Take your picnics, barbecues and grilling sessions up a notch with this fancy yet super simple side dish- Pesto orzo salad! Filled with marinated slow roasted sweet potato chunks, it’s tossed through a vegan pesto making it dairy free, vegan and with a gluten free option!
So I was originally going to call this Vegan Pesto and Marinated Sweet Potato Orzo Salad but then couldn’t even say it in one go myself.
Some of the biggest dilemmas I have when posting recipes with unique twists or multiple ingredients is naming them. I am a fool when it comes to SEO but I do know it’s imperative when it comes to you showing up in google. To be completely honest, 95% of the time I want to call a recipe ‘legal crack’ or ‘no bake cookies which make you want to sell your own sister’ but the logical part of my brain tells me otherwise (and the potential to reach readers I don’t intent on).
The epic folk at Colavita send me the most amazing package filled with various oils, vinegars, seasonings, pastas and sauces. They also threw the challenge to create a recipe including 5 of their ingredients.
My first thought was to create a pesto style pasta dish but that would have been the ultimate cop out. I sampled the pesto and it was so delicious, all I would have had to do was merely mix it straight through the package of orzo they sent over and called it a meal. No dice. The pesto was put in the corner for later use….and by later use I mean eating on toast or even better, by the spoon.
The thought of pesto pasta would NOT leave my mind so I took a long at their other ingredients provided and decided to make my own pesto for a pesto orzo salad and to include another delightful addition- Sweet potatoes.
I know I only recently admitted sweet potatoes being sub par to the white spud, however in this orzo salad- It was the key ingredient. I marinated the sweet potato chunks in the colavita olive oil, balsamic vinegar, TRUFFLE balsamic glace, sea salt and slow roasted it in the oven for 45 minutes to caramelise. At the same time, I made a ridiculously easy homemade pesto but wanted this dish to be vegan so omitted the parmesan and added a touch more salt and olive oil.
This Pesto Orzo Salad is a the kind of salad you bring to a barbecue, picnic or party to impress others yet it is super simple to whip up. The pesto is easily made by blitzing all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. The sweet potatoes are best when marinated for an hour prior to roasting but for those in a time crunch, can be simply dressed, roasted and
face planted chopped through the salad. For the orzo, you simply boil it in salt water as you do with most pastas until al dente and voila- This pesto orzo salad will be THE star.
For those who want to cheat even further, you can totally buy your own store bought pesto. Vegan friends, I’d recommend buying this one after having the pleasure of sampling it in Chelsea the other week. For those who just can’t be bothered- Of course you should use the delicious Colavita one.
Let’s celebrate Summer grilling with Colavita by making this Pesto Orzo Salad the first of your upcoming recipes to make.
Pesto Orzo Salad
- 1 package of Colavita Orzo cooked and cooled (for GF use GF pasta of choice)
For the pesto
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup + 1 T Colavita olive oil
- 3 tablespoon salted cashews
- 1 small garlic clove
- Colavita salt from the sea to taste
For the sweet potatoes
- 2 large sweet potatoes chopped into large chunks (4-5 per potato)
- 1/2 tablespoon Colavita white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Colavita balsamic white truffle balsamic glace
- 1 tablespoon Colavita extra virgin olive oil
- Colavita salt from the sea to taste
- Prepare your sweet potatoes by combining the balsamic vinegar, truffle balsamic glace, olive oil and sea salt from the sea in a small bowl and whisk well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes with the oil and vinegar mixture and allow to sit for at least an hour. 10 minutes prior to roasting, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Coat a large baking tray lightly with oil and cover evenly with the marinated sweet potatoes and cook for 40-50 minutes, until soft and caramelised. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Make the orzo according to directions and boil until al dente. (If using the Colavita brand, it should be 7 minutes ). Set aside.
- In a quality blender or food processor, combine all the pesto ingredients and blend well.
- Mix the pesto mixture throughout the orzo and taste- It may need more salt. Chop the cooled marinated sweet potatoes and in mix through the orzo.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to consume.
Looking for other non traditional salads to impress? I’ve got your back!
Spanish Gnocchi Salad
This is a Sponsored Post by Colavita – Italian Summer Grilling. Cheers, hugs and handshakes for supporting companies and brands which help in making The Big Man’s World continue to grow.
What is your favourite kind of salad?
Favourite side dish when grilling?