Spinach, Pesto and Parmesan Orzo Salad


Helen Schofield

Spinach, Pesto & Parmesan Orzo Salad

Recipe by Helen Schofield from Scrummy Lane


  • 225 grams/8 ounces dry orzo pasta
  • about 2 handfuls fresh basil
  • 35 grams pine nuts
  • a small clove garlic
  • 6 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra
  • 50 grams fresh baby spinach leaves finely chopped
  • 35 grams parmesan cheese grated (quite thickly)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper


  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions (you want it to be al dente so don’t overcook), then drain in cold water and put into a medium bowl. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan on a medium heat. Keep jiggling them around until they are lightly brown.
  2. Put about two thirds of the basil, a handful of the toasted pine nuts, the garlic and the 6 tablespoons olive oil into a food processor (a baby one is perfect) and whizz for a few seconds until well combined (the pesto can be slightly chunky or totally smooth – doesn’t really matter). Tip the pesto over the orzo and combine well. Then add the chopped spinach, the rest of the basil (chopped a little), the rest of the pine nuts, the parmesan and vinegar and combine again. Season to taste.
  3. Spoon the pasta salad into a nice bowl (if you like) to serve, then drizzle over a little extra olive oil.


  • This is great served as a side dish with other salad-y ‘bits’ e.g. baked potatoes with a filling or two, a green salad, coleslaw, quiche etc.!
  • Add small cubes of feta cheese, sundried tomatoes or asparagus spears to this salad if you want to ‘jazz it up’ a bit!



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