Walnut, Basil Spinach Pesto Orzo Salad with Roasted Pumpkin

This orzo salad is so simple and delicious! It’s made with a homemade walnut, basil and spinach pesto that’s packed with greens and healthy, omega-rich fats. We’ve paired it with sweet roasted pumpkin and red onion.

Meal Prep

Mood boosting ingredients

  • Spinach -

Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral shown to support relaxation. Healthy magnesium levels are also directly related to mental wellbeing, including reducing stress hormones, anxiety and support restorative sleep.

  • Walnuts -

Walnuts are the highest antioxidant and phytonutrient rich tree nut, and they are also rich in Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (like salmon) to support mood and the brain.

Breakdown

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, fan bake.
  • Roast the vegetables.
  • Make the pesto.
  • Cook the orzo. 
  • Stir the pesto through the orzo and add the roasted vegetables and baby spinach. 

Tips 

  • You can make the pesto using a food processor, blender, stick blender or a mortar and pestle. Note that the texture will vary depending on what method you use - we like to use a food processor or mortar and pestle so it doesn’t go super smooth. 

Shortcuts

  • Swap out the homemade pesto for a store-bought pesto - we like the Genoese pesto as it’s made with olive oil instead of vegetable oil. 

Meal prep guide - if you followed the meal prep guide, you would have already made the pesto and chopped the pumpkin. 

This recipe serves four, if you’re cooking for two simply halve the recipe.

INGREDIENTSIngredients
  • ½ pumpkin (5 cups cut into bite-sized cubes)
  • 1 red onion (cut into wedges) 
  • 1 ½ cups orzo 
  • 4 cups baby spinach, 80g (finely sliced)

Walnut, Spinach and Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 cups baby spinach (40g) 
  • ⅓ cup walnuts 
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 lemon (juice) 
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper
METHODMethod
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, fan bake.
  1. Add the pumpkin and onion to a large baking tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a generous amount of olive oil.

  2. Pop in the oven to roast for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

  3. To make the pesto, add the basil, spinach, walnuts, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender, blitz until everything is finely chopped then add the olive oil and lemon juice and blitz until combined.

  4. Cook the orzo as per the packet instructions.
  5. Once the orzo has cooked, stir through the pesto and toss through the roasted pumpkin, onion and baby spinach.
VARIATIONS

Vegetables

  • Swap out the pumpkin for sweet potato. 

Protein

  • Serve alongside some grilled chicken or smoked salmon. 

Other

  • Swap out the orzo for gluten free pasta or quinoa.