Raise your hand if you love pasta salad! Keep it raised if you think pasta and carbs are the devil!! Well, first let me assure you, they are not! You need carbs! B. I have a super light alternative to the traditional heaviness that is pasta salad.

Whenever I eat pasta salad it seems to focus more on the pasta..I mean duh that’s why they call it pasta salad..but I think the veggies deserve to get their 15 minutes so I thought I could try something a little lighter.

If you have been following along, you know I have a not-so-secret obsession with orzo. It’s like if rice and pasta made a baby and named it orzo. Absolute perfection. So anyhow, I had about 1/2 cup of it left from another recipe so I thought it would be such a great alternative to the typical penne or rotini pasta. I also made my own Italian dressing because I cannot find one that I love (except Olive Garden’s and I just can’t with the price and weird ingredients). It is all super easy so here we go!!

In a sauce pan I boil my water for the orzo. While that is boiling I finely chop 1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 6 roma tomatoes, 1 celery stalk, 1 half of a English cucumber- skin on, I like these better than regular because they are less seedy, and 1 julliened carrot.

Throw your pasta in and add a couple pinches of salt. During the cooking time, I put my veggies to the side and make my dressing.

In a small bowl I mix (roughly might I add because I was just experimenting) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsps. white wine vinegar, the juice of one lemon, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. dried basil and a pinch of pepper. Mix and mix and mix. You can taste test throughout to make sure it is too your liking, you may want it a little sweeter or a little saltier!

Once the pasta is done boiling, strain it, and let cool for about 4 minutes. When it is cool, put it in a large bowl and pour about half of the dressing over top. You will probably have more than you need, that is fine, just use as much as you want. I don’t like to use too much, because every pasta salad I have tried, the dressing overpowers. When that is mixed in, fold your veggies in and let it chill in the fridge for about 3 hours so all the flavors can really come together. Serve cold and with a sprinkle of parm or romano cheese!

Perfect for lunch, snack, dinner, Fourth of July, picnics, baby shower..you name it, this will be your go-to dish!

INGREDIENTS-

1/2 cup uncooked orzo

1 yellow pepper

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

1 half English cucumber

1 medium sized carrot

1 celery stalk

6 roma tomatoes

1 lemon

1/4 cup EVOO

2 tbsps. white wine vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. sugar

pinch of pepper

sprinkle of parmesan or romano cheese