Headed to a BBQ this summer and need some inspiration for what side dish to bring? Look no further! This orzo pasta salad with sun-dried tomato dressing was a HUGE hit at the last BBQ I hosted.
My friends and I recently threw a surprise party for one of our friends in celebration of his new job. We posted up around the grill at Rivestar Winery, sipped on vino, and played games until the sun went down. Needless to say, I had no leftovers of my orzo pasta salad which is always a good sign the dish was a hit!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist a pasta salad. Actually, I’m down for any pasta dish really. Though this isn’t your typical pasta salad. There’s no black olives or bottled Italian dressing here. This orzo pasta salad actually feels lively and refreshing with lots of lemon juice, arugula, and fresh herbs that pack a springy punch. I’m also a sucker for sun-dried tomatoes and thought they would work well here with the other Mediterranean flavors. The sun-dried tomato dressing turned out SO delicious. You could double the proportions for the dressing and reserve some to go on a green salad with grilled chicken. Yum!
Make this orzo pasta salad for your next BBQ and let me know if it’s a hit!
A fresh take on pasta salad.
- 1 lb orzo pasta
- 1/2 red onion diced small
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes Buy sun-dried tomatoes in oil as you will use some of this oil for the dressing.
- 3 tbsp fresh mint chiffonade
- 3 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- 5 oz arugula
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp aged balsamic I used a 12 year aged grapefruit balsamic for some sweetness.
- 1 or 2 lemons
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- pinch of garlic powder
- salt and pepper
Cook orzo to the directions on the package. Strain and then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and to ensure orzo doesn't clump together.
Dice the onion, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and herbs.
For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, sun-dried tomato oil, aged balsamic, juice of 1 1/2 - 2 lemons, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until emulsified and adjust to taste as needed.
Toss together the orzo pasta, arugula, and diced ingredients. Then add dressing and toss to coat. Serve orzo pasta salad chilled or at room temperature.