Don’t you just love a pasta salad? I do! They are so versatile, extremely easy to make, almost everyone likes them, and they are a perfect side dish that go with just about anything you throw on the grill. One of my “little girl” memories is going to our local park and having dinner picnics. And, when we picnic’d we had either macaroni salad or potato salad. I still love potato salad, but definitely prefer this “lightened up” version of a pasta salad. Bye-bye creamy mayonnaise based macaroni salads.
I mentioned that pasta salads are versatile and this is proof. You can use just about any small pasta that you have on hand. Same goes for the veggies. Other than the bell peppers, I had everything I needed to make this chock-full-of-vegies pasta salad. You can easily make changes to this recipe, just add in what your family likes and leave out what they don’t. I often add blanched broccoli to my pasta salads, but using such a small pasta, I decided to leave it out.
In the time it takes to cook the pasta, you can get all your veggies chopped. I just love the colors of the veggies I chose.
I recommend making your pasta salad early in the day. I think the flavors are better the longer it sits. And, think how easy the dinner hour will be. Simply throw something on the grill (we had BBQ’d chicken thighs) and make a little fruit platter, and you have the perfect summer dinner. And, the best part, pasta salad makes a great lunch the following day!
- 1 box Orzo pasta
- 1+ cups of your favorite Italian or Balsamic salad dressing
- ½ each: yellow, red, and orange bell pepper (diced small)
- ½ small red onion (diced small)
- 2 carrots (peeled and diced small)
- Small can sliced pitted black olives
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
- 1 cup feta cheese
- ½ cup fresh basil (rough chopped)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cook Orzo according to package directions. Drain & rinse.
- While pasta is cooking, small dice all veggies (bell peppers, onion, carrots)
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Drain olives.
- When Orzo is cool, combine with chopped veggies, olives, and salad dressing. Mix well. Start with 1 cup of dressing and add more to your liking.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Before serving top with feta cheese and fresh chopped basil.
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