Looking for a quick, yummy dish to bring to a summer BBQ? Well, look no further than this orzo pasta salad made with the freshest summertime ingredients...tomatoes, cucumbers and basil!
For some reason I always blank out when trying to think of an interesting dish to bring to someone's house. I mean, I write a food blog for goodness sake! That shouldn't happen. The problem is, I like to bring something on the cleaner, healthier side that doesn't leave me stuck in the kitchen for hours. So, I came up with this recipe and the only thing that requires cooking is the pasta. I also get to showcase a bunch of seasonal summertime veggies and flavors.
Hopefully you can find some heirloom cherry tomatoes where you are, because they really are the star of this dish. The vibrant colors add so much depth. The crunch from the cucumbers is a delightful and refreshing compliment to the softness of the pasta (which is cooked al dente and then cooled before adding in the veggies).
I top the pasta with some creamy feta cheese and Kalamata olives, which adds just the right amount of saltiness. The dressing is just a simple mix of lemon juice, fresh basil, a bit of dried oregano, minced garlic and olive oil. Simple, flavorful yet not overpowering. You can serve the salad room temperature or cold, which is perfect for outdoor entertaining.
Summer Orzo Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing
- 12-15 oz heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 16 oz. orzo pasta cooked and cooled
- ¾ cup kalamata olives
- 1 large or 2 small cucumbers quartered and sliced
- 3-4 oz feta cheese
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ cup chopped basil + more for garnish
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- juice from ½ lemon + 1 tsp zest
- pinch of kosher salt
- pinch of pepper
- Place cooked, cooled orzo in a large serving bowl or dish.
- To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, zest, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together.
- Add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and olives to pasta and toss with the dressing.
- Top with feta cheese and extra basil.