Pioneer Woman’s Orzo Salad is a simple and flavorful salad! It combines cooked orzo pasta with vegetables, feta cheese, and a light Greek-style vinaigrette. This salad is perfect for summer picnics and potlucks, and can be served either cold or at room temperature.
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Why You Will Love This Salad
- The pasta: Orzo pasta has a delicate texture and a slightly nutty flavor that makes it a great base for a pasta salad. It’s also a fun, different shape than traditional pasta
- The vegetables: Cherry tomatoes, cucumber and parsley bring a fresh and crunchy component to the salad and makes it bright, colorful and healthy.
- The dressing: The simple lemon vinaigrette used in this recipe is light, refreshing and adds tangy, citrusy flavor that compliments the pasta and vegetables very well.
- The Feta cheese: Feta is a delicious and crumbly cheese that adds a nice tangy and salty component to the salad.
- Flexibility: The Salad can be served as a side dish or a main course, which makes it versatile for any occasion.
Pioneer Woman Orzo Salad Ingredients
- Orzo pasta
- Cherry tomatoes
- English cucumber
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Crumbled feta cheese
For The Dressing:
- Squeezed lemon juice
- Olive oil
How To Make Pioneer Woman Orzo Salad
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for about 8-9 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked orzo, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and feta cheese. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the orzo mixture and toss to combine. Be sure to add enough dressing to coat the pasta and vegetables well.
- Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes or until chilled. Before serving, toss the salad again and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Serve the orzo salad chilled or at room temperature as a side dish or a main course.
How To Store Orzo Salad
In The Fridge:
- Make sure to cool the salad completely before storing it in the refrigerator.
- Place the salad in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Toss the salad again before serving, as the pasta may absorb some of the dressing over time.
In The Freezer:
- Orzo pasta does not freeze well, as it can become mushy when thawed. So it is not recommend to freeze the salad.
- if you still want to store the salad for a longer time than 3-4 days, the best option would be to store the dressing and the vegetable separately and dress the salad right before serving it.
Can I Make Orzo Salad Ahead Of Time
Yes, you can make orzo salad ahead of time. It is best to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Before serving, be sure to give it a good stir and add in any additional fresh ingredients you may have, such as fresh herbs or vegetables.
How To Reheat Orzo Salad
- In the oven: Place the salad in an oven-safe dish, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In the microwave: Transfer the salad to a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a lid or plastic wrap, and reheat on high power for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- In the air fryer: Place the Orzo Salad in the air fryer, preheated to 375°F (190°C), and cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- In the stove: reheat the salad in a skillet over medium heat, with a little bit of oil or butter. Stir it occasionally for 5-8 minutes until heated through.
What To Serve With Orzo Salad
- Grilled meats: Orzo Salad is a great side dish to serve with grilled meats such as chicken, beef, pork, or lamb. The salad’s light and refreshing flavors complement the smokiness of the grilled meats perfectly.
- Seafood: Orzo Salad is also a great accompaniment to seafood dishes such as grilled fish, shrimp, or scallops. The tangy lemon vinaigrette and feta cheese in the salad complement the flavors of the seafood well.
- Mediterranean-style dishes: Orzo Salad is a perfect side for Mediterranean-style dishes such as Greek gyros, falafel, or tzatziki. The salad’s light and refreshing flavors complement the bold spices and herbs used in these dishes.
- Soups and stews: If you’re looking for something heartier to serve with Orzo Salad, soups and stews are a great option. The salad’s light and refreshing flavors can balance out the heartiness of soups and stews like Minestrone, Lentil Soup, or Chilis.
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad: Add some chopped Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped red onion to the Orzo Salad for a Mediterranean twist. This variation will give you a burst of flavors and a nice contrast of textures.
- Greek Orzo Salad: Make it more Greek by adding some chopped cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. You can also add some chopped grilled chicken or shrimp to make it more filling
- Pesto Orzo Salad: Add some prepared basil pesto to the dressing before tossing it with the orzo, vegetables, and feta cheese for a flavorful twist on the classic recipe.
- Asparagus Orzo Salad: Add some cooked asparagus to the Orzo salad for a new dimension of flavor and texture. Asparagus will give a nice crunch and a strong green flavor to the salad.
- Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad: Roast some vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant in the oven or on the grill, add them to the orzo mixture and dress it as desired. Roasting will give the vegetables a caramelized and smoky flavor that will make the salad even more delicious.
- Southwest Orzo Salad: Add some black beans, corn, diced bell pepper, diced red onion, and some diced avocado. use a lime vinaigrette instead of the lemon dressing for a southwestern flavor.
Vegan, Keto, And Gluten-free Version Of Orzo Salad
- Vegan version: To make a vegan version of Orzo Salad, you can replace the feta cheese with vegan cheese or a vegan feta alternative, and use a vegan-friendly dressing. To make it more filling you can add some grilled or marinated vegetables, or some chickpeas or lentils.
- Keto version: To make a Keto version of Orzo Salad, you can replace the orzo pasta with a low-carb pasta alternative such as spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Also, replace the dressing with a keto-friendly vinaigrette that uses a sugar-free sweetener instead of sugar or honey. To increase the fat and protein content, you can add some chopped cooked bacon, or grilled meat, or some nuts and seeds.
- Gluten-free version: To make a gluten-free version of Orzo Salad, you can replace the orzo pasta with a gluten-free alternative such as quinoa, brown rice, or chickpea pasta. Be sure to check the labels of the other ingredients you are using, such as the feta cheese, to ensure that they are gluten-free.
- Orzo pasta: If you don’t have orzo, you can use other small pasta shapes such as farfalle (bow tie), ditalini, or Israeli couscous.
- Cherry tomatoes: If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can use diced tomatoes, or even finely diced bell pepper or diced cucumber
- Cucumber: If you don’t have cucumber, you can use diced bell pepper or diced zucchini.
- Parsley: If you don’t have parsley, you can use other herbs like cilantro, basil, or dill.
- Feta cheese: If you don’t have feta cheese, you can use crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese, or grated parmesan cheese.
- Lemon juice: If you don’t have lemon juice, you can use lime juice or white wine vinegar.
- Olive oil: If you don’t have olive oil, you can use other neutral oils like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil.
- Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder or minced garlic from a jar
Other Dressings To Use
- Balsamic vinaigrette: This dressing is made with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, and honey. It adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the salad.
- Greek vinaigrette: This dressing is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, dried oregano, and honey. It adds a tangy, herbaceous flavor to the salad.
- Ranch dressing: Ranch dressing is a creamy dressing made with mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, and herbs. It adds a creamy, herbaceous flavor to the salad.
- Caesar dressing: Caesar dressing is made with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, and mustard. It adds a creamy, tangy, and salty flavor to the salad.
- Creamy dill dressing: This dressing is made with sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh dill, lemon juice, and garlic. It adds a creamy and herby flavor to the salad.
How Do You Keep Orzo From Getting Mushy
Cook the orzo for the correct amount of time, drain and rinse it under cold water, dry it before adding it to the salad. Avoid overcooking and store it properly in an airtight container in the fridge.
It is not necessary to rinse orzo pasta before cooking, as it does not need to be cleaned like some other types of pasta. However, rinsing orzo after it has been cooked can help to stop the cooking process and prevent it from becoming mushy.
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Pioneer Woman Orzo Salad Nutrition Facts
Here is an approximate nutritional value for a 1/2 cup (85g) of cooked Orzo pasta:
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 190
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 1g2%
- Sodium 10mg1%
- Total Carbohydrate 40g14%
- Dietary Fiber 2g8%
- Sugars 1g
- Protein 7g15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.