This orzo salad recipe is perfect for summer picnics (they are coming!) and cookouts! Vegan feta cheese, olives, and a zingy dressing fill it with bold flavor.
Classic Italian Orzo Salad (Vegan)
- 8 oz orzo pasta
- 6 cups water (boiling)
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP fresh thyme leaves (substitute dried thyme or Italian seasoning)
- ¼ cup Italian parsley (minced)
- ¼ cup fresh basil (chiffonade)
- ⅓ cup fresh green peas (substitute thawed frozen peas)
- ½ cup kalamata olives (drained, sliced in half, see notes)
- 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil (minced)
- ⅓ cup red pepper (diced)
- ⅓ cup red onion (chopped fine)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 25 grinds black pepper
- 1 recipe Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette (divided)
- 4 oz vegan feta cheese (see notes)
- 5 oz spinach (fresh, baby)
- 15 tomatoes (small cherry or grape size)
- 5 TBSP pignolias (pine nuts)
- kosher salt (to taste)
- Bring water to a rolling boil in a sauce pot. DO NOT add oil to the water. When it begins to boil, add the salt to the water and stir until dissolved.
- Add the orzo pasta and stir well until the water returns to a boil. Stir frequently! Cook the pasta al dente, about 5 minutes
- Using the scoop colander, drain the pasta. Put the cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 TBSP olive oil and mix well to separate the grains of pasta.
- You are welcome to make this a day or two early. Cover well to keep the pasta moist in the refrigerator.
Add to the mixing bowl:
- Fresh thyme leaves from the stem. Rough chop the Italian parsley. Cut the basil leaves. If you want to be fancy, you can cut them into strips...called chiffonade. Or just a rough chop is fine too. See Notes below.Green peas.
Turn the oven on
- Turn the oven or toaster oven to 325℉ (165℃) to warm the sliced bread
Finish adding ingredients
- Add the Kalamata olives.
- Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and add to the bowl.
- Chop the red pepper, red onion and garlic and add to the bowl.
- Add 25 grinds of black pepper and stir the salad well. Add 1/3 cup of the Classic Balsamic Dressing (4 TBSP or 85 g). Stir until well incorporated. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Put the bread in the oven to warm. Put the broccoli in the microwave and turn it on.
Plate the meal
- On your serving plates make a ring of fresh spinach leaves. Add 1 cup of the orzo salad to the center of the plate. Sprinkle 2 TBSP of Feta Cheese (if using) over the salad. Add three cherry tomatoes and a TBSP of pine nuts.
- Plate the broccoli on small side plates.
- Serve the bread in a basket with a ramekin of Walnut-Almond pesto, if using.
- Mezzetta Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives
- Follow Your Heart Feta Crumbles--VEGAN, soy and lactose free
NOTICE: Small Kitchen BIG TASTE is an Amazon Associate and, as such, we earn from your qualifying purchases. Any item you purchase once you click on an image on our “Store” page supports Small Kitchen BIG TASTE. We appreciate it when you shop in our store and help us continue to put out delicious content.