Orzo Pasta Salad

Every morning, I let Pancake out our back patio door so she can go to the bathroom, chase the turkeys, and otherwise run around the pastures before she decides to make her way back to the house. The last couple of mornings I have followed Pancake out the door, stood on the patio, and soaked up the morning sun. Guys, it is starting to smell like summer.

Summer in Minnesota is a thing. After months and months of snows (sometimes even creeping into May), once the weather starts to hit the mid 60’s, it is as if all Minnesotans collectively sigh a deep breath of relief. Winter is behind us. We open our windows. We plan meet ups around happy hours for patio bars/restaurants. Lake parks are filled with people running, biking, laying, playing. It is hard to imagine not seeing the sidewalks, parks, and downtowns not packed with people enjoying our Minnesota summer to the fullest. All plans seem to revolve around being outside as much as possible. If the sun is up, we are outside.

And with summer comes summer cookouts. I have never been one for consistent meal planning. Whatever is in the fridge, I will toss together. But in the summer, my lack of meal planning becomes even more narrow, and I happily delegate a portion my cooking duties. Now, the extent of my meal planning is, “what should Matt grill out for us tonight?” I am just in charge of the side dishes.

This is a fabulous side dish. Hand to God, every time I make this side dish for guests, someone asks me for the recipe. And every time I say, yeah, I should really write it up and put it on my blog so it is easier to share. Well guests, I finally have!


  • Box of Orzo
  • Can of Corn, drained (feel free to sub out-I only add it about half the time)
  • 1-2 cups black olives, sliced
  • 1 red/orange/yello bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 package of pearl fresh mozzarella (or get a big ball and cut into cubes)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 handfuls of cilantro, shredded


  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 6 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  1. Cook orzo per box instructions. Yah know, boil water. Add salt so it’s as salty as the dead sea. Toss in the orzo. Take out when soft to taste. Let the orzo cool (or run cold water over it-that may be a not chef like. but I don’t always have the time or patience to wait)
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Whisk til well mixed.
  3. Combine all ingredients for main dish in a large bowl. Only add the orzo once it is cooled (or you’ll get gooey cheese). Mix well so that the olive oil is mixed throughout.
  4. Toss in the dressing and serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

Source: My friend Rachel

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