Shrimp & Broccoli Pesto Orzo

I’ve been pretty in love with this kale pesto recipe since I first made it last month, and I decided to use it as inspiration for two dishes this week – this Shrimp & Broccoli Pesto Orzo and Pesto Pita Pizzas with Mozzarella and Spicy Sausage. I had extra kale, so I made a double batch and froze the leftovers for another day. This is a pretty simple recipe and could easily be made with other proteins instead of shrimp – grilled chicken or turkey sausage would be delicious, too. The fresh squeeze of lemon at the end adds a nice acidic touch and balances some of the richness of the dish, too. Enjoy!

Shrimp & Broccoli Pesto Orzo


  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I was feeling thrifty this week and decided to use just 1/2 lb)
  • 2 C broccoli florets
  • 1.5 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 recipe of kale walnut pesto (use in another dish or freeze for later)
  • 1 C whole wheat orzo, uncooked
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)


Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add the broccoli and boil for 3-4 minutes until bright green and crisp-tender. Remove the broccoli and set aside.

cook broccoli

Return the water to a boil and add the orzo. Cook according to the package directions, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté, tossing to cook evenly until pink and just about cooked through, about 3 minutes.

saute shrimp

Add the broccoli to the shrimp and toss, cooking for another minute or so.

sauteed broccoli and shrimp

Add the orzo, pesto and reserved cooking liquid and toss to combine.

add pesto

Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze 1/2 of a fresh lemon over the pasta. Serve immediately.


Shrimp & Broccoli Pesto Orzo


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