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Quick Orzo Pasta Salad – Instant Pot

Quick Orzo Pasta Salad is a light and refreshing salad full of zesty flavors and healthy ingredients. Hearty vegetarian pasta salad is our family favorite and a crowd pleaser!

Colorful crisp veggies, al dente orzo pasta and tender chickpeas drizzled with delicious homemade dressing ! This 20 minutes recipe makes simply the BEST Salad. Typically used in summer and spring months but suitable year long when you crave fresh Meditararian flavors. 

Use this flavorful salad for a light main or a healthy side. This is our favorite pasta salad recipe similar to Greek Fresh Pasta Salad and Italian Summer Pasta Salad. We also love Chickpea Orzo Soup and Creamy Lemon and Peas Orzo for delightful weeknight diners.

Pinterest image for Quick Orzo Pasta Salad with instant Pot instructions

BEST PREP AHEAD SALAD

You can make this salad several hours or even a day in advance and store in the refrigerator. The flavors develop over time and taste terrific! This salad tastes great served warm or cold. So you can also use it for road trips lunches, beach trips or picnics.

Perfect Spring / Summer Salad

This vegan pasta salad is bursting with bright, fresh, happy flavors. It is ideal salad to bring for summer BBQs and potlucks. My kids love it in their lunch boxes. And it one of our favorites for picnic lunches.

I have served this salad for kitty parties, Teacher Appreciation Lunches, book club meets and game day parties. It is so well liked and one of the first things that quickly disappears.

A red bowl on the kitchen counter filled with pasta salad

Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe Highlights

  • vegan
  • can use gluten-free orzo if needed
  • quick and easy to make in under 20 minutes
  • delightfully fresh with easy homemade lemon herb salad dressing
  • easy to customize
  • suitable to make ahead and meal prep 

A spoonful of salad showing al dente orzo pasta, cherry tomato and persian cucumber.

INGREDIENTS

Orzo – gluten free or regular orzo pasta. Choose whole grain variety for more nutrients.
Veggies – grape or cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, baby spinach and spring peas
Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans – Adds depth to the salad. It also adds good amount of protein that makes this salad satisfying
Dressing – fresh lemon Juice, freshly minced garlic, dry herbs and extra virgin olive oil along with salt and pepper
Fresh Herbs – Chopped basil , parsley or mint – Optional but highly recommend. It brings instant freshness and refreshing zest.
Cheese – Parmesan Cheese or nutritional yeast 

Ingredients used in making this Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe.

This easy to use salad uses few ingredients, is easy make and looks so beautiful for so little effort. This Meditararian salad recipe is a delight for all the senses.

Substitutes

  • You could use your favorite vinaigrette or dressing – Creamy ranch, honey mustard, cucumber ranch, or maple vinaigrette all are good choices
  • Instead of orzo, other short grain pasta, rice, quinoa or couscous also works.
  • Add your favorite veggies in addition to or in place of the ones I suggested. Artichokes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms are all good options. Grilled veggies also work well.
  • Replace chickpeas with other protein rich seeds or beans including cooked cannellini beans, black beans. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or hemp seeds are other options.
  • For WFPB cooking, simply skip using the oil in the dressing.

A close up showing all healthy and hearty ingredients used in this summer salad along with light homemade dressing.

How to make Quick Orzo Pasta Salad?

Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain the orzo, mix with some extra virgin olive oil and let it cool. You can also cook the orzo in the instant pot.

Mix the cooked orzo with cooked chickpeas and all the chopped veggies in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss it gently so the dressing coats all the ingredients.

Season the salad with salt, pepper, red chili flakes to taste, Garnish with chopped basil leaves and parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.

Enjoy right away, or refrigerate for about 30 minutes until chilled.

Process step showing all ingredients arranged in a salad bowl just before adding the dressing.

Cooking Orzo in a Pressure Cooker like Instant Pot

It is easy to make a big batch of orzo or other pasta in electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot. I like to add some oil and salt to the cooking water to prevent the pasta from clumping together.

Use 1:2 orzo to water ratio and cook on high pressure at 5 minutes followed by quick pressure release. Use colander and drain any excess water. Rinse the orzo in cold water to avoid it from further cooking and getting sticky.

Cooking Orzo on Stove Top

Per package instructions, cook the orzo in the sufficient boiling water for 8-10 minutes. I like to add some oil, salt and seasoning to the boiling water. It adds some flavors as well prevents orzo from sticking together.

Process shot collage showing how to make orzo pasta.

Easy Homemade Salad Dressing

This herb salad dressing recipe is the easiest dressing to make. Simply whisk together good olive oil, lemon juice, and all purpose seasoning. I like Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. You can also use your favorite seasoning mix.

Is this recipe Vegan?

All ingredients used in this salad are vegan including plant based parmesan cheese. You can also substitute Nutritional yeast for the same. Or skip using the cheese altogether. 

OUR FAVORITE SALADS

Quick Orzo Pasta Salad with chickpeas and veggies served with freshly made dressing served in a salad bowl.

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Quick Orzo Pasta Salad with chickpeas and veggies served with freshly made dressing served in a salad bowl.

Quick Orzo Pasta Salad - Instant Pot Option

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Quick Orzo Pasta Salad with fresh veggies and chickpeas is hearty vegan summer pasta salad. Homemade lemon herb dressing adds Mediterranean flair.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz dry gluten free or regular orzo pasta
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomoatoes - cut in half
  • 2 persian cucumbers - cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup fresh spring peas ( optional)

Salad Dressing

Garnishes

Instructions

Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain the orzo, run some cold water and let it cool. You can also cook the orzo in the instant pot.

In the meantime, wash and chop the veggies. Whisk together salad dressing ingredients.

Mix the cooked orzo with cooked chickpeas and all the chopped veggies in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss it gently so the dressing coats all the ingredients.

Season the salad with salt, pepper, red chili flakes to taste, Garnish with chopped basil leaves and parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.

Enjoy right away, or refrigerate for about 30 minutes so that all flavors mend well .

Cooking Orzo in a Pressure Cooker like Instant Pot

It is easy to make a big batch of orzo or other pasta in an electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot. I like to add 1 tbsp. oil to prevent the pasta from clumping together and 1/2 tsp salt and seasoning for flavors to the cooking water.

Use 1:2 orzo to water ratio and cook on high pressure at 5 minutes followed by quick pressure release. Use colander and drain any excess water. Rinse the orzo in cold water to avoid it from further cooking and sticking together

Cooking Orzo on Stove Top

Per package instructions, cook the orzo in the sufficient boiling water for 8-10 minutes. I like to add 1 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt and seasoning to the boiling water. It adds some flavors and prevents orzo from sticking together.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 453mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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