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Go Ask Mom

Recipe: Three steps to make this easy orzo summer salad with whatever you have on hand

Posted June 18, 2020 8:40 p.m. EDT

Orzo salad

We're big fans of orzo in my house, those tiny pasta bits that look a lot like rice. It's an easy side dish, whether coated in some olive oil and herbs or butter and parsley.

But, in the summer months, I also turn those boxes of pasta into all kinds of cold salads, using up what I have on hand to build out the dish. It's a perfect way to get rid of vegetables and other leftovers that are lingering in your refrigerator.

Easy Orzo Summer Salad

First: Starting with a 16-ounce box of orzo pasta and cook according to the directions on the box. After it's drained, rinse the pasta with cold water so it cools down.

Second: Now it's time for the add-ins. Here's what I like to add to my orzo salad. I typically chop the vegetables up into small pieces. Per one 16-ounce box of cooked orzo, you'll want to mix in about 5 cups of add-ins.

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Larger tomatoes, diced
  • Chick peas
  • Cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Green onion
  • Olives - black or kalamata
  • Bell peppers
  • Herbs such as parsley, dill or basil
  • Cooked or roasted veggies like summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, peppers or carrots, chopped
  • Peas
  • Feta cheese
  • Chopped grilled steak or chicken

Third: Once you've incorporated the add-ins to your cooked orzo, it's time for the dressing. You can use a bottled dressing; I like oil-based dressings or pesto best. Or, you can make your own. Dress the salad based on your preference, but I generally use about a cup of dressing per 16-ounce box of cooked orzo.

Fourth: Serve!

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