Orzo with Pesto and Peas

orzo with pesto and peas

Pine Nuts and Fresh Basil

I have been on the hunt for new recipes and meal ideas for us, particularly since I am trying (my darnedest) to cut back on my Nightshade consumption.

I have also been wanting to use up some of the dried ingredients we have sitting in our pantry.

This recipe seemed to honor all of those wants, all while being incredibly delicious.


You know what else was incredible about this recipe? How easy it was to make.


We used frozen peas. The pesto took a craaaazy 5 minutes to prepare, mostly because I toasted half of the pine nuts. And the orzo cooked while I was busy doing other things. Like, having a kitchen dance party (ahem).

Lemon and Peas

Also, can we please talk about how incredibly flexible this recipe is?! It honestly can be made with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Feel the need for a little dairy? Try a loving spoonful of feta. The Hubster did, and said it was ah-may-zing.

Have a hankering for a few halved grape or cherry tomatoes? Do. It. They would add a little something special to the mix.

Zuchinni or summer squash? Sure thing.

Or…you could just leave it as is. It’s totally delicious that way, too.

orzo with pesto and peas

Pine Nuts and Fresh Basil

Orzo with Pesto and Peas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com


For the pesto:

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice or 1/2 lemon juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Remaining ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup orzo uncooked
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 cup green peas frozen or fresh


To make the pesto:

  1. In a dry sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of pine nuts until lightly browned. Make sure to pay attention, as the pine nuts go from lightly browned to burnt incredibly quickly.
  2. Transfer to food processor, along with remaining pine nuts, garlic, baby spinach, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Pulse on high for 1 minute.
  4. Add olive oil in a slow stream while still on high.
  5. Set aside.

To make the orzo:

  1. Heat a pot with the water over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Add orzo and cook until al denté, about 10 minutes.
  3. While orzo is cooking, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a saucepan and sauté onion for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent.
  4. Add peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. When orzo is done, drain in a colander and return to pot.
  6. Add 1/4 cup pesto, peas, and onions and mix to combine.
  7. Serve as a main dish, or pair with your favorite fish, chicken or beef dish.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Egg Free.

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Written by

Emily Levenson is learning to trust her gut all over again. She is committed to listening to AND following the nuggets of wisdom her gut has been dishing out for decades. You can follow Emily's journey here on the blog, through the Nourish + Flourish podcast, and through her posts on Instagram.

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