Pesto Orzo With Lemon, Artichokes & Shrimp

Pesto Orzo With Lemon, Artichokes & Shrimp

Pesto Orzo With Lemon, Artichokes & Shrimp

A delicious, 9-ingredient and 30-minute dinner packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber-filled veggies! 

Looking for a quick, tasty, and nutritious weeknight dinner idea? You’ve come to the right place!
Canned artichoke hearts and lemon zest give this dish a refreshing flavour profile and sautéed shrimp provide a filling protein source.

I’ve listed some ideas and tips below, including ways to make a gluten-free version if needed.

Closeup photo of a bowl of pesto orzo topped with artichokes and shrimp.

All you need to make this pesto orzo recipe are 9 simple ingredients:

orzo
shrimp
canned artichoke hearts
olive oil
fresh basil
lemon (zest + juice)
garlic
walnuts
nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Recipe Modifications & Ingredient Swaps
For a gluten-free option, swap orzo with a gluten-free pasta. Otherwise, you could try this with a gluten-free grain like quinoa, millet, or rice.
You can use different pasta in place of orzo. Pearl couscous would be the most similar in terms of size and texture, but really any pasta would work here!
Nutritional yeast can be swapped for parmesan if you eat dairy.
Walnuts can be swapped for another nut or seed. I like making pesto with pistachios, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, or the classic pine nuts.
If you want to add some other veggies in this dish, I think this would taste great with some sautéed broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, or a handful of fresh leafy greens like arugula!
If you’d like, the shrimp could be swapped with another simple protein. I think something like chicken, scallops, salmon, or chickpeas would work well.

Storage & Reheating
It reheats really easily in the microwave, without compromising on texture!

Artichoke Nutrition Benefits
Artichokes are a good source of:

dietary fiber
vitamin C
vitamin K
folate
magnesium
potassium
antioxidants

Shrimp Nutrition Benefits
Shrimp is:

an excellent source of high-quality, complete protein – a standard 3-ounce or 85-gram serving provides 18 grams
a good source of micronutrients like selenium, B12, phosphorus, niacin, zinc, magnesium, and iron
a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support the health of your heart and brain

Orzo Nutrition Benefits
Orzo is:

a source of carbohydrates, which help to give us energy to fuel our daily lives. When paired with the fats, fiber, and protein of this recipe, that energy can be sustained – without a blood sugar crash!
an source of protein – a 1/2 cup serving provides 7 grams
while it depends on the brand, orzo products are usually enriched with B-vitamins. If you choose a whole grain source of orzo, it will include other vitamins and minerals as well.

Pesto Orzo With Lemon, Artichokes & Shrimp
This fresh and easy pesto orzo bowl is made with shrimp, lemon, artichokes, and basil. A delicious, 9-ingredient and 30-minute dinner packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber-filled veggies! Recipe is dairy-free and can be made gluten-free.

Ingredients

2/3 cup orzo, dry
~20 shrimp, thawed, deveined + tails removed (enough for 2 people!)
2 tsp olive oil (to cook shrimp)
1/2 a can of artichoke hearts, drained (standard 14 oz can)
Salt + pepper, to taste
Pesto Sauce:
1 cup fresh basil, packed
1/5 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
1 large clove garlic
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice (save the zest!)
Salt + pepper, to taste
Instructions
Prep shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, toss shrimp in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Boil a pot of water for the orzo.
While water boils, remove zest from 1/2 a lemon and slice artichoke hearts into halves or quarters (depending on size). Set aside.

Make pesto by adding basil, walnuts, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Blend until smooth. If you want things a little runnier, feel free to add a splash of water or additional olive oil.
Once water is boiling, cook orzo according to package directions (about 8 minutes).
Meanwhile, heat a large pan over med-high heat. Cook shrimp for 2-minutes per side, until pink and opaque. Remove from heat.
Drain orzo and return to pot. Stir in pesto until well-combined.
Divide ingredients into bowls: serve orzo and top with sliced artichoke hearts, shrimp, lemon zest, extra basil (if desired), and black pepper. Enjoy hot!
Notes
*NOTE: “Nutritional yeast” is not the regular type of yeast used to leaven baked goods. It is yellow in colour, packed with B-vitamins, and has a “cheesy” flavour, often used as a dairy-free alternative to cheese in recipes. Please don’t use regular yeast here as it will NOT taste good!!
*LEFTOVERS: Leftovers of this orzo recipe can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It reheats really easily in the microwave, without compromising on texture!
*RECIPE MODIFICATIONS:
For a gluten-free option, swap orzo with a gluten-free pasta. Otherwise, you could try this with a gluten-free grain like quinoa, millet, or rice.

You can also use different pasta shapes in place of orzo. Pearl couscous would be the most similar in terms of size and texture, but really any pasta would work here!
Nutritional yeast can be swapped for parmesan if you eat dairy.
Walnuts can be swapped for another nut or seed. I like making pesto with pistachios, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, or (the classic) pine nuts.
If you want to add some other veggies in this dish, I think this would taste great with some sautéed broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, or a handful of fresh leafy greens like arugula!
If you’d like, the shrimp could be swapped with another simple protein. I think something like chicken, scallops, salmon, or chickpeas would work well.