Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

Pasta salads tend to soak up the dressing as they sit, if you prefer a salad that is not as wet tasting,  reserve a little of the dressing to mix into the salad after it’s been chilled. This Italian Orzo Pasta Salad is full of gorgeous colors, textures, and flavor! It’s delicious as a side dish or on its own as a light lunch or snack.

The nice thing about pasta salads is they’re totally versatile. You can change up any of the ingredients to suit your taste. Some other yummy additions to this one would be roasted red peppers, capers, cubed salami, or mozzarella cheese. You could also throw in some fresh basil!

We used bacon, but pancetta would be a delicious substitution! The only difference between bacon and pancetta is that bacon is smoked and cured while pancetta is just cured. So go ahead and use these ingredients to make an Italian Orzo Pasta Salad or change up the ingredients to make it your own style!

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

Salad Ingredients

16 ounces orzo pasta
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup bacon, cooked & crumbled
3 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad-Process 1

Dressing Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Then rinse it with cold water and drain well.

Be sure to not overcook the pasta. A la dente is preferred.

Get an empty jar with a lid and add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Shake vigorously.

Continue shaking until the dressing is slightly thickened and well-combined.

Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

At this point, you can add more vinegar or sugar to suit your tastes.

Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad-Process 2

Pour half of the dressing on the salad and stir to combine.

Taste the salad and add more dressing to suit your tastes.

Make sure to  stir well in between each addition.

Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over top of the pasta salad.

Add additional Parmesan cheese on top.

Serve this Italian Orzo Pasta Salad at room temperature or chilled.

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

 

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Italian Orzo Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
Pasta salads tend to soak up the dressing as they sit, if you prefer a salad that is not as wet tasting, reserve a little of the dressing to mix into the salad after it's been chilled. This Italian Orzo Pasta Salad is full of gorgeous colors, textures, and flavor! It's delicious as a side dish or on its own as a light lunch or snack. The nice thing about pasta salads is they're totally versatile. You can change up any of the ingredients to suit your taste. Some other yummy additions to this one would be roasted red peppers, capers, cubed salami, or mozzarella cheese. You could also throw in some fresh basil!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
9 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
9 minutes
Italian Orzo Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
Pasta salads tend to soak up the dressing as they sit, if you prefer a salad that is not as wet tasting, reserve a little of the dressing to mix into the salad after it's been chilled. This Italian Orzo Pasta Salad is full of gorgeous colors, textures, and flavor! It's delicious as a side dish or on its own as a light lunch or snack. The nice thing about pasta salads is they're totally versatile. You can change up any of the ingredients to suit your taste. Some other yummy additions to this one would be roasted red peppers, capers, cubed salami, or mozzarella cheese. You could also throw in some fresh basil!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
9 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
9 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Then rinse it with cold water and drain well. Be sure to not overcook the pasta. A la dente is preferred. Get an empty jar with a lid and add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously. Continue shaking until the dressing is slightly thickened and well-combined. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. At this point, you can add more vinegar or sugar to suit your tastes. Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour half of the dressing on the salad and stir to combine. Taste the salad and add more dressing to suit your tastes. Make sure to stir well in between each addition. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over top of the pasta salad. Add additional Parmesan cheese on top. Serve this Italian Orzo Pasta Salad at room temperature or chilled.
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Comments

  1. Monica Y says

    This looks delish. It looks like a gray side dish for a BBQ and Easter brunch. I have never tried orzo so I will be looking into it next trip to the supermarket.

  2. says

    I love making orzo for side dishes. I have a lemon orzo and tomato salad that my whole family loves. I will need to try this one next. Looks so great and my kids would love the olives.

  3. says

    This looks like such a tasty salad! I would definitely be willing to roll this one out for an early spring picnic – and I know it would be a hit. The flavor profile for this would be a hit with the whole family without question!

  4. says

    I love, love, love anything with bacon in it, so this pasta salad is something I must try to make this spring. I have never made a pasta salad with Orzo before, so this will be a first! Thank you for the recipe and instructions – I can’t wait to give it a try!

  5. says

    thanks for sharing such a lovely recipe. it looks so mouthwatering i have to do it this weekend! I haven’t done anything using orzo pasta before, this will be my first, and hopefully my favorite!

  6. says

    Orzo pasta looks like a cross between rice and almond slices. I have never had it but I will be trying it very soon in this appealing recipe you’ve shared.

  7. says

    Pinned! Marks & Spencer makes the most delightful little salad containers! I always have them when I’m in London, but there isn’t a M&S in Denmark, so I have to make my own most of the time. This is exactly the sort of salad I’d find at M&S and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

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