Whole-Wheat Orzo with Artichoke-Almond Pesto

This lemony, nutty pasta is delicious warm or cold, making it a great lunch-box option. Choose frozen or canned artichoke hearts for the pesto (the marinated ones will impart their own flavor) and be sure to drain thoroughly.


  • almonds, ½ cup (2 oz/60 g)
  • dried whole-wheat orzo, 8 oz (250 g)
  • drained canned or thawed frozen artichoke hearts, 6
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, 1 cup packed (about 1 oz/30 g)
  • pitted green olives, ½ cup ( oz/75 g), chopped
  • olive oil, 3 tbsp
  • finely grated lemon zest and juice, from 2 lemons
  • sea salt, ¼ tsp
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, 1 oz (30 g), shaved with a vegetable peeler (about ¼ cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour onto a plate to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until tender but firm to the bite, about 8 minutes or according to package directions. Drain well.
  3. While pasta is cooking, chop almonds, artichoke hearts, and parsley. Chop finely and uniformly, or coarsely for a more rustic, chunky texture. Transfer to a large serving bowl and add olives, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and cooked pasta. Stir to mix thoroughly. Gently fold in Parmesan and serve right away.

per serving 460 calories, 16 g protein, 44 g carbs, 25 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 9 g fiber, 550 mg sodium