Did everyone have a fabulous Fourth of July? I sure did. And one of the reasons it was so good is because of this delicious Summer Orzo Pasta salad. I’m not a huge fan of heavy, mayo-based potato salads, which is why this salad is perfect. Instead of heavy mayo, its base is olive oil and red wine vinegar. It tastes healthy, and that’s all that matters.
This Summer Orzo pasta salad is the perfect light Fourth of July (or any holiday, really) side dish. It’s so good, you’ll forget that it’s a family-style dish. You might just grab the bowl and a spoon and call it a day. Or maybe that was just me on Saturday.
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
¾ cup red onion, finely chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing:
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoons salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
**For the salad:
Put broth in a large pot and cover. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in orzo.
Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender (6-8 minutes) stirring frequently.
Drain orzo and place in a large mixing bowl. Let the orzo cool completely.
While the orzo is cooling make the dressing.
**To make the dressing:
In a food processor or blender mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper until mixed well.
While the machine is running gradually add in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once the orzo is cooled mix the orzo with the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, basil and mint.
Add a ¼ cup of the red wine vinaigrette dressing to the salad and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
When ready to eat you might want to add the remaining dressing and mix well. I tend to take the salad out of the refrigerator and test the salad to see if it needs additional dressing. When the salad sits it tends to absorb the dressing so it helps to add more.
Recipe adapted from a cedar spoon
This Fourth, I only had a few things on my agenda: laying by the pool, swimming and eating delicious food. Being in the kitchen for more than an hour was not one of them. And that’s why this dish was the perfect side dish for our Fourth of July blue cheese burgers and bratwurst. Not only was it delicious, it was so easy to make.
I hope you love this Summer Orzo Pasta Salad as much as I did. Looking for some additional side dishes? Check out the following recipes: