This orzo pasta salad is light and summery and a great side dish for BBQs and potlucks because it’s delicious served cold or at room temperature. It’s is full of fresh broccoli, red bell pepper, red onion, and chickpeas and is dressed with a lemony Dijon vinaigrette. I recommend making the salad at least a few hours in advance so the flavors can develop.
For the Dressing
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (see note)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the Salad
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 (16-ounce can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until combined. Place ice cubes and water in a medium-sized bowl.
- Blanch the Broccoli: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and boil them for 2 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon, scoop them out of the water and submerge them in the bowl with the ice and water to stop them cooking. Drain them and set them aside.
- Boil the Orzo: In the same pot that you used to boil the broccoli, boil the orzo. There’s no need to change the water, just be sure to bring it back to a rolling boil before adding the pasta. I like to season the water with a tablespoon of salt, but this is optional. Cook the orzo according to package directions. While the orzo is boiling, chop the cooled broccoli florets into small pieces.
- Assemble the Salad: Drain the orzo and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the broccoli, bell pepper, red onion, chopped parsley, chickpeas, and lemon juice. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until well combined. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.
- I first shared this recipe in 2016 and I have since updated the amount of mustard. If you liked the original version, reduce the amount of mustard to 1 teaspoon. This updated version has 1 tablespoon which gives the salad a bit more tanginess.
- Category: Salads
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 283
- Sugar: 6.6g
- Fat: 11.2g
- Carbohydrates: 38.6g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 9.4g
Keywords: orzo pasta salad, broccoli pasta salad