Summer Orzo Pasta Salad


I invented this salad last year when we started getting a ton of zucchini and cherry tomatoes from our first harvest in our new garden. It’s my favorite meal of the summer (my three year old’s too!) because it’s delicious, my husband helps me make it, and it’s easy to pack and take with us to a picnic or play date.


  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken breast
  • 2 large or 5 medium zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 cups dried orzo pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 4 oz log of goat cheese
  • 1 lb of arugula

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  •  2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp salt

How to make:

  • Cook chicken breasts and zucchini halves on the grill until zucchini is soft with a hint of char and chicken is cooked through.
  • While that’s grilling, cook the orzo according to package directions. It cooks pretty quickly and I find it sticks to the pan easily so keep an eye on it.
  • Blend together all dressing ingredients with an immersion blender (my number one favorite kitchen tool!) and add black pepper to taste.
  • Let the chicken and zucchini cool to room temperature and then chop into bite size pieces.
  • In a large bowl (seriously large, I often say screw presentation and end up using my giant stock pot!), toss together the pasta, tomatoes, red onion, chicken, zucchini and arugula with the dressing until all parts are well mixed and evenly coated.
  • Crumble in the goat cheese and give it another toss. The cheese will mostly mix in to the dressing and we love it that way but if you prefer for yours to stay in larger pieces, put your salad to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour first.
  • Feast! This size batch makes enough for my family of 4 (though Marley only eats the chicken and zucchini right now) to have a large dinner and lunch the next day.

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