Orzo Pasta Salad a simple pasta salad made with fresh peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, spinach, and tossed in a zesty dressing. The perfect side to go with any summer meal or serve as a main dish.
Summer is finally here and that means grilling out and lighter meals. Cold pasta dishes are always a favorite in our house. I love ones with a mayo-based dressing, but these salads with vinegar and oil-based can’t be beaten in the summertime.
Ways to change up to make it to your liking:
- Add some protein, chicken, pepperoni, or even beans would work.
- Try different veggies, I love the peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spinach in this recipe, but if one or several veggies are not your thing change them up. Cucumber, broccoli, zucchini, peas, olives, or your favorites
- Change up the dressing add a little lemon juice or zest for a bit of citrus
- Fresh herbs add great flavor.
- Add cheese such as feta, mozzarella, or Parmesan.
- When making the pasta follow the instructions of the box for al dente. You want the orzo to be tender yet still be firm to the bite.
- Make sure not to overcook the pasta, no one likes mushy pasta in a salad
- Once the pasta is cooked rinse with cool water to get rid of the excess starch and to stop cooking.
- Don’t add all of the dressing when making the salad, toss in about one-fourth or one-half of the dressing. Toss more in just before serving. Pasta likes to soak up the dressing as it sits, so adding it more just before you serve it prevents you from serving a dry dish.
- Before serving taste it and adjust the seasoning if it is needed.
Steps for making Orzo Pasta Salad
Cook the orzo following the directions on the package for al dente. Once it is cooked drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside and let it cool completely.
Clean and chop the vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. The peppers should be cut into small pieces. Finely chop the onions and slice the spinach.
Prepare the dressing. Use a food processor for best results ( a mini one works well). Add the garlic and process until the garlic is chopped finely. Add the olive oil and vinegar and process. Add the seasoning and process until all is combined.
Add the chopped vegetables to the cooled orzo and toss in.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 of the dressing and toss in.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cool in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just before serving toss in more of the dressing.
Looking for more cold dishes for the summer? Check these out:
Orzo Pasta Salad
- 10 ounces uncooked orzo about 1 1/2 cups
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 medium green pepper chopped
- 1/2 medium red pepper chopped
- 12 medium cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup sliced spinach
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Cook the orzo using the direction on the box for al dente. Once the pasta is cooked rinse with cool water and set aside to cool completely
- Prepare the vegetables for the salad.
- Prepare the salad dressing.
- Using a food processor (a mini one works well) Add the garlic and process until the garlic is finely chopped.
- Add the olive oil and vinegar and process until well combined.
- Add the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and process
- Add the orzo to a large bowl and toss in the vegetables.
- Toss the salad with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing in the salad.
- Season with additional salt and pepper.
- Refrigerator the salad until ready to serve. Just before serving toss with additional dressing.
- Cook the orzo using the directions on the package to al dente. You will want the pasta tender but still firm to the bite.
- Once the orzo is cooked rinse with cool water to rinse off excess starch and to stop cooking.
- Reserve some of the dressing to add just before serving the salad.
- Change up the vegetables if you find that you don't care for some in the recipe.