Looking for a orzo recipe idea? Make a fantastic healthy summer recipe. Our Mediterranean orzo pasta salad is perfect for a picnic, a light lunch, side dish, or a make-ahead pasta salad for a BBQ.
We show you how to cook orzo perfectly. How to create a homemade Italian style, garlic and lemon vinaigrette dressing.
This simple orzo pasta can be served as it is, or cold mixed with your choice of fresh salad ingredients. Such as cucumber, olives, sundried tomatoes, pepper and sweetcorn.
Check out our video showing you every step of the way, to create the best orzo pasta salad recipe in only 20 minutes.
How to cook Orzo for salad?
When cooking orzo pasta for salad it is best to rinse the orzo first. This removes excess starches, if you don't the orzo may clump together.
Another, tip to stop it clumping together is to use plenty of water to boil the orzo in.
How long to cook orzo?
Once boiling, cook for 7-10 minutes. You can taste check it see when it is cooked. You want it to be fairly firm still, but not hard!
Once it is cooked drain immediately. Add the lemon and garlic olive oil dressing as soon as possible to prevent the orzo from sticking to itself.
How to make homemade Italian vinaigrette
We always make our own fresh dressings. This vinaigrette is so easy and quick to make and adds a great Mediterranean flavour to your orzo pasta salad.
Start with a simple mix of dried Italian herbs seasoning. Made from Oregano, Basil, Red Pepper Flakes, Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage and Parsley.
You can find it ready mixed in most shops, if not, why not mix your own Italian seasoning?
Mix together with garlic puree or fresh garlic minced, extra virgin or virgin olive oil and juice from half a lemon.
With the Italian dressing added to orzo, it can be served as it is still warm, with a side salad. But we prefer to leave it to cool whilst we prepare the other salad items to add to it.
In this case, we used cucumber, olives, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet yellow pepper, spring onions, sweetcorn and chopped fresh basil.
Of course, you can mix and match with any salad, vegetable or even fruit you like?
Time to mix them altogether to make a great rainbow of colour in this healthy orzo dish.
Once the orzo has cooled, mix with your fresh salad items. Serve straight away or refrigerate your cold orzo pasta salad until ready to serve.
This recipe is Vegan & Vegetarian friendly.
Or you have got the option to add more Italian ingredients such as mini mozzarella cheese balls and pine nuts to this lemon orzo salad recipe.
The perfect recipe for making ahead, to bring along to family or friends gatherings, buffets, parties, BBQ or picnics.
Serve it as a main or as a summer side dish to fish like our Sea Bream with Garlic and Chilli.
Alternatively with barbecued meat or poultry like our Zesty Italian Chicken Drumsticks.
Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within 2-3 days, makes a great healthy pasta salad packed lunch!
Orzo Pasta Salad
- 250 gram Orzo (1 cup)
Homemade Italian vinaigrette dressing
- 1 tbsp Dried Italian Herb Seasoning
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin or virgin is best
- 1 Lemon just the juice of half a lemon
- 2 tsp Garlic Puree or 3 cloves minced garlic
- 60 grams Green or/and Black Olives (¼ cup)
- ¼ Cucumber
- ½ tin Sweetcorn
- 8 Sundried Tomatoes
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 Spring Onions (green)
- ½ Sweet pepper (bell) yellow or
- 2 tbsp Fresh Basil
Optional Italian extras - not vegan friendly
- 12 Mini Mozzarella balls
- 1 tbsp Pine nuts
- Rinse the orzo with cold water to remove excess starch.
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the orzo and a pinch of salt. Bring it back to the boil, cooking for 7-10 minutes. Eat a couple of pieces of orzo to check if cooked enough, cook for longer if desired? Once cooked, drain.
- Whilst orzo is cooking, prepare the homemade vinaigrette dressing. Mix together the Italian style seasoning, olive oil, garlic and juice from ½ a lemon.
- Transfer drained orzo to a large bowl, add the dressing as soon as possible to prevent the orzo pasta sticking together.
- Stir through and leave to cool, whilst you prepare the salad. Or you can eat it warm as it is with salad served on the side?
- Chop all the salad ingredients up into small chunks.
- Mix the salad and orzo together.
- Ready to serve, straight away or keep in the fridge to keep cool until needed.
- Optional Italian extras, add mozzarella and pine nuts on top.
For another great make-ahead summer party, BBQ salad recipe ideas check out our Italian Style Rice Salad.