We’re still waiting for the weather to warm up here in Northern California, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold out on light, healthy, and summery recipes for the time being. No way. We’re just waiting for the sun to say, “Now!” and then we’ll be making a mad dash to our outdoor grill.
Yes, we are totally Olaf-ing it now, just dreaming of summer, but our simple side dish recipe this week really helps while we patiently wait for sunny skies and gentle breezes to come.
This pasta salad is a total change of pace from all the hearty stews and slow cooker meals we have been enjoying recently. It’s light, refreshing, and did we mention it only requires 5 ingredients?
If you have your pantry stocked with the essentials, then you already have 3 of the ingredients – dried pasta, olive oil, and lemons. (We’re counting salt and pepper as freebies, but we’re pretty sure you have these two ingredients on hand already!)
The only 2 ingredients left to buy are arugula and cherry tomatoes. Buying in-season, fresh produce is also on our list of 10 Budget-Friendly Ingredients, so you’re definitely getting a bang for your buck with this quick and easy side dish.
But just because we’re saying that there’s only 5 ingredients in this dish, it doesn’t mean you can’t add more and switch things up a bit. This is our go-to way of enjoying a healthy and tasty pasta salad. It’s kept simple so that the flavors of arugula and tomatoes can stand out, and also, it’s not so heavy, especially when eaten with a main course, like Balsamic Chicken Kebabs.
Try adding in fresh, cubed mozzarella or chiffonade some fresh, fragrant basil for a more summery meal. Sliced kalamata olives will add a nice tanginess to the dish, or give it a boost with some avocado or corn.
However you choose to customize this simple pasta side dish, be sure to really enjoy the flavors of the fresh produce. They taste the best when they’re in season, and having a simple recipe like this one, helps enhance those flavors.
For More Smarts:
One of the perks to meal planning is that you always save time. Plan meals around the ingredients you use, so that no food goes to waste!
- Make once, enjoy twice: Cook more orzo and use in a hearty weeknight dinner with a Greek-Inspired Meat Sauce. Or bulk up a creamy Tomato Soup by stirring in cooked orzo. You can even make this Italian Wedding Soup and sub the pearl couscous with already-cooked orzo pasta.
- Have extra arugula? Enjoy more summer deliciousness with this Strawberry Fennel Arugula Salad.
Halving cherry tomatoes individually gets tedious and is not very efficient. Check out this hack for halving a lot of cherry tomatoes at once:
The only cooking required in this recipe is to cook pasta, which can be done in a saucepan like this one.
For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our ‘Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools’
- Cherry tomatoes – 1/2 pint, halved
- Orzo – 2/3 cup
- Lemon – 1/2, juice of
- Olive oil – 2 Tbsp
- Arugula – 4 oz
- Tomatoes – Prep as directed.