Southwest Orzo Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette is the perfect pasta salad that brings the fun, bold flavors to your meals.
When making dinner be sure to enjoy this flavorful orzo pasta salad that is packed full of fresh veggies and bold flavors. You’ll love this Southwest Orzo Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette when you serve it with your favorite grilled chicken, burgers, and steaks.
I have no rhythm. None at all. But that doesn’t usually stop me from dancing. Like a fool.
Case in point, this past Friday’s work event to celebrate Bonus Day at work. We went out to Topgolf Tampa after work to smack some balls into the illuminated targets to earn points. It’s so much fun, but I was so bad about it. So I decided to breeze through my turns by hitting the ball as if I was playing hockey, which just means I have horrible, horrible form and aim. Instead, I danced around to the music that was getting blasted over the speakers.
I got so silly that I danced to “Watch Me” (Whip/Nae Nae) with our waitress. I think my coworker has a video. I’m scared that will one day surface. LOL!
Southwest Orzo Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Besides all that dancing this weekend, I whipped up this Orzo salad that will knock your socks off. It has just enough of a smokey kick from the dressing to give it some heat without making your great putting a heaping spoonful on your plate.
I think it’s a great addition to Taco Tuesday dinners because it has all the fun elements and flavors that are traditionally in dishes from the Southwest. But, it really is just a great pasta salad to enjoy any night of the week as it can pair so well with everything from chicken, fish, burgers, and steak.
You’ll love that the Southwest Orzo Salad because it’s so flavorful and it comes together to quickly. While the Orzo cooks, you prepare the veggies and the cilantro lime vinaigrette. Combine the orzo and then add in the beans, fresh veggies, and the dressing. Once the pasta salad has had time to cool and the flavors a chance to meld, you add in the feta. It’s so simple and delicious.
While cotija cheese is more Mexican than feta cheese, I find that I can find feta easily. If you happen to have access to cotija cheese, then feel free to use that instead of the feta. Both are so great in this dish because they add a great salty flavor to the pasta salad.
Besides the bell pepper, tomatoes, corn, and beans you could add in some red onion or diced black olives. It’s fun to get a bit creative with recipes like this.
This will make the perfect side for tacos as well as grilled chicken or grilled steak that is dressed with a tangy chimichurri sauce. I served this with baked chicken breast with a zesty dipping sauce and green beans.
I highly suggest putting on some music that you can dance to while you whip this Southwest Orzo Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette up. It will just be so fun to dance around the kitchen and then stuff your face with this great side dish.
What is needed for this Southwest Orzo Salad?
The pasta salad just needs orzo, plum tomatoes,bell peppers, black beans, fresh corn, and feta. The Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette dressing uses garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, chipotle powder, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh cilantro.
How long can you store the Southwest Orzo Salad?
Store the pasta salad in an air-tight container for up to 4 days in your refrigerator.
MORE GREAT PASTA SALAD RECIPES
For the pasta salad
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 4 plum tomatoes, remove the seeds, dice
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 15.5 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 Cups fresh raw corn kernels (3-4 ears) (See notes re: kernel removal)
- 8 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
For the vinaigrette
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 Cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- roughly 1 Cup of finely chopped cilantro
- Cook the orzo until al dente, according to the packaging. Drain, rinse, and lay out on a sheet tray to cool quickly. You can even put in the fridge to expedite the cooling.
- To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing well.
- In a very large bowl, combine the cooled orzo with the bell pepper, tomato, corn, black beans. Add the dressing and stir to combine and coat everything. Gently fold in the feta. Let chill for at least 2 hours.
Remove the corn kernels from the cobs by standing the corn up in a very large bowl and and carefully running a large knife down the cobs. You can also use a bundt pan and stand the corn upright in the center of the pan and let the kernels fall into the pan.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g