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Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad Recipe
Try Orzo Pasta for a Unique Salad Recipe
Pasta salads are a summertime, picnic recipe favorite. But you don't want to bring the same tri-colored pasta salad to your neighborhood cookout again, do you?
Have you ever heard of orzo pasta? Shaped like small grains of rice, orzo is a more tender and versatile impostor. According to WiseGeek:
The word orzo is Italian for “barley,” and a reference to the size and shape of the pasta. You can also see orzo called kritharaki, manestra, rosa marina, reiskornpasta, or pasta gallo pion. This pasta is very popular in Greece especially, although it is used in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations, and in some parts of Germany as well. The small size can make orzo a very fun pasta to work and cook with.
This Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad recipe is tasty, flavorful and low-in fat. Because the dressing is not mayonnaise-based, its easy to transport. Filled with fiber, it is hearty and filling. You can even make a meal out of it by adding some grilled chicken cubes. Or, just leave it as a delicious vegetarian recipe.
In just 20 minutes, Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad will be on your tabletop, ready to wake-up your family's tastebuds from the ordinary, ho-hum pasta salads they might be used to!
Cook Time for Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 10 min
- Ready in: 20 min
- Yields: 6-8 servings
Ingredients for Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad
- 2/3 cups dried orzo pasta
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
- 1 1/2 c. corn kernels
- 1 fresh tomato, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 c. chopped red bell peppers
- 1/4 c. sliced green onions
- 1/2 c. sliced black olives
- 1 t grated lime peel
- 1/3 c. fresh lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Let's Make Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad
In a medium saucepan, bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Add orzo pasta and cook 9-11 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse (this can be tricky with some colanders - find a small gauge alternative so the orzo doesn't go down the drain)!
In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Add orzo pasta and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to your taste.
Feel free to change the ingredients of this pasta salad recipe as you desire!
My husband likes green olives instead of black. I also like to use yellow bell peppers instead of red (or even both). Its your kitchen, so get creative!
How to Cook Orzo Pasta
Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad as part of a Healthy Diet
I love the fresh, light, but filling flavors and textures of Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad. As a diabetic, I am always looking for healthy meals filled with healthy carbohydrates and low-fat. Studies show that a vegetarian diet is good for both you and the planet, as well.
This pasta salad fits the bill 100%!
Using the rice-shaped pasta is a unique way to showcase other pasta salad recipes, too. Instead of angel-hair or tortellini, why not substitute in about 1/3 cup more of cooked orzo to your favorite pasta salad recipe? Chopped fresh vegetables and herbs are both flavorful and healthy, as well.
Orzo can be eaten as a main dish, too. Many people like it in a soupy sauce (or in soups themselves)! Do be aware that because of its dense, compact size, orzo pasta can be more filling than other pasta dishes.
Culinary experts believe that the best orzo is made from semolina wheat. This harder grain allows orzo pasta to retain its unique shape and texture through the boiling process. You can find orzo pasta at your local grocery store, at specialty shops and online. Popular tri-colored orzo would be especially nice in the Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad!
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© 2010 Stephanie Hicks