Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad with Broccoli-Pine Nut Pesto

Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad with Broccoli-Pine Nut Pesto

Create this Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad with Broccoli-Pine Nut Pesto that's adapted with permission from "Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen" by Heidi Swanson, copyright 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


  • Fine-grained sea salt

  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat orzo

  • 5 cups broccoli florets and thinly sliced stems

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • cup pine nuts, toasted

  • cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup creme fraiche

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt, add orzo, and cook according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli. Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for 1 minute until bright green but still slightly crunchy. Drain the broccoli in a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and set aside.

  3. Make the pesto: Combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, garlic, three-quarters of the pine nuts, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in olive oil and creme fraiche and pulse until smooth.

  4. Toss orzo and remaining cooked broccoli florets with about two-thirds of the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. Thin with a bit of warm water to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt, lemon juice, or pesto as desired. Fold in avocado. Serve topped with remaining pine nuts.

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