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Two white bowls filled with an orzo pasta salad, lemon and tomatoes on table.
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Orzo Pasta Salad

Truly the most delicious pasta salad that is super easy to put together! Made with the simplest ingredients, this orzo salad is perfect for serving as a main dish or side, and easy to customize with your favorite add-ins!
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 210kcal
Author: Amanda Mason

Ingredients

  • 1 lb box orzo
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  • Take the package of orzo and cook per package instructions. Once done, drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
  • Wash all the vegetables before preparing them. Grab a large mixing bowl so you can place the vegetables in after they are chopped.
  • You are now ready to chop your vegetables and put them in the large mixing bowl. Peel the cucumber and dice.
  • Take the cherry tomatoes and slice in half-lengthwise. 
  • Chop the bunch of green onions and mince the 3 garlic cloves. Dice 1 whole red onion. and finely chop 1 bunch of cilantro.
  • Take the jalapeno and remove the seeds, chop into small pieces. Add in 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds. All of these ingredients should now be in the large mixing bowl. Stir lightly to mix the ingredients.
  • Add the cooked orzo to the bowl of chopped vegetables. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste, as well as the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Start mixing all ingredients together, while slowly adding in extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the pasta and vegetables.
    This one can be served immediately or chilled.

Notes

  • Can I make this ahead of time? You sure can! This can be made about 4 hours ahead of time. Store covered in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
  • I like using roasted pumpkin seeds in this dish, but raw seeds are also very flavorful. Raw pumpkin seeds are very chewy and mix well texture and taste wise with cooked orzo.
  • Don't be afraid to use the jalapeno pepper. The pepper provides flavor, not heat. If you want the heat, then add in some of the jalapeno pepper seeds.
  • This salad can be eaten at room temperature or chilled. If you like it chilled, make sure to run it under cold water and place it in the fridge while you are cutting and combining the other ingredients. This is especially important if you're planning to add cheese. When mixing, the last thing you want is melted cheese in this salad.
  • This is a vegan pasta salad, but add some chopped chicken if you want to add some animal protein.
  • If you've got leftovers, store covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The pasta will continue to soak in the flavors of the ingredients so feel free to add in additional lemon juice and salt and pepper to bring forth the bold flavors.
  • This is not a freezer friendly meal so don't freeze this one.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg