Orzo Pasta Garden Salad is a colorful and vibrant summer dish that not only makes you feel full but also tastes refreshing. It is made with fresh cherry tomatoes, boiled chickpeas, red onion, bell pepper, spinach, and cucumber.
Orzo Pasta Salad is healthy, fresh, and full of flavors. It is one of those dishes you want to try when the weather is too hot and you don't feel like making anything. I always keep my refrigerator filled with these garden veggies. So whenever its time, I just pop them out and enjoy this delicious salad.
This is one of the easiest recipes that you can make either using Instant Pot or on the Stove-Top. It requires minimal ingredients and all the flavors come from the fresh & colorful veggies. You can include your preferred add-ins in this Orzo Salad and it also goes great with any Vinaigrette of your choice.
WHAT IS ORZO?
Orzo is a kind of pasta that looks a lot like long-grain rice but is a little thick. They have a creamy and a buttery flavor and provides great texture to soups or salads when added. You can get them from your local grocery stores in Pasta aisle.
You can make this recipe with any other Pasta too by following the steps. The taste will be pretty much the same. But with Orzo, flavors get blended more nicely.
ORZO PASTA SALAD DRESSING
You can make your fresh Vinaigrette using some fresh ingredients, or can also use your favorite store-bought one. Either way, this Orzo Pasta Garden Salad is gonna be your favorite Summer recipe.
I have made fresh Citrus Vinaigrette using some freshly squeezed orange juice along with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and of course, some mint leaves to it. Citrus Vinaigrette goes really well in the Pasta Salad as the flavors are not so empowering. And did I mention it's super easy to make?
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED FOR MAKING ORZO PASTA GARDEN SALAD RECIPE
- ORZO: Obviously you need Orzo Pasta for making Orzo Pasta Salad. But you can also make the same recipe using some other variety of pasta.
- CHICKPEAS: A layer of protein is always nice. So being a Vegetarian, I add Chickpeas or Black Beans or any Sprouted Lentils. (Learn how to sprout lentils.)
- VEGGIES: All colorful and beautiful garden veggies look great in Orzo Pasta Salad. I have added red onion, cherry tomatoes, red & green bell peppers, cucumber, etc. You can include any other preferred add-ins to the dish.
- GREENS: I had Spinach in my refrigerator so I used it this time. But I prefer adding Argula in the recipe. So Argula/Spinach both works in this salad.
- HERBS: This is the most beautiful part of this salad. You can add any or all the herbs. They work perfectly and beautifully in bringing the flavors together.
- VINAIGRETTE: You can add any Vinaigrette of your liking. To make this salad more refreshing, I have added Citrus Vinaigrette with orange & lemon juice.
- CHEESE (OPTIONAL): I am not a fan of Cheese, but if you want to elevate the flavors you can definitely add Feta Cheese to it.
HOW TO COOK ORZO PASTA IN AN INSTANT POT
All varieties of Pasta are cooked in the same way in an Instant Pot using the same process. Based on the instruction or time mentioned, just divide that time by 2. And from the result take away 1. So whatever the result, that's the time you need to cook pasta in an Instant Pot.
For Example, the time to cook Orzo was 9 minutes, as per instruction mentioned in the bag. So I divided it with 2 and the result was 4.5 minutes. And I subtracted 1 from it and the end result was 3.5 minutes. Hence, I cooked the pasta for 3 minutes.
So once the timer beeps, immediately do the Quick Release. Once pressure is released, open the lid and transfer the pasta in cold water. This is only to stop the cooking process. We'll use it in the salad after straining the water out.
HOW TO MAKE ORZO PASTA GARDEN SALAD
- Prepare the Pasta: As per the instructions prepare the pasta either in the Instant Pot or on the Stove-Top. And once boiled, rinse in the cold water until it's cold.
- Add the Veggies: Add all the colorful & vibrant veggies that you prefer. You can add as many colorful veggies as you want and you can include olives too.
- Add the Vinaigrette: You can add any Vinaigrette of your liking like Berry Vinaigrette, Citrus, or Balsamic, etc.
- Toss & Serve: Once you have added all the ingredients, adjust the flavors, and serve it cold. You leave it in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
How to make Orzo Pasta Garden Salad
How to cook Orzo:
- Instant Pot: In 1 cup of Orzo Pasta, add 2 cups of water. And pressure cook for 3 minutes with the vent in the sealing position. Once timer beeps, immediately do Quick Release. When pressure is released then open the lid.
- Stove-Top: Add 1 cup of Orzo Pasta in boiling water. And boil for 8-9 minutes or as per instructions.
- Strain the leftover water and transfer orzo pasta in cold icy water. Leave it for 2-3 minutes or until its chilled.
- (Note: This will stop the cooking process and also it will not stick).
- Toss all the ingredients in a grinder or an immersion blender. And blend it until everything is combined well and keep it aside.
Orzo Pasta Garden Salad:
- Transfer cooked Orzo Pasta in a bowl after draining the water. You can use any other pasta too in the recipe.
- Then add all other ingredients (red onions, bell pepper, spinach, mint, cucumber, tomatoes, and chickpeas) in the bowl. Then add Citrus Vinaigrette in the bowl and toss until combined properly.
- Adjust the flavors and serve immediately.