Take a moment and imagine this – it’s summer, the sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze in the air, and you’re surrounded by good company. As the grill sizzles away, you know that something is missing from your feast- a perfect side dish to complement everything else on your table. Well, I’ve got just the thing for you – my Summer Orzo Salad Recipe.
When it comes to summer parties, there’s nothing better than putting together easy and delicious dishes that everyone can enjoy. My Summer Orzo Salad Recipe is the perfect addition to your next backyard barbecue or picnic on the beach. Trust me when I say this – once you try this salad, it will become an instant hit among your friends and family.
Filled with fresh ingredients like cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, and green beans, this salad screams summer harvest. Cooked orzo pasta provides an excellent base for all these flavors to meld together with peppery baby spinach leaves and crumbled feta cheese adding more depth to each bite.
Whether you’re gathering around a fire pit or sharing stories over a bottle of wine, this salad is versatile enough to be enjoyed in any setting. So go ahead and give my Summer Orzo Salad Recipe a try; let it take center stage at your next celebration while making your guests ask for seconds (or maybe even thirds). Trust me; this salad will be the star of the show!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Listen up, my fellow foodies! I’m here to tell you why this summer orzo salad is going to be your new obsession.
First, let’s talk about the ingredients. This salad is packed with perfect summer produce: fresh corn, green beans, cherry tomatoes – need I say more? And don’t even get me started on the feta cheese. All of these flavors combine to create a taste explosion in every single bite.
But what really sets this salad apart is the orzo pasta. It acts as the perfect base for all of the other ingredients, and adds a satisfying lightness to the dish that traditional pasta salads just can’t compete with. And let’s face it, sometimes you just need a break from heavy carb-loaded dishes.
But wait, there’s more! This recipe is incredibly versatile – you can customize it to your liking by adding in chickpeas, goat cheese, cucumber or whatever else your heart desires. The possibilities are truly endless with this dish.
And finally, let’s not forget about how easy this salad is to make. It comes together quickly without sacrificing any of that delicious flavor. It’s the perfect dish for a summer barbecue or outdoor gathering, and it travels well too. You can easily make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
In conclusion, this summer orzo salad has everything you want in a dish: fresh flavors, versatility and ease of preparation. Trust me when I say that once you try this recipe, you won’t be able to stop making it. So go ahead and add those ingredients to your grocery list and get ready for a taste sensation like no other.
Let’s talk about the ingredients you need to make this stunning summer orzo salad! This recipe calls for a variety of fresh produce and pantry staples. Don’t worry; everything is easy to find at your local grocery store. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need:
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 2 cobs or frozen corn
- 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 6 cups), roughly chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
Pasta & Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups dry orzo pasta (8 ounces)
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- Chickpeas (optional)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon honey or granulated sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
With these fresh and flavorful ingredients, you will wow your guests with every bite of this delicious summer orzo salad.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have gone through the ingredients, let’s jump into making this delicious Summer Orzo Salad. This recipe will take some cooking, but it’s quite easy to make.
Prepping the ingredients
Firstly, start with prepping your vegetables. Clean and cut your green beans, and pull off kernels from your fresh corn (cooked). Take cherry tomatoes and halve them lengthwise.
Next, crumble up feta cheese using a fork. You can add in other vegetables like thinly sliced red onion, diced cucumber, or grated carrots. Once you’ve prepped everything, it’s time to make the orzo pasta.
Cook the orzo pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add orzo pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Pour cooked pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water until it cools down.
Moving forward, drain off any excess water from the colander then place drained orzo into a large mixing bowl.
Mix all ingredients together
Stir in the cooked green beans, fresh corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes into the same mixing bowl with the pasta. Add in crumbled feta cheese and toss all together.
Make the dressing
In a small measuring cup whisk together extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, honey mustard, honey, dried oregano, salt & black pepper according to taste*.
Pour this over salad ingredients in mixing bowl; stir everything together until perfectly combined.
When ready to serve your Summer Orzo Salad dish out onto plates and garnish with sliced fresh basil or extra crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!
Note: ingredient details are provided in Section (3) Ingredient List
Substitutions and Variations
As a home chef, I believe that substitutions and variations are the keys to keep things interesting in the kitchen. In this section, I’ll share with you some of my favorite ways to customize this summer orzo salad recipe.
Firstly, if you’re not a fan of cherry tomatoes, you can substitute them with grape or plum tomatoes. You can even swap them for diced fresh tomatoes from your garden for an extra burst of flavor.
If you’re looking to add a bit more crunch to your salad, try swapping out the fresh green beans with blanched asparagus spears. Alternatively, chopped celery or cucumber can give the same effect without sacrificing on the texture and freshness.
For a vegetarian or vegan version of this pasta salad, simply omit the feta cheese and replace it with crumbled goat cheese, sunflower seeds or toasted almonds. The salad will still have its tangy taste, just without any animal products.
To make this salad more filling and protein-packed, toss in some chickpeas or cubed tofu. For a Mediterranean twist, add in chopped Kalamata olives and diced red bell peppers to satisfy your palate.
Lastly, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch up the dressing, try adding some balsamic vinegar or honey mustard to give the salad a different edge. You can also toss in some fresh herbs like basil or parsley for that extra zing!
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to experiment with this recipe and adjust it to your preferences. Embrace your creativity and make it your own!
Serving and Pairing
Are you looking for an elegant side dish that complements your main course during your summer cookouts? Then you can’t go wrong with serving this Summer Orzo Salad Recipe to your guests. This delightful salad is perfect to serve at outdoor picnics, barbecues, or potlucks.
