Carrot & Orzo Salad

$4.07 recipe / $1.02 serving

As soon as the weather warms up, I get really into salads. I like the fact that they’re cold (or at least warm or room temp) and they provide a lot of texture and flavor.

And while vegetables are a little less expensive in the summertime, you can stretch them out even more by mixing them with grains and pasta. For this salad I roasted some inexpensive carrots in olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper, and then mixed them up with some orzo. Using inexpensive carrots and orzo for the bulk of the volume allows you to add just a little expensive feta for flavor without tipping the cost scales.

I added some parsley and a splash of lemon juice for freshness, and that’s it. I like that this salad is subtle and not over powering. Sometimes you need something light like that to go along side a stronger, more flavorful main dish (in this case the Maple Dijon Chicken). If you’re the type that does like all of your food just bursting with lots and lots and lots of flavor, you can add some garlic powder in with the cumin when you roast the carrots. That aught to give it a little more kick. Me? I like the subtle sweetness of the carrots with the earthy cumin and fresh parsley. Thought it was perfect!

Carrot & Orzo Salad

Carrot & Orzo Salad

 

5.0 from 8 reviews
Carrot Orzo Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Total Cost: $4.07
Cost Per Serving: $1.02
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. carrots $1.09
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (divided) $0.36
  • ½ Tbsp ground cumin $0.07
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • freshly ground pepper to taste $0.05
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo $1.19
  • ⅓ bunch fresh parsley $0.23
  • 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese $1.07
  • ½ Tbsp lemon juice $0.03
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel the carrots and then slice them into thin medallions, about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick.
  2. Place the sliced carrots in a bowl and toss them together with one tablespoon of olive oil, the cumin, salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Once coated in the oil and seasonings, spread the carrots out on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  3. While the carrots are roasting, boil the orzo for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the orzo and allow it to cool slightly. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to toss with the orzo so it doesn't stick as it cools.
  4. Once the carrots have roasted, transfer them to a large bowl. Pull the parsley leaves from their stems and give them a rough chop. Add the parsley and crumbled feta to the bowl. Add the slightly cooled pasta and toss until the ingredients are combined. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and a bit more salt, if desired. Toss once more and then serve.

 

Carrot & Orzo Salad

Step by Step Photos

peeled carrotsI used just one pound of carrots. Wash and peel them first. Also preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

sliced carrotsSlice the carrots into thin medallions, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Add them to a bowl with one tablespoon of the olive oil, the cumin, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Toss until the carrots are well coated in oil and seasoning.

 

ready to roast carrotsSpread the carrots out on a baking sheet covered with oil. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until they’re slightly soft and they begin to curl a little.

 

roasted carrotsSee how they’re just a little curled? Looks good. Not too dry, yet still tender.

 

boil pastaWhile the carrots are roasting, boil the pasta until tender. You want to give it a chance to cool, so that it doesn’t cook the parsley or melt the feta later. I added the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta after it was drained, so that it would not stick or clump as it cooled.

 

carrot saladWhen the carrots are done roasting, add them to a bowl. Roughly chop the parsley and then add it and the feta to the bowl as well.

 

Carrot & Orzo SaladAdd the pasta, the lemon juice, an extra sprinkle of salt, and then toss until the ingredients are all combined. The end! Yum.

 

Carrot & Orzo SaladThis light and fresh salad makes a great side to main dishes that are more strongly flavored.

 

29 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    This was a big hit with my family. A nice pantry meal since I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Next time I think I’ll try bulgar wheat or farro.

  2. Faye says:

    When I first saw this I thought it would be very bland but I trust the food you make because it has always turned out for me. I am glad I did, I make this for lunch all the time. It has SO much flavor! One of my favorites.

  3. Wowww this was good! I made it with the maple-dijon chicken, and it was so helpful that they both could roast at the same temperature. I put the carrots and chicken in at the same time, which meant I ended up eating the salad half an hour before the chicken was done. Next time I’ll wait 20-30 mins to put the carrots in, and they’ll come out perfectly at the same time!

  4. I halved this recipe just now (making it for the 2nd time). Turned out lovely. I never have parsley so that was the only omission…did use whole wheat orzo – delicious!

  5. Steph says:

    Yep, this is great, especially paired with the maple-Dijon chicken! I followed other commenter’s changes and added mushrooms and used spinach instead of parsley because it’s what I had on hand, and I also added the garlic powder as you suggested, Beth. I will sooo be making this again!

  6. Johnny says:

    Big hit

  7. I made this for a July Fourth party: very successful. I have some left over; do you think it’s okay to freeze it?

    • Hmm, I haven’t tried freezing it. It might do okay, but since it’s so low moisture to begin with, it may dry out a little. If you try, please let us know how it turns out!

  8. Malorie says:

    Just made it and can’t stop eating it! The roasted carrots are tasty by themselves, but the orzo and feta are great!

  9. The carrots are soooo good in this! I didn’t use parsley cuz I’m lazy. Made the rest as stated. First time using feta. With lemon, they’re a match made in heaven!

  10. One of my favorites thus far. I have made three batches in one week..only feeding two people, haha. Delicious and easy. Nice summer salad.

  11. Kristin says:

    Wow, this was amazing!! Perfect summer side dish. I used chopped baby spinach instead of parsley and lemon zest instead of lemon juice. This recipe is a keeper.

  12. Samantha says:

    I made this the other night while on dinner duty, along with the maple Dijon chicken, and I’m in love! I’ve never had orzo before actually, I loved the texture. The carrots were just perfect; my mother usually just steams carrots when she makes them for dinner, but they cook so wonderfully in the oven – sweet and tender, but still with a bit of firmness. I did add a pinch of garlic powder, and that was perfect. The only thing I will change for next time is to lessen the parsley, just because my family aren’t the biggest parsley fans.

  13. Rachel says:

    Made this tonight and added a cucumber to put more veggies in it ( did not roast said cucumber. Obviously ) its almost 100 degrees today so we are having this salad with a big watermelon for a side. Yum!

  14. Marie says:

    This was absolutely devine. Add a little bit of curry powder.. And oh my!! Paired with the maple and dijon chicken, it was a real success.. I have yet to try a recipe of yours that I do not like..

  15. Maria says:

    This is ridonculously good!! I had never had Orzo before! I did a mix of carrots and sweet potatoes and I didn’t have feta so I added a little salt and used fresh mozzarella instead. I’ll definitely plan for the feta next time. The lemon really gives it an extra kick and this would be fine to have cold, though I’ve never been a fan of cold pasta.
    YUM!!
    Thank you Beth!

  16. I’ve never thought to make a pasta salad with roasted carrots! Must get on that ASAP.

  17. I love the new layout! My mum loves orzo, but usually uses it for warm dishes. I’ll have to try this salad for her soon :) Thanks for sharing.

  18. Heidi says:

    Would it work to make the salad ahead of time and leave it in the fridge for a few hours before eating?

  19. Alethea says:

    This reminds me of one of my favourite salads at a local coffee shop. Except they add roasted chickpeas and sundried tomatoes which makes it ohhh so good!

  20. I love orzo, so I must have this salad. Orzo is also great with mushrooms!

  21. MindyD says:

    P.S. Love the new site, layout, look/feel, etc. Thanks for keeping the dedication to sharing your budget-friendly recipes, as well as keeping them organized for future reference/accessibility! I know it’s not always easy (or fun), but thank you!

  22. MindyD says:

    Yes! This salad/side looks really nice and approachable. I’m thinking of trying it with quinoa, too. Thanks!

  23. I love this salad! What an unique idea. Thanks for posting!

  24. Mmm this sounds so good! Love this idea!

  25. Robyn says:

    Yum! I love your web site! I have the maple dijon chicken thighs in the oven as I write this. I’m making sauteed spinach as my side dish this time, but next time I will make this salad for sure! Looks delicious!

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