Orzo Pasta Salad With Wild Rice In A Lemon Dressing

Orzo Pasta Salad With Wild Rice In A Lemon Dressing

Now, I’m not saying that other cuisines aren’t healthy, but I truly believe in the healthy benefits that Mediterranean food provides. That’s why when I came across a recipe for orzo pasta salad with wild rice in a lemon dressing, I didn’t hesitate. I copied it down and made a list of ingredients to buy or find.

What I really liked is that this recipe has orzo and wild rice together. I have used pastina before to make soup, so I knew orzo is a kind of pastina, but this will be the first time I’ll be using wild rice as a main ingredient of salad. Let’s get to know these ingredients, shall we?

What Kind Of Pasta Is Orzo?

Orzo is basically a type of tiny pasta called a pastina. Italians call it orzo because it resembles barley in its unprocessed form. However, once cooked it resembles long-grain rice, which contributes to its versatility in cooking. This rice-shaped pasta is used in traditional Italian cooking as an ingredient in soups and salads.

Orzo pasta is made with semolina flour, which is milled from durum wheat. That means it’s not gluten-free. When buying orzo, choose one that’s made from high-quality semolina or plant-based flour that has high protein content. A good example of the latter is chickpea-based rice which tastes like orzo.

Orzo or a similar product with high protein content makes for a sturdier pasta. It doesn’t become gummy or mushy when cooked for a few minutes longer than usual, as is the case with soups.

You can even find orzo in multiple colors; black orzo is colored with squid ink, green orzo has spinach, and orange orzo is made with tomato. Yet, the flavor remains the same.

How Healthy Is Wild Rice?

Despite its name, wild rice isn’t actually rice. It’s a grain harvested from aquatic grass that grows naturally in waterways all over the United States. Wild rice tends to be longer and has a more nutty, earthy flavor than white rice. The hull is thicker and more rigid meaning it’s not as squishy as white rice.

Wild rice has 40 percent more protein than other whole grains. It has 30 percent fewer calories than brown rice. You can enjoy it without worrying about gaining weight. It’s also perfect for a gluten-free diet.

Wild rice contains manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and zinc. Together, these nutrients help keep your bones, muscles, ligaments and joints strong and healthy.

It can help balance sugar levels in the body. People with diabetes benefit most from replacing white rice for wild rice in their diet. It helps in reducing insulin resistance and lowers triglyceride levels.

Cooking With Pine Nuts

This recipe calls for toasted pine nuts, which have a sweet flavor and a buttery texture. If these aren’t to your liking, you can swap them with other nuts, such as almonds, cashews or pistachios. If you’d rather not eat them for health reasons, you can replace them with sunflower seeds, edamame beans, or sesame seeds.

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Orzo Pasta Salad With Wild Rice In A Lemon Dressing

Orzo Pasta Salad With Wild Rice In A Lemon Dressing

  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x



Salad Ingredients:

  1. ½ cup wild rice
  2. ¾ cup orzo pasta
  3. ½ cup pine nuts toasted
  4. ½ red bell pepper diced
  5. 3 green onions white and green parts, sliced
  6. 1/3 cup dried cranberries lightly chopped
  7. ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley


Citrus Dressing Ingredients:

  1. 1 lemon zested
  2. 1 lime zested
  3. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from the zested lemon
  4. 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice from the zested lime
  5. 1 tablespoon liquid honey or agave syrup
  6. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  7. ¼ cup canola vegetable or grapeseed oil
  8. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  9. ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, cook the wild rice in 3 cups of water. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.

  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and cook for 10 to 11 minutes until the orzo is al dente. Using a fine mesh sieve, drain the orzo and lightly rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool.

  3. On medium-high heat, toast pine nuts in a small skillet. Toss them constantly until they just begin to look golden. Pine nuts toast quickly, so do not leave them unattended. Immediately transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.

  4. Once the rice and orzo are completely cooled, add them to a large salad bowl. Add the green onions, red pepper, cranberries, toasted pine nuts and parsley.

  5. Next, prepare the citrus dressing. Whisk together lime zest, lemon zest, lime juice, lemon juice, honey (agave syrup), oil, mustard, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine.

  6. Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours before serving.



Orzo sticks together quite easily, so make sure to stir occasionally as you cook it.

Running cold water over the pasta will stop the cooking process. Bathing the orzo in chilled water works, too.

Another way of cooling the orzo is to spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle them with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, toss, and set aside to cool.

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Salad

Keywords: orzo,orzo pasta salad,orzo pasta salad with wild rice in a lemon dressing

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