With warm weather comes time for lots of easy weeknight dinners. And this simple Tomato Orzo Pasta Salad can not only be a great light dinner, but it is also is perfect as a side dish for your next BBQ.
What is orzo pasta made of?
Orzo is an italian word meaning “barley”, but orzo pasta is not made of barley. Orzo is generally made with semolina flour (wheat) and durum flour.
Orzo pasta has a rice shape and is small, so it doesn’t take long to cook. It’s great for salads!
Is orzo pasta healthier than rice?
Orzo pasta cannot really be compared to rice because they are two different things. Orzo pasta is traditional pasta. It is higher in protein than rice, but is also higher in carbs.
If you are looking for a healthy option, it’s best to look for a brown rice or orzo pasta made with wheat flour. This will give you the most health benefits.
Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredients
This fresh salad has a handful of delicious ingredients:
Orzo pasta. The texture of the orzo really lends itself well to a pasta salad. I can’t always find whole wheat orzo in my local store, but it can definitely be subbed here for a healthier version.
Grape or cherry tomatoes. Since the tomatoes are the star of the show, I recommend getting the freshest ones possible.
Fresh basil. If you don’t have fresh basil in your herb garden, buy some in the store. It really kicks the flavor of this salad up a notch!
Feta cheese. The strong flavor of feta adds not only amazing tastes, but creaminess also.
Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette
This salad has an easy olive oil and red wine vinaigrette. Lemon juice gives it a fresh zing.
If you’d like you can leave the sugar out. Or for a healthier option use honey or even coconut sugar. It’s a little touch of sugar, but really brings out the flavor of the sweet tomatoes.
This vinaigrette is delicious on other salads also!
How to Make Orzo Pasta Salad
The first step to making this salad is to cook the orzo. Since the pasta is small, it doesn’t take long. You’ll want to make sure the pasta is cooled completely before putting the salad together so be sure to leave time for that.
After you cook the orzo, toss it with 2 tablespoons olive oil and refrigerate. The olive oil will prevent the pasta from sticking together.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon and sugar.
Snip the basil leaves and them add into the dressing.
Stir in a pinch (approximately ¼ teaspoon) of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Combine the orzo, dressing, tomatoes and feta.
Stir until the dressing coats the pasta.
Refrigerate this salad until you are ready to serve it.
How long does orzo salad last?
This salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. The dressing will soak into the salad, but it really does taste delicious still the second day.
If you are serving leftovers you can toss it with a little extra dressing and it will spice it back up.