Bacon Ranch Orzo Salad
Tired of potato salad in the summer and want something more? This Bacon Ranch Orzo Salad recipe is a perfect summer side!
It is summer garden season in Maine, and I am picking the biggest cherry tomatoes! Usually, I pop a few of these in my mouth as I pick veggies. However, this year, these morsels of goodness are destined for another treat–this Bacon Ranch Orzo Salad recipe!
Since school in Maine does not start until after Labor Day, summer is still in full swing here. And like much of the country, spending time with family and friends this time of year in Maine usually involves BBQs, a day on the water, or just hanging out together on the deck. I have an event tonight to attend, and this dish is coming with me. So, light the Tiki torches, bust out the beverages, and let’s enjoy some good food together!
What is Orzo?
Orzo is an Italian Pasta that looks like large grains of rice. The word Orzo literally means ‘barley’ in Italian because is looks like the unprocessed form of barley. Whatever it may look like, this pasta is perfect for using in summer pasta salads because it doesn’t feel as heavy on the stomach afterwards as more traditional bowtie or macaroni pastas might. It is also perfect for using in soups as a substitute for rice!
Quick and Easy Orzo Salad
The simplicity of this recipe is divine, and since it is better warm you can serve this during your next picnic or bbq and the flavor won’t suffer. Literally, just cook the orzo, mix the rest of the ingredients, and then combine with the drained orzo pasta.
Since this recipe will only take you 15 minutes, it also qualifies as a fabulous weeknight meal! Just whip it up and enjoy warm. While the salad is good refrigerated, it is outstanding served warm because the bacon bits infuse their flavor into the whole salad with the heat.
One of the pantry staples used in this recipe is powdered ranch dressing mix (linked below). I buy it in canisters instead of packets. (Keep it in your cabinet to add to chips, sprinkle over popcorn, or even to make this salad!) You can also make your own if you don’t want to use the pre-packaged stuff. Either way, the powdered ranch dressing mix is essential!
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- 1 Box Orzo
- 1 Small Bag Frozen Peas
- 3 T Ranch Dressing Mix
- 1 C Milk
- 1 C Mayo
- 1 C Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 package Real Bacon Bits
- 2 C Mexican Shredded Cheese Mix
- Chives, chopped
- Fill a large pot with 4 quarts water and place on stove to heat. Add salt to the water to taste.
- When water is boiling, add the box of orzo and boil 5 minutes.
- While orzo is cooking, in a separate bowl mix Ranch dressing mix, milk and mayo. Once fully mixed, place in refrigerator.
- When orzo has boiled for 5 minutes, add frozen peas to the pot. Return to boil and cook peas and orzo an additional 5 minutes.
- Drain orzo and peas, put in a bowl and place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
- Remove orzo and peas from refrigerator and add ranch dressing, cheese, bacon bits and tomatoes. Mix until combined.
- Top with chopped chives and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 492Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 831mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g