As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
This chickpea orzo salad recipe could put a delicious twist on an old favorite.
Orzo pasta salad is delicious stuff. While often mistaken for a grain, this pasta is a wonderful way to make a fun salad. Like most pasta, you can find it made with either white, processed flour, or whole grain flour. So look for the box of whole grain orzo.
What Is Orzo?
- Simply put, Orzo is pasta! It’s a particular shape of pasta.
- Orzo is popular in Europe and is often used in Italian, Greek, Turkish, and Arabic cooking.
- You’ll often find it added to minestrone or even cooked similarly to risotto.
- It’s pronounced “ortzo“
- It can be served by itself, in a salad, in casseroles, as pilaf, in soups, and more.
- It’s as versatile as any grain.
- It’s made from wheat, just like other shapes of pasta.
Benefits Of This Recipe
- The beans and wheat create a complete protein for plant-based folks.
- It’s light and refreshing.
- It makes an excellent side dish for meat eaters.
- There is a ton of fiber and veggies.
- It has a little bit of satisfying crunch from the peppers while still being a soft food.
This Recipe Is Perfect For
- Family gatherings
- Family dinner
- Lunch the next day
Can I Use Rice Instead?
Absolutely! In fact, there are many grains that would work well here. Be creative!
Recipe Variations For This Chickpea Salad
Feel free to add any of the following to round out the flavors of this dish even further!
- Red onion – Chop the red onion very small or mince for the best texture.
- Spinach – Chopped works best. Keep the pieces small.
- Kale – Again, chop into small pieces.
- Feta Cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Kalamata olives – Instead of black olives)
- Nuts – Slivered almonds could work here.
- Fresh herbs – Any you’d like to add!
- A spritz of lemon juice at serving
- Red wine vinegar – Just a splash for flavor. You don’t want to compete with the vinaigrette.
- Fresh lemon zest – to compliment the dressing.
Should You Eat This Pasta Salad Warm Or Cold?
This orzo pasta salad can be eaten either chilled straight from the fridge or at room temperature. I do not recommend trying to heat it up in any way. Simply let it come to temperature by setting it on the counter for an hour or so.
How To Serve Chickpea Orzo Salad
This is a great stand-alone dish. But if you want to serve it as a side dish, it would pair well with any of the following:
- A green salad
- Chicken – Grilled or baked
- Beef – Grilled
- Salmon – Baked or grilled
- Garlic bread
- Anything that has Italian flavors and/or comes off a grill will work wonderfully here.
About The Ingredients
Dry, whole grain orzo – cooked to package directions
Cherry tomatoes – Grape tomatoes work too. Any small tomato will do.
Sliced black olives – Packed in water and drained.
Cucumbers – Chop the cucumbers small for the best texture.
Red bell peppers – Chop the red peppers small for the best texture.
Canned or home-cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) – Drained and rinsed if canned – 1¼ cups home-cooked garbanzo beans.
Garlic lemon vinaigrette – see the link below, just above the recipe card.
Salt and pepper – To taste
Spritz with a bit of lemon juice
How To Make Chickpea Orzo Salad
Cook the orzo pasta to the direction on the package, drain, and set it to the side. Drizzle a little olive oil over it, if needed, to keep it from sticking together. It’s best cooked slightly al dente and then rinsed with cool water.
Prep all the remaining ingredients and then toss them with the orzo pasta in a large mixing bowl.
Adjust the vinaigrette, salt, and pepper to taste before serving.
This will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 4-5 days. It’s best to store it without the fresh basil. Simply add it prior to serving if you are making planned leftovers.
Freezing is not recommended for this recipe.
No reheating is needed! This salad should be served chilled or at room temperature.
Remember to subscribe to my free newsletter to receive all my latest recipes in your inbox. Click here to sign up!
More Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes
Recipes Used In This Recipe
Chickpea Orzo Salad Recipe Card
Chickpea Orzo Salad Recipe
- ½ lb. dry orzo pasta (whole grain)
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 3.8 oz. can black, sliced olives (drained)
- ¾ cup loosely packed, chopped basil
- 1 cup diced cucumbers
- 1½ cup diced red peppers
- 15 oz. can chickpeas (drained and rinsed – 1¼ cups home-cooked chickpeas)
- garlic lemon vinaigrette to taste – see link above
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the orzo pasta to the directions on the package, drain, and set aside. Drizzle a little olive oil over it, if needed, to keep it from sticking together. It's best cooked slightly al dente and then rinsed with cold water.
- Prep all the remaining ingredients and then toss them with the orzo in a large bowl.
- Adjust the vinaigrette, salt, and pepper to taste before serving.
Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 8/5/19.