Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad

Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad - The most delicious pasta salad ever with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lots of wonderful fresh herbs. Everyone loves this one!

Hopefully you’ll never, ever run into me at the supermarket. Oh, I suppose it would be okay if we encountered each other in the meat department. I could share a few fun and fab chickenbeef and/or pork recipes. You’d be fairly safe in the dairy section, I’d show you the best yogurt you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting or tell you how to take simple egg whites and turn them into something sensational. If we bumped into each other in the baking aisle, you might be a bit sad, because I’ll probably have snatched up all the toffee bits, but I’d be sure to tell you about a wonderful dessert idea for your next dinner party or family get together.

Avoid me at all costs, however, in the produce section. In the summer. When displays are piled high with multi-colored peppers in brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange, sweet, fresh soft yellow tiny-kerneled corn, glistening, glossy, deep purple eggplants, mounds of juicy, fuzzy-skinned, golden Georgia peaches, sweet as sugar, jewel-hued nectarines, slender, tender green beans, sun-kissed cherry and grape tomatoes in lovely shades of red and gold ………….. pretend you don’t know me, just do YOUR produce shopping AFTER I’ve wheeled my overflowing cart to another aisle. You see, I am very likely to ……………….
……………… get so excited about the beautiful produce that I BURST INTO SONG!?! And I can’t sing …………. or hold a tune ………. or a beat ………..or anything like that. And I’d probably make up the words; something really silly, something about being in love with summer and/or about the thrill of seeing all the gorgeous produce …………… Oh, it just wouldn’t be a pretty sight sound. So, like I said, if you see me there in the produce section, pretend you really need something in the farthest corner of the store …………

Israeli Couscous and Orzo Salad - The most delicious pasta salad ever with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lots of wonderful fresh herbs. Everyone loves this one!

Something you DO want to do however, is try this fabulous summer salad, inspired by a recent trip to the market (I wanted to, but I didn’t …………. sing ……….. I thought you might be watching). Corn, cherry tomatoes and green onions were on super sale. Fresh mozzarella caught my eye and it’s way into my cart. Our deck herb garden is prolifically producing at this time of the year. Pasta sounded wonderful. Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad evolved. We all loved it and I think you will too!

Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad - The most delicious pasta salad ever with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lots of wonderful fresh herbs. Everyone loves this one!

The recipe makes a enough for a crowd so it’s perfect for picnics, parties and family get togethers.. Cut it in half if you want, but it keeps quite well and makes wonderful leftovers, fabulous for lunches at work or meals on the run.

Israeli Couscous and Orzo Salad - The most delicious pasta salad ever with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lots of wonderful fresh herbs. Everyone loves this one!

P.S. Wondering about the combination of pastas in this Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad? I love mingling fun shaped pastas. You could definitely use just one (either, or), but the round Israeli couscous and the oblong orzo make such a pretty presentation. It’s kind of like “layering” in home decor. It makes it all the more attractive and interesting. Israeli couscous and orzo both take about 10 minutes to cook, so they’re a perfect match, you can even prepare them in the same pot, at the same time.

Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad
 
The most delicious pasta salad ever with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lots of wonderful fresh herbs. The dressing is simply olive oil, lemon zest and fresh herbs. Everyone loves this one!
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta Salad
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces Israeli couscous*
  • 8 ounces orzo
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over pasta
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (we love Maldon), more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pint red cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch green (spring) onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 ears fresh corn**, shucked and kernels cut from cobs
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained, if necessary, and cut in bite sized pieces
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • small fresh herb leaves, if desired, for garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove top. Add a generous measure of salt (about a tablespoon) and return to a boil. Add couscous and orzo, allow water to return to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Stir frequently while pasta is cooking. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil, just a teaspoon or two to keep the pasta fro sticking together.Stir to coat well to coat and allow to cool.
  2. Combine the ⅓ cup olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Add halved tomatoes, green onions, corn and pastas. Stir to combine. This is when you get to act like a real chef; taste and add more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
  4. Add fresh mozzarella cubes and stir gently. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Add fresh herb leaves for garnish, if desired. Drizzle with a bit more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Notes
~ *Israeli couscous is widely available in larger super markets (often in the "kosher" section) or at Middle Eastern markets. Trader Joe's carries it also.
~ **Corn is not cooked in this recipe. It's delicious this way, sweet with a bit of crunch. Just make sure you get fresh corn, kernels should be plump and not too large.

Comments

  1. says

    Jewel hued, that really SAYS it! This is way too pretty to eat, instead it needs to be featured on the cover of a food magazine!

  2. says

    I think if we had to bump into each other at a market, we would have a goud laugh because I’m just like you Chris, all excited by beautiful fruits and veggies and thinking: ” Just how much could I eat in a week” or “What can I prepare with these???” This salad is beautiful and looks really good!

  3. says

    Oh Chris, Just my kind of salad! I was just looking for a salad to serve at a lunch I’m doing for my bunco friends. This is it! Lovely presentation!

  4. says

    Brilliant!
    I like that it can sit around; it can travel; it is filling and can easily become the main course. Most of all, I like that everything is fresh, including the herbs.

  5. says

    Oh.My.GOOD-ness!

    This has my tastebuds
    clamoring for a trip to
    the farmer’s market. It
    sounds so fresh, so summery
    and just plain delicious.

    Can’t wait to try it!

    Happy Friday,
    xo Suzanne

  6. says

    I cannot wait for the produce to kick I here. I am that way at the FM, buying lots of stuff and then getting home and thinking “What am I going to do with all this.” I just used pearl couscous for the first time. Loved it.

  7. says

    What a lovely summer salad. Perfect for eating on a deck overlooking water. Actually, I think this would work anywhere it’s served. I hope your weekend is off to a great start. Blessings…Mary

  8. says

    Chris, what a wonderful combination of flavors and colors – you are so creative, it would never have occured to me to add both couscous and orzo to a salad – it looks like summer, so tasty and healthy and perfect for anytime! I think I would love to bring this salad to a party that we are invited too!
    Have a lovely weekend, Chris!

  9. says

    I am making this fabulous-looking salad for a dinner party this coming week-end, Chris. I definitely need to stop making your Black-bean and Quinoa salad which I again made twice last week. Everyone loves it. But, this looks like a wonderful summer replacement. I am a little concerned about not cooking the corn – not even blanching it??? However, I trust you and will give it a go.

    • says

      Mary, thanks for stopping by! You’ll be shocked at how wonderful the corn is uncooked. I have gotten addicted to it in this way and use it in all sorts of recipes. It’s sweet and fresh and adds a bit of fun texture to salads and other dishes. Just make sure it’s sweet, tender corn to begin with. Actually my very favorite corn comes from your fine state, it’s called Olathe and is grown somewhere in the Colorado mountains. It doesn’t show up in our markets till late July or early August, it’s the best! :)

  10. Cyndy @ Rogers' Private Reserve says

    Made half the recipe. Used tri-colored orzo. Super simple with gourmet results. My kind of recipe! Ate it. OMGoodness. Best salad ever in every way. Super keeper recipe for guests. Delish! ‘Nuff said.

    • says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Cyndy. I could eat this everyday and I love that, even though it’s a pasta salad, it’s a bit healthier with all the fresh veggies!

  11. says

    This could be my lunch and dinner all week long…that’s how much I LOVE it!!! So many of my favorite ingredients. And I had to laugh about the shortage of toffee bits after you’ve been to the market…I can totally relate :)

  12. says

    If I made this ahead of time and served it next day, would I reheat or bring to room temp? I almost think you can do all this ahead of time, and just prior to serving, bring to room temp and add the tomato’s and fresh herbs. Your thoughts?

  13. says

    if I made this ahead of time, what do you think of this:
    Make orzo/couscous, add corn and oils, corn and dry ingredients. Prior to serving,bring to room temp. Then add tomato and fresh herbs?

    • says

      Hi Kristi!
      That’s exactly what I would do. If you’re using the cheese. save that till you add the tomatoes and herbs.I might save just a bit of the oil to drizzle in at the very end. I love this salad, wish I was having it for lunch today :)

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