orzo salad with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto

orzo salad with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto

I know summer is here when all I want to eat is salad. I love it, I need it and I start replacing cooked vegetables with crunchy fresh vegetables. I have also recently fallen in love with orzo or Rosmarino – the rice like pasta grains. I mean I have obviously eaten them before but have never loved them hot as a side to other dishes. I find the texture somewhat ‘slimy,’ and as pastas go, I find it ineffective in soaking up the sauce. Its kind of ok in a soup – to bulk up and make more hearty, but when its cold and added to loads of crunchy textures and flavour packed vinaigrettes, it really starts to shine.

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This is a salad I am making a lot of lately. Well, permutations of it. I love the addition of pesto to coat the orzo as the base of the salad and then I add all the other things. The red onions should be sliced so finely that you don’t detect any harsh flavours, and I always use a mandolin on the thinnest possible setting. Sliced sugar snap peas give the salad the big crunch factor which is essential. Sliced cherry tomatoes go beautifully with the pesto and need to be very rip and sweet. They also need to be seasoned well, so don’t be afraid to keep adding good sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper as you go. I love using Bocconcini mozzarella which I slice into wedges. Once again the perfect partnership to the basil and tomatoes. I have also crumbled feta in which adds saltiness.

I make a basic vinaigrette of olive oil and red or white wine vinegar just to brighten it up, and at the end I like to throw in few flavour packed leaves like fresh basil, rocket, watercress or rocket. This adds herbaciousness which is lovely.

So hello summer and hello to tons of salads.

orzo salad with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto

* Cooks notes ~ Add more or less pesto as it all depend on what you are using. I always have a very high quality pesto like Pesto Princess on hand to add to things. Play around with the vegetables too. Peppers, carrots, zucchini and peas are fabulous to add.

Recipe – makes enough for 2 as a main meal or 4 – 6 as a side

  • 1 cup orzo (Rosmarino pasta)
  • 4 Tbsp pesto
  • 1/2 large red onion, very finely sliced
  • 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes
  • 125g sugar snap peas
  • 120 gm bocconcini (5 balls)
  • small handful basil, rocket or watercress
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the orzo according to packet instructions, drain and refresh under cold water. Set aside.

Slice the onion very thinly and place at the bottom of the bowl. add the vinegar and olive oil. All this to soak for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and the pesto and mix well. Seas on to taste.

Add all the other ingredients, toss and season again to taste.

A few more salads that I love:

green bean and pea salad with lashings of parmesan

panzanella

kale caesars salad with roast chicken

 

 

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9 Responses to orzo salad with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto

  1. lynne hoareau October 9, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    What a lovely salad idea ! Summer screams salads for me too, so this is perfect 🙂

  2. Tanya October 9, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Looks fantastic, will definitely give this a try!

  3. Lizet Hartley October 9, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    Gnom, gnom. Man I love pasta!

  4. Sweet and Savoury Pursuits October 11, 2015 at 4:53 am #

    Love all the contrasting flavours and textures in your salad, I find that so essential in a good salad.

  5. CaliZona October 11, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    Yum!!! This is my kind of salad!

  6. Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 11, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    This is my kind of salad! I could eat this all summer long!

  7. Tanya October 12, 2015 at 7:22 am #

    Thank you so much, I did try this this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed. You are so right, the pasta is slimy and yuck, then transformed – an absolute revelation! Will be talking about it on my facebook page later today – (with all due credits and directions to your page incl of course!)

  8. Sam October 12, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Thanks so much Tanya

  9. sara October 13, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    So I made this tonight and it was delicious! I did make one change, I have an issue with gluten and made it with quinoa instead. Tasted really good!

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