Healthy Orzo Salad

This Healthy Orzo Salad is so easy to make! Featuring fresh veggies and a speedy homemade cilantro lime dressing, you’ll want to make this pasta salad again and again!

Easy Healthy Orzo Salad Recipe

It’s no secret, I’ve been seriously crushing on orzo lately. It’s so crazy perfect for make-ahead summer salads that I can’t help but make #ALLTHEPASTASALAD right now!

This time around, I decided to give my go-to orzo pasta salad a Tex-Mex vibe and toss it with a homemade cilantro lime dressing, but you could totally use a number of different dressings here. Italian dressing would be total perfection here as would a zesty Greek dressing.

As written, this tasty orzo salad is vegan and dairy-free, but feel free to add crumbled feta, queso fresco, or cotija cheese. All are delicious mix-ins! You could also go veggie crazy and add finely chopped broccoli, kale, corn, or even chickpeas to the mix as well.

Healthy Orzo Salad Recipe

Healthy Orzo Salad

Serving a large crowd? Feel free to double or triple the recipe as needed! This easy orzo salad is fun and flexible! Make it in advance or the day of – it tastes great both ways!

Easy Healthy Orzo Salad Recipe
5 from 3 votes
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Healthy Orzo Salad

This Healthy Orzo Salad is so easy to make! Featuring fresh veggies and a speedy homemade cilantro lime dressing, you'll want to make this pasta salad again and again!

I included the recipes for my cilantro lime dressing and simple Italian dressing - choose your favorite!

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Keyword Healthy Orzo Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 252 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 2.5 cups chopped bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish
  • optional tortilla chips for serving

CILANTRO LIME DRESSING

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (or light olive oil)
  • 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

ITALIAN-STYLE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Mrs Dash Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 cups dry orzo pasta and a pinch of salt and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water (I do this using a fine mesh sieve, easy peasy!) to halt the cooking process. Add pasta to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. While your noodles cook, chop your veggies and make the dressing.
  3. I paired this salad with fresh cilantro and my go-to cilantro lime dressing. Not a fan of cilantro? Skip it entirely and opt for the Italian dressing recipe above! To make the dressing, combine ingredients in a lidded jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Allow to sit while you toss together your salad, then shake again before serving.
  4. Add all your veggies to the orzo with the dressing and mix well. Salad may be enjoyed right away (room temperature) or chilled briefly before serving. Both options are delicious!

Recipe Notes

Feel free to top with any of your favorite pasta salad extras if you'd like! Some may like to add feta, olives, or even chickpeas to the mix. Have fun with it and be sure to let me know what deliciousness you cook up!

Making this salad ahead of time? It's great the next day and fabulous in packed lunches for work, school, or picnics. Simply make a little extra dressing to drizzle over the salad the next day, as the pasta will soak up a some of the dressing while it chills. SO GOOD!

Nutrition facts below are an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts
Healthy Orzo Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 252 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 202mg 8%
Potassium 303mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 35g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 43%
Vitamin C 111.8%
Calcium 2.5%
Iron 6.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Orzo Salad Ingredients

Healthy Orzo Salad

If you get a chance to try this healthy orzo salad, let me know! Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your pretty pasta salad!

swaps and such

For the tomato, you can 100% use what you have handy! We had fresh cherry tomatoes from our garden, but you could also use grape tomatoes or chop up some Roma, vine-ripened, or heirloom tomatoes. Basically any and all tomatoes work here as long as they’re ripe and delicious!

I went with a trio of colorful bell peppers for this healthy orzo salad, but if you only have red bell peppers handy or decide to grab a different combination of colors, you’re good to go! You can even snag a bag of sweet mini peppers and chop those up in this salad.

Easy Orzo Salad

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Comments

  • Jen C.

    I did not share one bite of this salad with my family the first time around. I made it a second time just so they could try it. There is something about orzo with cold, fresh veggies. It has just the right texture and consistency. The salad itself popped with flavor. I loved the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes against the crispness of the bell peppers. The orzo really makes the salad feel like a full meal. This is just love in a bowl.

  • Claire

    I LOVE orzo! We call it risoni here….no idea why 😉
    This recipe would be so perfect for taking on a picnic, it is a crowd pleaser and I just know it will travel well.

    • Oh fun! I didn’t realize it had another name – so good to know! Thanks Claire!

  • Sarah

    The dressing in this is EVERYTHING! SO. Good.

    • RIGHT?! So glad you agree! Love it so!

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