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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.

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

Looking for a quick, tasty, and nutritious weeknight dinner idea? You’ve come to the right place!

In this recipe, orzo is tossed in a homemade basil-walnut pesto sauce. Canned artichoke hearts and lemon zest give this dish a refreshing flavour profile and sautéed shrimp provide a filling protein source.

As a dietitian, I try my best to make meals that contain a combination of quality protein, healthy fats, and fiber to help you feel satisfied and energized. I go more into the unique nutrition benefits of some key ingredients below, if interested!

This dinner recipe can also be modified in a variety of ways – the orzo, for instance, can be swapped with other grains. I’ve listed some ideas and tips below, including ways to make a gluten-free version if needed.

Want more shrimp recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of 15+ easy, healthy shrimp recipes for more ideas! More pasta recipes? I’ve got a roundup of over 20 healthy pasta recipes here too!

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

What Is Orzo?

Orzo (also known as “risoni”) is a type of short-cut pasta that is shaped like a large grain of rice. It’s traditionally made from semolina flour, like most pastas.

Orzo is cooked just like pasta and is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Unlike rice, it is not a gluten-free grain, so if you must follow a gluten-free diet be sure to swap it for something else. I’ve included some ideas in the recipe modifications section below 🙂

Ingredients Needed

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

Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Overhead photo of small bowls of ingredients on a wood cutting board.

Recipe Modifications & Ingredient Swaps

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. Nutritional yeast can be swapped for parmesan if you eat dairy.
  4. Walnuts can be swapped for another nut or seed. I like making pesto with pistachios, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, or the classic pine nuts.
  5. 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!
  6. 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

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!

Overhead photo of orzo tossed with pesto in a large pot.

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

More Delicious Shrimp Bowls

Did you give this Pesto Orzo With Lemon, Artichokes & Shrimp Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: 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.
Overhead photo of a bowl of pesto orzo topped with artichokes and shrimp.
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Ingredients

Pesto Sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 1/4 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.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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Pinterest graphic for a pesto orzo with lemon, artichoke, and shrimp recipe.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.