo in the strainer and rinse with cold water. This helps prevent sticking and further cooking of the pasta. Take care to thoroughly drain the water, then return the cooked orzo to a large mixing bowl. Skip the cold water rinsing if you are serving right away.
  4. Stir the extra tablespoon of olive oil into the cooked orzo, then gradually stir in the pesto. Get the orzo thoroughly coated with the kale pesto, then set aside the remainder to pass at the table.
  5. After you’ve got a good coating of pesto, stir in the peppers, followed by the beans, tomatoes and olives.
  6. Serve the orzo salad, passing extra kale pesto at the table. Enjoy!
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