Orzo Salad with Pesto & Spring Vegetables

For the pesto:

  • 4 ounces arugula, or spinach
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan, lightly packed (optional)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, depending on your love of raw garlic
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons good olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup spring peas, blanched
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Yield: Serves 10-12 as a side salad.

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine arugula, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until the ingredients are incorporated and the arugula is roughly chopped. Add the parsley and pulse. With the motor running, stream 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the spinach until it is saucy. Scrape down the sides; if necessary, add more salt or lemon juice to taste. For a richer pesto, stream in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Cook the orzo in boiling well-salted water until it is al dente, about 8 minutes. Strain and immediately combine with the pesto while the pasta is still warm. Add the feta, olives, shallots, and lemon juice to the pasta and stir gently to combine. Taste, and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.
  3. In large saute pan, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Roast spring vegetables with salt and pepper until browned on edges; fold into orzo salad and serve.

Source:  adapted from the Kitchn