Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

In the summertime, GG (aka Grill Guy, aka Mr. M, aka my better half) really lives up to his namesake and grills up some sort of meat for dinner most nights. With him on grill duty, I'm left to round out our meal with a good side dish or two and I'm always looking for new recipes to mix things up. After seeing lots and lots of orzo salad recipes, I decided to try it out and basically borrowed ideas from a bunch of Pinterest recipes I found. For the most part, it seems like all you need for a winning combination is the orzo (duh), vinaigrette dressing, a veggie or two, and a little cheese - or at least, that's the winning combo that I went with!

8 oz. dried orzo pasta (1/2 box)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 head of broccoli - chopped
Balsamic glaze
1 lemon
2 tbl herb oil
Grated manchego cheese
Red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste

I started with about 8 oz of dry orzo, or about half the box. Feel free to make the whole thing, but be warned it results in a lot of orzo! Prepare per the box instructions and drain once cooked to your preference (always al dente in my house!).

I surveyed my fridge to see what veggies we had on hand and went with fresh cherry tomatoes and broccoli.  I steamed the broccoli first, but decided to keep the tomatoes raw for a nice burst of flavor.  And of course, don't forget to salt and pepper both to taste.

Next I whipped up an easy lemon vinaigrette, pretty similar to my go-to salad dressing (recipe here), using the juice of a whole lemon, a little herb oil (if you live by a Wegmans, check out their basting oil - it's a pantry staple of mine!), some red pepper flakes, a couple of squirts of balsamic glaze, and fresh ground pepper.

Add your veggies to the cooked orzo and add some of your vinaigrette to taste. I personally don't like my salads swimming with dressing, so I just added a couple of tablespoons until everything had a light coating.

Lastly, I grated up some Manchego cheese and stirred into the salad. Manchego is a personal favorite of mine - it's a pretty mild, sheep's milk cheese that has a slightly nutty taste. I think it paired really well with the lemony flavor of the vinaigrette, but feel free to sub in your favorite cheese - I bet goat cheese would also be delish!

We paired this with a sirloin steak and it was the perfect side dish. I love that it made dinner super easy that night since we had our veggies and a little starch all in one side dish. Plus GG couldn't stop raving about this one and was excited that we had enough for leftovers the next night.

This also makes a great alternative to those classic mayo pasta salads and I'm planning to make a big batch of this for the Father's Day BBQ we're going to be hosting.

Is anyone else a fan of orzo - what is your winning combination of ingredients?!

Linking up today with EmilyJennifer JuniperKaryn, KristenEmilyMandyMaryJessicaMandySusanLisa, and Natasha!


  1. Ohh this sounds and looks amazing! And is much lighter than a regular pasta salad so it's perfect for summer! Definitely trying this out!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  2. I literally have everything in my kitchen to make this right now!!! Orzo is one of my favorite summer recipes to make!!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. Yum! I love dishes that use orzo. Looks super light and tasty!

  4. My goodness this looks amazing! I have to save this one!

  5. YUM! You basically read my mind because I've been meaning to search for salad recipes that incorporate broccoli and I love orzo! I usually mix it with cucumber, feta, and olives!

  6. Looks and sounds delicious! I'm always looking for pasta salad recipes that don't have mayo in them, so thank you for sharing this one!! I will definitely try it soon. :-)

  7. Omg - get in my belly! This looks delicious. I'm also hosting a Fathers Day BBQ, and this will be perfect.

  8. Yummy and summery... love it!!

  9. That looks SO freaking delicious. Seriously.

  10. Orzo salads are my favorites. I love to do a greek version with a homemade dressing, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. I also like to keep it simple with just broccoli, tomatoes, green onions, and olive oil.

    Yours looks awesome!! I'll have to try it.

  11. Oh my this looks delicious!!! I haven't really made orzo anything. I get it as a side sometime out but this would make a great side at home too! Yum!!!

  12. Looks amazing! I've never cooked orzo but I know I'd love this dish.

  13. Holy YUM! One of my favorite dishes.. perfect for summer bbq's :-D

  14. I love just about anything lemon and this is perfect for summer. Most of the produce I have growing in my garden now. I have this pinned for when my harvest comes in.
    This looks amazing!! Found your recipe at the Do Tell Tuesday Link Party. I am the hostesses of Tickle My Tastebuds and would love you to stop by and link this recipe. http://bit.ly/1ALgeTe

  15. Aww snap, I just got the aww snap message with this. haha. Anyway, I'll write it again. Mmmm. This looks so good and so different from what we're used to. I wonder if the hubby will like it?

  16. this looks so yummy! my mum used to make a pasta type dish with orzo, i've never had it cold like this, but it looks so good!

  17. Yum I love lemon! This salad looks so refreshing. I can imagine making it for countless bbqs this summer :)

  18. That looks absolutely delicious! I am always looking for a good side. I just pinned this one! Thanks for sharing!

  19. This looks and sounds so good! I love a good light summer side dish!

  20. I love any and ALL pasta salads - so delicious in the summer! I've been looking for some new lighter side recipes - this is perfect!

  21. This sounds JUST like us..Chuck mans the grill and I'm left to come up with the rest. Totally adding this one to my list!

  22. This looks so yummie!!! Perfect for a summer BBQ.

  23. Mmm! I love recipes that call for fresh lemon. So good!


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