One Pot Creamy Pesto Orzo

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: November 6, 2023

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1-pot creamy pesto orzo

This One Pot Creamy Pesto Orzo is a great option for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. It’s comforting and nourishing, and cooks all in one pot for minimal dishes, making it a perfect choice after a busy workday. There is something about orzo that always makes me want to romanticize my life, and when slowly cooked with tender chickpeas, vibrant greens, and a deliciously creamy pesto rosso, it reaches a whole new level. What’s more, each serving of this super cozy meal is nutrient-packed and brings 27g of protein and 17g of fiber, along with a hearty serving of vegetables. So put on your favorite chill song, light up a candle, and treat yourself to your new favorite go-to weeknight meal!

Why This Recipe Works

Simple and Quick: Ideal for busy weeknights with minimal prep and cooking time.
Nutrient-Rich: Packed with nourishing ingredients like kale and chickpeas. Each serving contains 27 g of protein and 17 g of fiber.
Customizable: Easily adaptable with different nuts or seeds for the pesto, or use white beans.
One-Pot Wonder: Less cleaning up, more enjoying your meal.
Meal-Prep Friendly: It reheats very well and can be kept for up to 5 days, so don’t hesitate to pack up the leftovers!
Flavorful: The homemade walnut Pesto Rosso brings a rich and vibrant taste to the dish.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Blend the walnuts, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and nutritional yeast to create the pesto. In a pot, heat the oil and cook the onions until translucent, then add the garlic. Combine the orzo, pesto, chickpeas, and vegetable broth and cook, stirring to avoid sticking. Add the soy milk and broccolini, continuing to stir. Finish by adding the kale until wilted, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.

Ingredient Notes

Orzo: A rice-shaped pasta that’s perfect for absorbing flavors. Substitute with arborio rice for a gluten-free option.
Chickpeas: A great source of protein and fiber. Can be swapped with lentils or white beans.
Soy Milk: Adds creaminess; almond or oat milk would be great alternatives.
Kale: Loaded with vitamins A, K, and C. Spinach makes a good substitute.
Nutritional Yeast: Provides a cheesy flavor while being rich in B vitamins and protein.


  • Can I make this recipe nut-free? Yes, use seeds like sunflower seeds instead of walnuts for the pesto.
  • Is this dish protein-rich? Absolutely, thanks to the chickpeas and nutritional yeast, it packs 27 g per serving.
  • How can I store leftovers? Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Can I use another type of milk? Yes, any plant-based milk will work, though soy milk gives the creamiest result.
  • Is this recipe suitable for meal prep? Yes, it’s perfect for preparing in advance for the week.

Variations and Tips

Spice it up: Add chili flakes for a warm kick.
Boost the greens: Mix in spinach or Swiss chard for extra greens.
Protein boost: Blending tofu with the pesto can be a great addition for more protein and creaminess.
Herb freshness: Garnish with fresh parsley or basil for a fresh touch.

Why You’ll Love This One Creamy Pesto Orzo

  • Easy
  • Creamy
  • Protein-rich
  • Versatile
  • Yummy
1-pot creamy pesto orzo

1 Pot Creamy Pesto Orzo

5 from 5 votes
A quick, easy, and nourishing weeknight dinner, this 1 pot creamy pesto orzo is perfect after a busy workday. It’s a delicious way to enjoy more plant-based foods.
Sarah Cobacho (
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


Servings 3


Main Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 160 g orzo
  • 1.5 cup chickpeas
  • 1.5 cups soy milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 2 cups Kale, chopped
  • 1 broccolini, chopped
  • salt & pepper


  • ¼ cup walnut (can swap for other nuts or seeds)
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil


  • Start by blending the walnuts, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, 2 tbsp of olive oil, and nutritional yeast in a food processor until smooth.
  • In a pot over low to medium heat, add 1 tsp of oil and the diced onions. Cook for about 3 minutes until the onions become translucent.
  • Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for another minute.
  • Add the orzo to the pot and stir for about 2 minutes to toast it.
  • Add the chickpeas, vegetable broth, and soy milk to the pot. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add the chopped kale and broccolini to the pot. Stir well and cover the pot again. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Finally, stir in the pesto and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.


This recipe is versatile and you can add any vegetables you like. It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies in your fridge.

Per Serving

Calories 582kcalCarbohydrates 75gProtein 27gFat 21gSodium 218mgFiber 17gVitamin A 171IUVitamin C 37mgCalcium 255mgIron 5mg
CUISINE Italian-Inspired
KEYWORDS Easy Dinner, Healthy, High Protein, plant-based
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