This orzo pasta salad is filled with fresh herbs, vegetables, feta cheese, and a flavorful tequila dressing. It’s all the best flavors of summer rolled into one perfect side dish.
Cookout season is upon us and I thought I would kick it off with this delicious orzo pasta salad. It has all of quintessential summer cookout flavors: red bell peppers, heirloom cherry tomatoes, avocado, fresh herbs, and feta cheese. Pair that with the tequila dressing and you have a sweet, fresh, and surprisingly light pasta salad.
Bring on the cookouts!
Will The Tequila Make Me Tipsy?
Instead of using a traditional vinaigrette dressing for this pasta salad recipe, I’ve instead created one using tequila. If you find yourself stepping back and saying, “hold up, hold up.” keep reading.
The tequila in the dressing is both acidic and sweet. This makes it a fantastic replacement for red wine vinegar or lemon juice. In all, this orzo pasta salad only has about two and a half shots of tequila. When you break that down into 16 servings, that’s only ¼ ounce of tequila per serving. That’s barely even noticeable.
You’d have to eat a lot of this pasta salad to feel the effects of the tequila. However, because of the liquor in it, please be cautious with kids. Make sure to put out a sign letting caregivers know that tequila is involved, so they can make an informed decision.
How Long Will Orzo Pasta Salad Last?
If you keep this pasta salad recipe in the fridge, it will stay fresh in an airtight container for 5-7 days. In fact, the longer it sits, the more the flavors will marry and permeate the salad.
The only downside to storing this salad is that the avocados will begin to oxidize and turn brown. This doesn’t affect the flavor very much, but it isn’t the most visually appealing. The tequila and olive oil will help slow down this process, though.
If you make this pasta salad recipe in advance, give it 12-24 hours for the flavors to become cohesive and potent. Just simply cut up and add the avocado right before serving to prevent browning.
Will This Pasta Salad Recipe Be Okay Sitting Out For A BBQ?
One of my favorite things about this orzo pasta salad is that it has no mayo. The only thing you need to be careful of going bad is the feta cheese.
If it’s especially hot outside, try to keep it out for no more than two hours. The heat is both bad for fostering food-borne illness, as well as cooking your salad. It’s still tasty warm, but we want to minimize the ideal environment for bacteria.
Tips For Making This Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe Even Better
This orzo pasta salad is already delightfully easy, but mastering these techniques will take it to a new level.
- Salad Dressing 101. This explains why the tequila and oil won’t mix and what to do about it.
- How To Keep Fresh Herbs Fresh. If you’re buying your herbs that the store, you need to know how to keep them fresh. This article explains it all, especially since cilantro and oregano have different storage methods.
Like I mentioned earlier, this entire week is dedicated to foods you would eat at a cookout. This recipe is part of a partnership with other bloggers to provide a quick and comprehensive recipe guide for summer cooking.
Come back every day this week for a new recipe, and check out some more of the delicious recipes below.
- BBQ Beef Spring Rolls by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- BBQ Brisket Burger by The Spiffy Cookie
- Best Creamy Pasta Salad by Daily Dish Recipes
- Ceviche Shrimp Cups by The Freshman Cook
- Corn Fritters by Back To My Southern Roots
- Cuban Sandwich Burger by Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Grilled Brussels Sprouts by Jolene's Recipe Journal
- Grilled Mac and Cheese Burgers by Our Good Life
- Grilled Pineapple Mai Tai by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Grilled Porterhouse Steaks with Garlic Herb Compound Butter by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Grilled Veggie Pasta by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Instant Pot Baked Beans by Kate's Recipe Box
- Orzo Pasta Salad with Feta and Tequila Dressing by Food Above Gold
- Sosaties (South African Lamb and Apricot Kebabs) by Caroline's Cooking
- St. Louis BBQ Pork Steaks by Palatable Pastime
- Easy Strawberry Basil Margarita by The Beard and The Baker
- Strawberry Broccoli Salad by Sweet Beginnings
- Tropical Cheesecake Bars by Family Around the Table
- Warm Roasted Carrot & Pea Chipotle Salad by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe
This pasta salad recipe is ideal for a crowd since it makes a lot. I recommend it most with some grilled chicken or skewers of some form.
Want a printable grocery list for this orzo pasta salad recipe? Everything is listed in standard grocery store amounts. If no size is specified, even the smallest package will provide more than enough.
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Cooking! 🙂
Orzo Pasta Salad with Feta and Tequila
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 1 large red onion, diced small
- 2 red bell peppers, diced small
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 jalapenos, seeds removed and minced
- 3 avocados, diced
- 1 pound heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup minced fresh oregano
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro
- ⅔ cup resposado tequila
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to boiling and cook the orzo pasta one minute less than the package recommends.
- Drain the pasta and run cool water over it to slow down the cooking. Once the pasta is room temperature, add just enough olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together (about 1-2 tablespoons.)
- In a large bowl mix together the pasta, red onion, red bell peppers, avocado, jalapenos, garlic, cherry tomatoes, herbs, and feta cheese.
- Whisk together the tequila and olive oil until somewhat incorporated. Pour it over the salad, toss, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve