Recipe: Fresh Summer Orzo Salad

The best summer salads are ones with fresh ingredients but also bright, enticing colors. This salad is definitely that. I love this recipe because it’s made of half fresh ingredients and half pantry staples. It’s a great addition to a summer cookout or barbecue since there is no mayo (read: it can sit outside and not go bad). And, this recipe is vegan! So many reasons to make this, am I right?

Domestocrat’s Fresh Summer Orzo Salad (yields 15 servings)
For the salad:
1 1-lb. box of orzo pasta
1 tomato
1 red pepper
1 english cucumber
1 small red onion
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1/2 cup marinated artichokes
1/2 cup pickled peppadew peppers
2 tbsp. basil, minced
For the dressing:
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup EVOO
3 tbsp. dijon mustard
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of salt

Begin by cooking the orzo pasta. It should be just al dente – this salad is no good if the orzo is overcooked and mushy. While the orzo is cooking, prep all of the vegetables – wash, peel, and chop – and rinse the corn and black beans in a colander (definitely don’t just pour the cans into the salad!).

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So pretty and fresh!

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Add the chopped artichokes and peppadews – since these are usually marinated or pickled you don’t need to rinse them, in fact their juices add to the flavor! Sidenote: I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s Marinated Artichokes and TJ’s Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers so that’s what I used for this recipe. Add the basil on top and give everything a good mix.

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Once everything is mixed together, set the salad aside and make the dressing. I just put everything in a mason jar, shook for 30 seconds or so, and tasted for seasonings. Adjust to your preferences.

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Dress the salad with the dressing and stir thoroughly. If you’re making this ahead of time, you can mix in half of the dressing up front and the other half right before serving so the dressing flavor stays fresh. Totally optional though – the dressing gets absorbed by the salad and it’s super tasty either way.

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Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Can be made up to 24 hours in advance and kept in an airtight container int he fridge. This was such a good addition to our most recent BBQ. I can’t wait to make it again!

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About Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.
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