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Orzo Chicken Pesto Salad

June 25, 2009

Orzo Pesto Pasta

This is a great pasta salad to take to a picnic or a barbecue. Or, if you’re me, to take to work for lunch. When I first made it, I had it hot for dinner, but now having had it cold for lunch, I must say that it tastes a lot better cold or at room temperature.

The pesto sauce can be store bought or homemade. I made mine from scratch using a variation of my creamy pesto recipe. I simply omitted the cream, and added some parmessan cheese and extra basil. Any extra can be set aside and used for another dish.


  1. 2/3 cup pesto
  2. 2 Tbs. vinegar
  3. 1/4 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. salt
  4. Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  5. 3 Tbs. olive oil
  6. 3/4 lb. orzo pasta
  7. 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I grilled mine seasoned generously with salt and pepper)
  8. 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
  9. 6 oz. arugula


  • Make the vinaigrette: whisk together the pesto, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add olive oil until smooth.
  • Cook the orzo according to package instructions
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and allow to cool. Alternatively, you could cook the chicken ahead of time and then rinse the orzo in cold water to cool it after cooking.
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