I try to make some sort of salad each week that I can build meals on or just eat as a quick meal on its own. I like the idea of combining a little pasta, a lot of vegetables, and maybe some beans too. This combo makes a salad that is filling enough to serve as a light meal. Read this article of Apronese to get the Italian orzo salad recipe.
Here are some substitutions that you can use for this Italian orzo salad recipe:
Orzo can be a bit more difficult to find than other pastas, so you can substitute any small-shaped pasta in its place.
If you don’t want to put together your own vinaigrette for this salad recipe, use your favorite bottled Italian style dressing.
Larger tomatoes are juicier and will have more cut edges, which will seep more water as the salad is stored.
Oil-packed sun dried tomatoes would be awesome in this.
Cannellini beans would make an excellent substitution and would fit the Italian theme.
What Else to Add to This Salad?
If you’re not concerned about keeping this Italian orzo salad vegan, Parmesan cheese would be awesome on it. Fresh mozzarella, or even diced salami would pair well too.
Italian Orzo Salad Recipe
This Italian salad is a versatile addition to your weekly meal prep.
Prep Time: 15 mins / Cook Time: 10 mins / Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4 (about 1.25 cups each)
- 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.64)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.20)
- 1 tbsp lemon Juice ($0.05)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend ($0.10)
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.03)
- 1 tsp sugar ($0.02)
- 1 cup orzo (uncooked) ($1.15)
- 1 15oz. can chickpeas ($0.55)
- 4 oz. fresh spinach ($0.60)
- 2 roasted red peppers (1/2 of 12oz. jar) ($1.00)
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives ($1.00)
- 1/2 12oz. jar quartered artichoke hearts ($1.40)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes ($1.99)
- Make the vinaigrette first so the flavors have time to blend. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, salt, Dijon, and sugar in a bowl or jar. Whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
- Cook the orzo according to the package directions (boil until tender). Drain the orzo in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Allow the orzo to cool and drain as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. You want the pasta to be as cool and dry as possible.
- Rinse and drain the can of chickpeas, again allowing them to drain very well as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Roughly chop the spinach and place it in a large bowl. Remove the roasted red peppers, olives, and artichoke hearts from their brines. Slice the olives and roasted red peppers, and roughly chop the artichoke hearts. Slice the grape tomatoes in half. Place the chopped vegetables in the bowl with the spinach.
- Finally, add the drained orzo and chickpeas to the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir the vinaigrette once more, then add half to the bowl. Toss the salad ingredients together until coated, and add more dressing if desired (I used the entire batch, but it’s always best to start with half and add more as needed).
If you do not have an Italian herb seasoning blend, you can substitute a 1/4 tsp of each of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes.
For longer storage in the refrigerator, toss the salad ingredients together without the dressing and add the dressing to each bowl just before serving.
Serving: 1.25 cups ・ Calories: 450.5 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 56.08 g ・ Protein: 13.13 g ・ Fat: 20.9 g ・ Sodium: 737 mg ・ Fiber: 12.43 g
The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.
How to Make Italian Orzo Salad – Step-by-step Photos
Step 1: Make the vinaigrette first, so the flavors have time to blend (or use your favorite bottled Italian dressing).
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1/2 tsp sugar in a bowl or jar.
Whisk the ingredients together or place the lid on the jar and shake until combined.
Set the dressing aside.
Step 2: Cook one cup orzo according to the package directions (boil until tender) then drain in a colander.
Rinse briefly with cool water, then let it drain and cool as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Also, rinse and drain the chickpeas. It’s best if these two ingredients are not very wet (or hot) when you assemble the salad, or they’ll wilt the spinach and water down the dressing.
Step 3: Roughly chop about 4 oz. fresh spinach. You don’t have to stress over the exact measurement of this, just eyeball half of an 8 oz. bag of spinach.
Place the chopped spinach in a large bowl.
Step 4: Slice about 1/3 cup Kalamata olives and slice 2 roasted red peppers (about 1/2 of a 12 oz. jar). Add these to the bowl with the spinach.
Step 5: Roughly chop the quartered artichoke hearts (again I used about 1/2 of a 12 oz. jar). Add these to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Step 6: Slice the grape tomatoes in half, and add them to the bowl.
Step 7: Add the cooled and drained orzo and chickpeas to the bowl.
Step 8: If you plan on keeping the salad in the fridge for a few days, toss the salad ingredients together, then store it that way, without the dressing.
If serving immediately, stir the vinaigrette once more, then add half to the salad and toss to combine.
Add more dressing if desired.
And that’s it! I served this salad with two slices of my freezer garlic bread on the side.
Check out these other great salads:
- Kale and Chicken Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
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