This delicious mediterranean orzo pesto salad is made with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, grilled cherry tomatoes and shrimp. A flavorful, fresh basil pesto dressing ties all the components together and the recipe takes no more than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.
Ingredient notes & substitutions:
- olive oil – you’ll need part of it for the pesto dressing and part of it to brush on the shrimp.
- cherry tomatoes – rather than adding the tomatoes raw, they are grilled to intensify their flavor. Along with the kalamata olives, the grilled tomatoes add enough acidity for this salad so that there is no need for any lemon juice or vinegar in the dressing.
- Parmesan cheese – you can substitute Pecorino if you like
- olives – you have to use kalamata olives here because their acidity is needed
- ground sumac – if you don’t have sumac on hand, you can leave it out. I like to use it because of its extra umami flavor and also because of its health benefits
- artichoke hearts – you can use either canned or marinated artichoke hearts
How to make it:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Cook orzo pasta, then drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Set aside.
Step 2. Finely chop the basil leaves, then mix them with olive oil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic and salt.
Step 3. Stir the pasta into the dressing.
Step 4. Roughly chop artichoke hearts and olives and stir them in.
Step 5. Skewer shrimp and cherry tomatoes, then brush the shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac. Grill on a grill or a grill pan. Cut shrimp into bite-sized pieces and stir into the salad along with the grilled tomatoes.
How to serve it:
Serve the salad warm (slightly above room temperature).
How to store leftovers:
You can cover the salad and keep it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Gently heat it up in the microwave to slightly above room temperature before serving.
More delicious salads:
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Full Printable Recipe
Orzo Pesto Salad with Grilled Shrimp
- ½ cup orzo pasta, uncooked
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 3 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 packed tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese*
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 5 kalamata olives
- 2 artichoke hearts (canned or marinated)
- 5 ounces large, extra large or jumbo raw shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- ¾ teaspoon ground sumac**
- Cook the orzo pasta according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water, then set aside.
- Finely chop the basil leaves, then mix them with 3 tablespoons oil, the cheese, the pine nuts, the garlic and the salt.
- Mix the orzo pasta into the basil pesto. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the olives and the artichoke hearts and mix into the salad.
- Thread the shrimp and the cherry tomatoes onto skewers. Brush the shrimp with the remaining olive oil, then sprinkle them with the sumac.
- Grill on a grill or on a grill pan until the shrimp are cooked through and the tomatoes burst open (4 to 5 minutes on each side).
- Slide shrimp and tomatoes off the skewers, then cut the shrimp into bite-sized pieces. Mix the shrimp along with the tomatoes into the salad. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm.