Lemony orzo with artichoke pesto, corn and grape tomatoes

Sorry for missing this weekend’s post. Since we had an unusually hot day, our friends, my husband and I ended up driving up to Newburyport to spend the day by the pool – definitely the perfect activity on a 95* day! Of course on my way to the party, I decided to stop by Trader Joe’s to pick up a few ingredients for a simple lunch for all. This dish ended up being a HUGE hit so I thought I’d share it right away given that July 4th is coming up and you may find yourselves doing a bit of lounging by the pool as well (or spending time with my friends and family at a cookout).ย Bring this lemony orzo with artichoke pesto, corn and grape tomatoes to the party and you may just make a few new friends! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It all starts with making a flavorful artichoke “pesto” – you blend some artichokes, fresh parsley, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest and olive oil and try not to eat it all before the orzo (rice shaped pasta) is cooked through. Combine with some roasted corn kernels (Trader Joe’s came to the rescue here again with their frozen pre-roasted kernels – easy!), halved grape tomatoes and a healthy helping of grated parmesan. This recipe was based on Giada’s version, but of course I used whole wheat orzo (try it, it tastes just like the white orzo but provides you with a serving of whole grains!), cut down on the herbs (to let the artichokes shine), olive oil (it’s healthy but should still be used in moderation) and parmesan cheese. I also upped the lemon juice because I really wanted that lemony kick. Quickly adjust the seasonings for salt and pepper and you have a winning dish that comes together in about 10 minutes. Done and done! ๐Ÿ˜€

Printable recipe

What’s your favorite dish to bring to a cookout or an outdoor party?



  1. Michelle says:

    This sounds wonderful and perfect for summer!

  2. Shannon says:

    ooh, artichoke pesto is something that needs to be done… after i move ๐Ÿ˜‰ this looks pretty awesome!

  3. Suzanne says:

    Hi Elina, I was searching for a recipe for Sirniki and thats how I found you! I am so impressed with all your wonderful recipes, and I am so looking forward to making some of them. I’m from the western part of Ma. and I’ve been frequenting a lovely Russian tea room that makes amazing farm cheese pancakes and I so wanted a recipe for it…thankyou! I’m going to be searching where to find farm cheese as the only Whole foods out this way is in South Hadley. I wish you the best with your new job, it sounds very exciting!
    ~ Suzanne ~

    • elina says:

      Hi Suzanne, thanks so much! You should check some of the larger supermarkets in your area (the Big Y?). I’ve bought farmer’s cheese at Shaw’s in Boston on a few occasions. Friendship Dairies makes one: http://www.friendshipdairies.com/products/farmer-cheese.html

      • Suzanne says:

        Thankyou for the information Elina, I will surely check my local Big Y for the cheese! I also wanted to say that I love how you cook and bake with organic ingredients as I try to do for the most part, I think it makes such a big difference in flavor. I made a chicken piccata dish the other night and the chicken (organic) was so tender you could cut it with your fork! I’ll certainly be trying some of your lovely healthy meals! You mentioned Newburyport, we used to stop there with our children on our way up to Hampton Beach…such a quaint and lovely seaside town. Have a wonderful day!