When the weather starts to warm up, I crave summery, light salads. Since I love pasta, but I like to keep it light, today, I decided to make a Greek orzo salad recipe with a Mediterranean flair. Greek orzo pasta salad loaded with fresh, crunchy vegetables, with refreshing summer flavors, tastes like summer in a bowl.
With the bright colors of the rainbow, Greek orzo salad is light but filling with an oil-free lemony dressing.
WHAT IS ORZO PASTA?
Although orzo looks like rice, it is actually a rice-shaped pasta. Even though traditional orzo is not gluten-free, gluten-free orzo is currently available and works well with this recipe. For instance, Dellalo makes a gluten-free, corn, and rice orzo, which is fabulous. For this Greek orzo salad recipe, though, I used regular orzo, since it was all I could find during the pandemic.
Unlike other pasta, orzo cooks incredible fast, so the majority of the work for this salad is in chopping the vegetables and preparing the quick and easy dressing.
COOKING ORZO PASTA FOR GREEK ORZO PASTA RECIPE
- Bring 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a rolling boil
- Add 1 1/2 cups or 8 ounces uncooked orzo, stir and bring to a boil again
- Cover and reduce to simmer for 8 minutes
- Remove the orzo from heat, pour into a colander, and immediately run cold water through the colander.
- Drain completely and transfer cooled orzo into a bowl
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NEEDED FOR GREEK ORZO SALAD?
GREEK ORZO SALAD RECIPE
- 8 ounces dried orzo pasta
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 15 ounces can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (don’t forget to keep the aquafaba for another recipe)
- 1 small red onion, diced (approximately 1/4 cup)
- 1/8 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/8 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1/3 cup diced kalamata olives
GREEK ORZO SALAD DRESSING
In order to make the oil-free lemony dressing, simply whisk the ingredients together.
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 large lemon +zest of half the lemon)
- 3 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR NUTRIENT DENSITY AND EAT PASTA AS WELL!
Despite my love for pasta, I try to add a lot more greens into my diet for nutrient-density. For Greek orzo salad, for instance, I decided to make a salad of mostly greens and added Greek Orzo pasta in the center of my greens as an entree. Not only did I get the wonderful flavors of the Greek orzo pasta salad, but I added all my greens as well.
As a result, I ate the entire salad and felt completely satisfied. Whenever you make a pasta salad, mix it with greens, and reap the benefits of both worlds. So, the next time you worry about eating pasta, lower the amount of pasta, and add more greens.
OTHER GREAT SALADS TO KICK OFF SUMMER THAT YOU WILL LOVE!
- Vegan Broccoli Salad with Coconut Bacon
- Asparagus Salad
- Spinach Strawberry Salad
- Grilled Caesar Salad
- Bean Salad
- Vegan Potato Salad
- Lentil Salad
- Tabouli Salad
- Vegan Taco Salad
- Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Mediterranean Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Vegan Waldorf Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Salad