This orzo pasta salad is great for the summer when there are lots of potlucks, cookouts, and barbeques. This salad is simple to put together and is full of orzo pasta, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet corn, red onion, kalamata olives, smooth feta cheese, and tangy vinaigrette to coat this great salad.
When it comes to summer entertaining, salads are what make barbeques very simple. You can make them ahead of time, and when guests arrive, you just have to place them on the table. I like to serve this alongside a protein like chicken or steak. This salad leaves you plenty of time to be with your guests instead of cooking kitchen, and I don’t know about you, but in the summertime, I like to do my cooking in the morning before it gets too hot.
What ingredients are in an Orzo pasta salad?
- Orzo Cherry tomatoes taste similar to other fresh tomatoes, but because of their small size, the flavor can be a little more concentrated. Bright and sweet, they have a thin, snappy peel and a very juicy center.
- Cherry tomatoes They are small in size but are bright and sweet. They have a thin peel and are very juicy in the center. I like to cut them in half for this recipe.
- Parisian cucumbers They are small cucumbers with thin skin that doesn’t require being peeled and has very few seeds, and they tend to be less watery than other cucumbers. If you are not able to find them in your grocery store, you can use a regular cucumber and cut it into bite-size pieces.
- Red onion I like to slice these onions as thin as possible. I like to use a mandolin if you have one, but if not, you can slice them thinly and dice them into small pieces.
- Kalamata olives are large dark brown olives. They are a salty brine and contrast the flavor of the fresh herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Are large dark brown olives. They are a salty brine and contrast the flavor of the fresh herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
- Feta Cheese In this recipe, I like to skip the crumbled feta cheese and use a feta that’s in little cubes or that you can cut into little pieces. I like to save the crumbled cheese for Greek salad.
- Basil Use fresh basil and eat to your taste. I like to use it sparingly, but that’s my preference.
- Add an assortment of vegetables like cauliflower, bell peppers, broccoli, and cucumber.
- The Kalamata olives are what I like to use, but another olive of your choice works as well.
- Chopped artichoke or sun-dried tomato
- There are a variety of herbs you can use;, parsley, dill, or fresh basil.
- You can swap out the feta cheese for another cheese like goat cheese.
Tips for perfect orzo salad
- Al dente pasta When I cook pasta, I like to have it just pasta al dente because as it cools it continues to cook.
- Cool pasta let the pasta cool before adding it to the fresh vegetables or your vegetables will wilt and won’t have the nice crispy texture you are looking for.
- Make ahead You can make this salad a couple of days before you are planning to use it and add the herbs at the last so they keep it fresh.
- 1 mandolin optional
- 1 serving bowl
- 8 ounces dried orzo pasta
- 1-1/2 cups cucumber diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup red onion diced or sliced on mandolin
- ½ cup feta cut into cubes or crumbled
- ½ cup fresh basil
- ½ cup kalamata olives halved or quartered
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp parsley, oregano and dill 1 tbsp each herb
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp pepper
- To make the dressing start by adding all of the ingredients to either a small bowl and whisking or a jar and shaking. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cook orzo according to package directions
- Toss with dressing and season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving