Summer is here! Warm weather means lots of salads, especially pasta salads. I find pasta salads really easy to make, because lets be honest, in the summer I would rather be outside enjoying the weather. In Chicago you only get a few months of Vitamin D to enjoy.
I usually make my pasta salads on Sundays when we grill out and then eat the leftovers during the week for lunch.
This pasta salad is one that I like making in the summer. I am a big fan of orzo pasta and putting chickpeas in my salads for that added protein. The flavors of this salad mixed with the light dressing and mint make it a refreshing and flavorful dish.
I don’t know about you but I am thankful for summer and all of the salads that come with it!
- ½ cucumber, chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1½ cups orzo
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups red teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup red onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- For the salad:
- Put broth in a large pot and cover. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in orzo.
- Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender (6-8 minutes) stirring frequently.
- Drain orzo and place in a large mixing bowl. Let the orzo cool completely.
- Mix the orzo with the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, basil and mint.
- Add ¼ of the dressing to the salad and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
- When ready to eat add remaining dressing and mix well.
- To make the dressing:
- In a food processor or blender mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper until mixed well.
- While the machine is running gradually add in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from Giada de Laurentis