This orzo salad is simple, made with fresh ingredients.
This salad makes a tasty side dish for all your picnic needs!
Memorial Day is practically here and with that comes cookouts and BBQ’s. I don’t care what kind of meat you are grilling, if you don’t have good sides, all bets are off, as far as I am concerned. I don’t know how many cookouts I’ve attended where I’ve hungrily searched for decent sides to go with my freshly grilled burger, only to be disappointed by potato salads thickly coated with mayo and baked beans from a can.
I sound like a food snob, I know, but I am not a fan of the traditional midwestern cookout sides. My favorite sides are not drenched in mayo or from a can. Sides like this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad, Mixed Greens and Citrus Salad, Caprese Quinoa or even a giant bowl of fruit make me very, very happy.
I absolutely adore orzo. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta that can be used in so many recipes. I often use orzo in recipes that are traditionally made with rice, but the orzo adds more flavor and is more filling. I use it in these Italian Stuffed Peppers and this Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner; orzo has a way of elevating the entire dish.
This orzo salad is very simple. Orzo is cooled and tossed with pesto (I used jarred but if you have fresh basil, then it is easy to make your own!). I add fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella pearls, and fresh spinach. The vegetables add color, crispness and a boost of vitamins. If you cannot find fresh mozzarella pearls, chop up fresh mozzarella or use feta or goat cheese in its place. This orzo salad can handle any other vegetables you’d like to throw in, but if you wanted to add chicken, shrimp, or beef, then this orzo salad transforms into a satisfying meal!
- 1 lb orzo pasta
- 1 6 oz jar prepared pesto
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
- Salt to taste
Prepare orzo according to package directions (reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water). Rinse and drain orzo and toss pasta with pesto (add reserved pasta water as needed to thicken the pesto and to allow for evenly coated pasta).
Add spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Amount Per Serving Calories 0 Total Fat 0g Saturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 0mg Fiber 0g Sugar 0g Protein 0g