Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Orzo, White Beans, & Tomatoes, with Lemony Spinach Pesto

The "Orzo, White Beans, and Tomatoes with Lemony Spinach Pesto" (page 201) presented me with my first "how am I going to make pesto without oil?" challenge. I'm by no means a pesto expert, but all the varieties I've seen and tried seem to be heavy on the olive oil, as is this recipe, which calls for a full ¼ cup!  I had been avoiding all the pesto recipes in this book for fear there was really no way around the oil dilemma.  But this recipe looked so good, and if the pesto didn't work using veggie broth instead of oil, then the worst that could happen would be I'd have to throw it out.  I decided to take my chances.  As luck would have it, my experiment was a success, and I made an absolutely delicious oil free pesto!  I used about 6 tablespoons of veggie broth to replace the oil, and blended this with spinach, garlic, pine nuts, and salt.  This delightful blend is stirred into cooked orzo, cannellini beans, and cherry or grape tomatoes.  It is such a pretty dish, with the bright red of the tomatoes a beautiful contrast to the pesto green orzo.  The recipe calls for 1 ½ cups dry orzo, which translates to about 4 or more cups cooked.  I cut the amount nearly in half to keep the dish saucier, and the flavors more intense.  I will no longer shy away from the pesto recipes!


  1. I've been waiting to see how you would tackle pesto. I normally make it with veggie stock and just a glug of oil, as that amount of oil freaks me out!

  2. Hi Susan! I'm so happy I took the plunge and tried this without the oil. The results were fantastic! Most pestos taste way too oily for me anyway so it's nice to know I can make this without any added oil at all. :)