Pesto Orzo and Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad – This mouthwatering pasta salad is not only easy to make, but it’s flavorful enough for a potluck and healthy enough for a weeknight meal!
One of my favorite things about summer is picnics, and one of my favorite things about picnics is fireworks!!!! Well, that and pasta salads, of course! On a hot summer day a cool pasta salad with something juicy from the grill is the perfect combo in my estimation. At any summer gathering a well made pasta salad never goes under-appreciated!
This summer I started making this Pesto Orzo and Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad. It’s easy to make because the orzo cooks quickly and it calls for store bought pesto. The pesto-covered orzo, with its delicious basil flavor, is loaded with five different vegetables and mini mozzarella balls, making it flavorful enough for a potluck and healthy enough for a weeknight meal! I recommend serving it with grilled chicken or fish for a complete and balanced meal.
Summer Pasta Salad Recipes
I’ve come to realize that after seven years of blogging, I’ve acquired a few pasta salad recipes along the way. Here’s a round-up of some the best ones from around my blog, just in case you’re as much of a pasta salad lover as I am!
- Tortellini Pasta Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables
- Sesame Noodle Salad with Sugar Snap Peas
- Israeli Couscous Salad
- Amish Macaroni Salad
- Smoked Mozzarella and Spinach Pasta Salad
- Strawberry Poppy Seed Couscous Salad
- Shaved Asparagus Pasta Salad
- 1 1/2 C dry orzo pasta
- 1 C sweet corn*
- 1 C cucumber, seeded and finely diced
- 1 C orange bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 C red onion, finely chopped
- 1 package grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 C mini mozzarella balls**
- 7 oz store bought pesto***
- Prep all of the vegetables and then set them aside. Note that if you’re using frozen corn, be sure to defrost it. Also, if the tomatoes are very juicy, lightly pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, heavily salt the water and cook the orzo per the recommended timing on the packaging.
- Drain the orzo in a fine mesh strainer once it’s done cooking, and then rinse it under cold water until it’s brought down to room temperature.
- Immediately add the cooled orzo to a large bowl and coat it in the pesto. This is important because if the pasta is allowed to sit without the oil from the pesto, it will stick to itself and be ruined.
- Next, fold the vegetables and the mozzarella balls into the pesto orzo.
- Chill in the refrigerator for one hour before serving. This dish can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
*Use fresh or frozen corn, just be sure to defrost frozen corn before adding it to the salad.
**Chop a large mozzarella ball into small pieces if you can’t find mini mozzarella balls.
***The pesto can be found in the refrigerator section at your local grocery store. It is typically found near the fresh pasta.