When I think of summer recipes, one of the first things that comes to mind is pasta salad. I whipped up this orzo pasta salad recipe this weekend and it took less than 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s an easy recipe to take to your next back yard barbecue or neighborhood pool party. What I really love about it is that you can cook the pasta and assemble the dish in the morning while the temps are relatively cool. Then just stick it in the refrigerator and pull out to serve at dinner time. Not heating up the oven in the late afternoon just makes sense in the heat of summer, right?
One thing I love about this easy orzo pasta salad recipe is that it uses so many ingredients that are abundant in the heat of summer. My basil is going crazy on the patio and I am desperately looking for ways to use fresh basil besides making homemade pesto. Between the basil, cherry tomatoes and fresh cucumbers, the flavors of summer are abundant in this recipe. Of course, you have to add in some fresh mozzarella as well because everything tastes better with cheese, right? I’m sure you could skip it if you really wanted to make this vegan or lower in fat but that would just be a crying shame!
Depending on how creative you are or how much time you have, you can whip up your own Italian dressing fairly easily. I chose to use what I already had in the fridge but there are lots of easy Italian dressing recipes out there if you are looking for inspiration. I was in a bit of a hurry and my kitchen is still in an uproar from our wood floor replacement last week. If I could just manage to get my new dishwasher installed and the clutter put back where it belongs my life would be a lot more simple. Until then, I am sticking with easy dinner recipes, which is why I went looking for an east orzo pasta salad recipe in the first place! I definitely needed easy this week! Less time cooking, more time painting will be my motto for the weekend! Want more orzo salad recipes? Check out Chowhound!
Italian Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe with Fresh Basil
- 1 small cucumber, chopped
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 to 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
- ¼ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- ¼ to ⅓ cup Italian dressing
- 8 ounces orzo, cooked according to package directions and cooled to room temperature
- Place cooked orzo in a large, glass bowl
- Add vegetables, basil and cheese
- Pour dressing over the top and mix
- Chill for 2 to 3 hours and enjoy