I love pesto in so many ways! Of course, traditional basil pesto is awesome. I also make kale pesto a lot, and that makes a nice healthy twist on the zesty sauce. Today, we are serving up parsley pesto.
Unlike basil, which withers quickly if you don’t use it right away, parsley has some staying power in the fridge. But our parsley was starting to look a bit tired after about a week on hand. That inspired me to turn it into this parsley pesto.
Pesto combines nicely with orzo, and the addition of white beans makes the dish heartier. I made this as a side dish for Salmon with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce I am sharing for a Languedoc Winophiles post on Saturday. The French region makes good use of olives in its cuisine, so I added that to this dish. The result was the flavorful Orzo with Parsley Pesto, White Beans and Olives.
This orzo dish is a good side, but it also can serve as a vegetarian main dish. I’ve enjoyed if for lunch once this week, and we still have enough left for dinner tonight!
Making parsley pesto is quite similar to other pestos. I used a bit less parsley relative to the cheese and olives, compared to basil pesto, so as not to overwhelm with parsley flavor. That worked nicely, and also explains why the orzo doesn’t look as vividly green as some other pesto dishes I feature here on Cooking Chat. I used pumpkin seeds to make this a nut-free pesto, but pine nuts or walnuts would certainly work, too.
So next time you have a big bunch of parsley on hand looking for something to do, give this orzo with parsley pesto a try!
If you like this pesto recipe, try our halibut with parsley pesto recipe!Print
Orzo with Parsley Pesto, White Beans and Olives
Zesty parsley pesto along with sliced olives adds good flavor to orzo and white beans. Can be served as a vegetarian main or a side dish.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta
- Method: stove top + food processor
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seed, lightly toasted
- 1 scallion, coarsely chopped
- 10 ozs orzo
- 12 olives, sliced
- ½ red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
- handful of baby spinach or arugula
- 1 14.5 oz can cannellini or other white beans
- Start boiling water for the orzo.
- Make the pesto: add the garlic to a food processor, and hit puree to chop the garlic finely.
- Add the parsley, olive oil, cheese, pumpkin seed, and scallion. Puree until all the ingredients are combined into a good sauce. If needed, scrape the sides to get any parsley that didn’t get blended in and puree one more time. Set pesto aside while orzo cooks.
- Cook the orzo according to package instructions. Drain, and immediately toss with the parsley pesto.
- Stir in the beans, sliced olives, spinach or arugula, and the diced pepper.
- Serve the orzo, passing additional cheese at the table. Enjoy!
Keywords: parsley pesto, orzo with pesto