Sunday, May 22, 2016

Once a Year Whether You Need It Or Not!

I was making my favorite summer salad recipe in honor of finally being able to eat outdoors without a sweater. It seems like every now and then I share this recipe, but I have been blessed in the past year with some wonderful new readers so I thought I'd share it again! It is especially good for open air picnics and warm days as it has only a vinegar and oil base and doesn't require refrigeration. It's good cold but I like it best at closer to room temp and this one gets better as the flavors meld.


It was originally called Orzo Pasta Salad which is accurate but boring. I'm not sure where the original recipe hailed from but I've heard it was a variation by my friend Kate from a Cooking Light recipe -- a good decade or two ago. Kate's friend Esther made it on a WKAR cooking show and I co-opted it from there, making my own variation.

I call it two things -- Confetti Pasta Salad or Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad. For obvious reasons.

Basically, while your water is heating for the orzo chop to a small size (but not fine dice -- you can be as casual as you like with this) a mix of veggies and herbs. For the version you see here I used:

1 handful Japanese spring peas (the flat ones)
1 handful of asparagus
1/2 or a little more of red, orange and green pepper (but you can use whatever colors you like!)
5 large radishes
10 kalamata olives (because that is what I had; I would have used more!)
5 green onions (or if I'd had shallot or purple onion, I'd use that in place of or in addition to)
A handful of basil
A handful of dill
A handful of flat pasley
Sun Dried or diced tomatoes (grape tomatoes, are good; I used a roma. Sun dried is best!)
A block of feta cheese (I suppose you could use gorgonzola or bleu -- the feta seems "fresh.")
Salt and pepper
Vinegar and olive oil

Put it all in the bottom of your bowl.

Boil up your bag of orzo. It takes about 7 minutes, give or take (the sizes on this rice-shaped pasta can vary a bit).

Then run it under cold water to cool it and pour over veggies.

Add vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to taste. You want it to have the flavor but not be too wet! (After it's been in the fridge a bit, you may want to add a bit more since the pasta absorbs it.)

Voila! A wonderful salad that makes a lot (excellent for pot lucks) and doesn't take long. If you don't have all the items listed, substitutions are fine -- broccoli, carrots, even finely diced raw sweet potatoes are also good in this!

This post will be linked to Thoughts of Home on Thursday! Check out the links!


Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

It doesn't matter what you call it, it looks so delicious.

anno said...

Mmmmm.... this looks fabulous -- a great option for any summer picnic!

Joanne Huffman said...

Yum! I love eating on the deck in summer.

shoreacres said...

I swear I got this recipe from Cooking Light some years ago. It's the only thing I've ever used orzo for, and at one time I took the magazine. It is a delicious salad, and one of my summer staples. I like it because it does keep well, and I can make s light supper of it a couple or three nights in a row when it's hot and I'm not inclined to cook when I get home.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum, this look delicious! And it's nice that it's one that can be served at room temperature. Great way to use up whatever veggies you have laying around in your fridge, too!

Victoria Zigler said...

Great recipe... Thanks for sharing.

Bella Rum said...

I love sun dried tomatoes, feta, orzo and black olives. This sounds great and healthy. I have to try it. Thanks, Jeanie.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

This looks so good! I have never heard of orzo. I will have to look for it. I have a pasta salad that I make sometimes. I like kidney beans (rinsed) added to it, black olives, and whatever I have on hand. Such an easy dish for lots of flavor.

Virginia said...

I have made this and not used as many veggies but it's good. I"ve also had a tabbouleh orzo with lemon vinaigrette that is divine. Had chopped mint.

Barb said...

Looks so bright and fresh and inviting - thanks for sharing, Jeanie. I have a "kitchen sink" salad, too without the pasta for when I'm overrun with veggies.

Red Rose Alley said...

What a Yummy salad. This would be nice to eat cold on a warm summer day. I love everything in here, especially the sun dried tomatoes. It looks great. :)

Have a splendid week.


Mae Travels said...

A real keeper of a recipe!

best... mae at

~*~Patty S said...

Oh I am hungry now!
So many of my favorite ingredients.
I could eat snow peas like potato chips.
TFS Jeanie

Sandra Cox said...

OMG. My mouth is watering. I'll be right over:)

I need orange said...

Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing it. :-)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

That looks SO good, Jeanie! And eating outside now is finally an option for both of us, isn't it! HAVE FUN!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I adore everything about this, except the oil and vinegar. I'm apparently allergic to vinegar in cooking, so I would substitute it with freshly squeezed lemon juice, which is so much more healthy (at least for me!).

Joyful said...

Hi Jeanie, I've seen this salad around but don't think I've ever eaten it or attempted making it. Yours does look absolutely delicious and I'll have to give it a try sometime as you are making me hungry;-)

Maggie said...

Adding your kitchen sink salad to my repertoire of quick and easy summer dishes straight away. Thanks Jeanie.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Good evening Jeanie,
What a wonderful salad.. It looks delicious!
Thanks for sharing.
Wishing you a wonderful week

Jann Olson said...

Oh yum!! We are making all kinds of salads for my grandsons wedding in the garden. Guess what I will be making? :) Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. It will be a big hit I am sure!

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

This is one keeper of a salad and I love every single one of the ingredients.
Oh to sit out on the patio and dine on this salad would be a meal and setting fit for a King!
Pinned too:)

Beth Leintz said...

I make a similar salad only I use cork screw pasta and usually stick with just peppers for vegetables. Your salad makes me think I've been limiting myself- I could use this salad to "clean the fridge." I think the secret is the feta & kalamata olives.

Stacey said...

Any salad called clean the fridge or confetti must be filled with wonderful good for you things. I can't wait to try this. Here in Texas we have a lot of be honest my favorite part is always the sides. I'll be making this for sure!

Laura said...

I love nothing more than a tried and true summer salad.
I can't wait to try this!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh I adore orzo too and can't wait to try this. Thank you so very much for joining us at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

I love every ingredient in here so this is my kind of summer salad. Always love new things to try every season. Thank you!

Wandering Wren said...

I love all these 'chuck it all in' salads - although of course served up as a swish 'I've brought along a Confetti Pasta salad'!!!!! My sort of delicious salad, looks a gorgeous recipe! You've given me a good tip - I must use Dill more...
Wren x

Jenny Woolf said...

I do have fun making salads at home. Luckily we really love to eat them, and they also go down very well with guests. This is another to add to my recipe collection - thank you.

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