Orzo Salad with Garden Veggies

This orzo salad has fresh garden veggies, tender pasta, and a tangy fire roasted tomato and basil vinaigrette dressing. It looks as colorful as fireworks and with a kick of chili flakes, it has a nice explosion of flavor, too!

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta, I use organic whole wheat orzo
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, cleaned and diced
1/2 English cucumber , diced (or regular cucumber with seeds removed)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt and black pepper, or more/less, to taste
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, (omit to make this a vegan pasta salad)
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped or cut chiffonade style

For the Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, white balsamic, if you can find it
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes
4 ounces avocado oil, Or sunflower oil, grapeseed, olive, or other light oil of your choice


Cook orzo pasta according to package directions (usually takes about 10 minutes). Set aside.
Place all salad ingredients except cheese and basil into a large serving bowl. Set aside while you make the dressing.

Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
Place all vinaigrette ingredients except for oil into a blender. Process on high speed for 15 seconds.
With blender running on high, slowly pour olive oil into the blender to combine with other ingredients. Blend on high speed for 15-20 seconds, or until well blended and creamy.

Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with shredded cheese and fresh basil.
Store refrigerated in a tightly covered container for up to a week.