The light and refreshing taste of Summer Orzo Salad Recipe can pair perfectly with a wide selection of meat or seafood dishes. For instance, you can serve the salad alongside grilled chicken, shrimp skewers or lamb chops. The salad’s blend of summery vegetables like cherry tomatoes, fresh green beans and kernels of corn add a deliciously crisp and colorful touch to your plate. Not only that but the feta cheese provides a salty tanginess that enhances the overall taste even further.
Furthermore, the salad is versatile enough to be modified according to your taste buds. You can also add some protein source like chicken and chickpeas to create a complete meal. Additionally, it pairs well with red or white wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
On top of being multipurpose, Summer Orzo Salad Recipe is an amazing option as a make-ahead item for a larger crowd. It won’t take much of your time preparing since it only requires minimal effort in cooking the orzo pasta and chopping up the vegetables. It saves time on the day of hosting while keeping your tomatoes halved and crumbled feta cheese fresh until you’re ready to add them in.
In conclusion, Summer Orzo Salad recipe is not only easy to make but is also an ideal dish that provides satisfying results every time. So next time when you schedule for a summer feast at home, I suggest holding back on all those high-calorie options and consider adding this fuss-free recipe in your menu.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Now, this is where things get real interesting, my friends. This salad is a real crowd-pleaser, and it’s so easy to make it ahead of time to accommodate your busy schedule.
If you want to make it ahead, just cook the orzo and vegetables separately, then mix them together when you’re ready to serve. I recommend storing the ingredients in separate containers so they stay fresh.
When it comes to storing leftovers, this salad will last up to three days in the refrigerator. Trust me, it’ll still taste just as good as day one – maybe even better!
Don’t worry about reheating the salad because it can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold straight from the fridge. I won’t judge you if you eat it straight out of the container with a fork!
One tip I have for ensuring that your salad stays fresh is to keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to serve. Drizzle the dressing over the top right before serving to prevent wilting.
Believe me when I say this salad is perfect for meal prep or for bringing along to a picnic or potluck. It’s versatility at its finest!
Tips for Perfect Results
Ah, so you want to know the secrets to creating a perfect Summer Orzo Salad recipe? You’ve come to the right place. As an experienced home chef who loves throwing parties, I have some helpful tips that can take your dish from good to great. Here are some great ideas that would guarantee success in making this dish.
1. Don’t Overcook the Orzo Pasta
The texture of the orzo pasta makes a big difference in the outcome of the salad. Cook it al dente according to package directions. This way, the pasta holds its shape and maintains its chewiness.
2. Rinse the Orzo with Cold Water After Cooking
After cooking, give the orzo a quick rinse with cold water. It’s important to do this because it stops the cooking process, removes any excess starch and helps separate the noodles.
3. Use High-Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A great-tasting extra virgin olive oil is essential to enhance flavor and provide a healthy fat source for your body. It’s recommended to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for its rich taste that adds an additional layer of complexity to the salad.
4. Add Feta Cheese Right Before Serving
Feta cheese is a main ingredient in this dish, but if added too early, it can get soggy and lose its flavor. Sprinkle feta cheese over it right before serving and let your guests do their thing!
5. Play With Your Seasonings
Gone are the days when salads had restrictions on seasonings – Get inspired! Try seasoning with smoked paprika for an enticing aroma or adding a little honey mustard for more depth in flavors.
By following these simple tips, you will surely impress your guests with your delicious Summer Orzo Salad recipe that they will crave more of after leaving your party!
Now that you have all the details about this delicious and easy-to-make Summer Orzo Salad Recipe, it’s time to take action and make it yourself! This recipe is perfect for a summer party, a BBQ or as a side dish for any meal. The ingredients are simple and easy to find, but the flavor is complex and will leave your taste buds craving more.
So, why not ditch those boring sides and impress your guests with this fresh and vibrant salad? With endless possibilities for substitutions and variations, the Summer Orzo Salad Recipe is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Don’t just take my word for it – try this recipe out for yourself and see why it’s received such rave reviews!
And remember, cooking should be fun and enjoyable, so don’t be afraid to get creative and put your own spin on this recipe. Whether you prefer it with cherry tomatoes, fresh corn or feta cheese – the choices are all yours. So, go ahead and experiment until you find the perfect combination for you!
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a refreshing summer dish that’s quick and easy to make while still being impressive to your guests, then give this Summer Orzo Salad Recipe a try. I guarantee that it will become one of your favorite dishes in no time – happy cooking!
Summer Orzo Salad Recipe
- 1 lb fresh green beans, microwavable (snapped into 2 inch lengths)
- 8 ounces orzo pasta, dried
- 3 ears fresh corn, white preferred
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half
- 1 1/2 cups Bernsteins light fantastic cheese fantastico salad dressing
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook Orzo as directed; rinse with cool water and set aside.
- Prepare beans as directed for microwave (3.5 to 4.5 mins); rinse with cold ice water to retain color and stop cooking, until beans are cold then drain well.
- Husk corn, rinse, and holding cobs upright, cut kernals off into deep bowl (cut kernals close to cob).
- In large wide bowl, mix Orzo with 1/2 cup of dressing.
- Spread pasta level and begin layering corn, green beans, and tomatoes.
- Just prior to serving, pour 3/4 of dressing over salad and mix gently if desired. (Add more dressing, salt/pepper to taste).
Your Own Notes
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Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!