Summer Orzo (Pasta) Salad

Summer Orzo (Pasta) Salad

Today we attended our annual Mother’s Day picnic in the park with extended family and some close friends.  It’s a lot of fun but it is also a dance trying to figure out what side to bring that wouldn’t be replicated by five other people.  I was a bit stumped for a bit and then remembered: orzo!  Orzo is the often overlooked pasta for pasta salads but it is really good.  I looked at a few recipes but ended up just making up my own recipe with things we liked.  That’s the great thing about orzo, you can put just about anything into it and it ties it all together.  This is definitely going on our short list of summer favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of uncooked orzo (3/4ths of a 16oz box) – cook al dente, drain, rinse with cold water to prevent sticking, and chill)
  • 1 Pint cherry or small grape tomatoes (use yellow and/or red) – slice each one into 3-4 pieces
  • 1.5 Cucumbers – diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 Small head of raw, fresh broccoli (Cut off the stems and separate the florets into individual pieces)
  • 1.5 cups of frozen green peas (run hot water over them just until they are thawed, do not cook)

Instructions:

  • Prepare each of the ingredients as directed above and toss together. Don’t forget to chill the orzo first.
  • Add in 1/2 a cup of dressing and toss again. Anything light flavored with a zing would taste amazing.  I made this one up to use but adding in little bits of each ingredient until it tasted right to me:
    • Mix together with 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil:
    • 2.5 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons of dried italian herb mix (oregano, thyme, basil, dash of dill). If I had fresh on hand I would have used that.  But I didn’t so I used dried.
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 Tbsp of lime juice (I wasn’t planning to use this, just the vinegar, but it needed a bit more zing to it that the vinegar wasn’t giving). You could use lemon for a more distinct citrus flavor.
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