Make this Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad as the perfect side dish for your summer cookout BBQ! This small pasts is mixed with corn, onion, avocado, and tomatoes in a light vinaigrette sauce for a perfect pasta grilling side.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad is a delicious and refreshing dish that combines the flavors of Mexican cuisine with the small, rice-shaped pasta called orzo.
It’s a great side dish or light meal for warm days or any time you want a zesty and colorful addition to your table.
This pasta salad recipe is one of my absolute favorites to make for how fresh and light it tastes.
I have become obsessed with this recipe because of the wide variety of summer flavors from the vegetables to the vinaigrette sauce and the small orzo pasta shape makes it easy to eat.
Whether you are making a Mexican cookout or not, this pasta salad recipe will be perfect and popular with your family and friends!
Orzo Pasta – I have tried other small pasta shapes and it is just not the same! So I strongly recommend orzo. But you can use other small shapes if desired, I just think the flavors are not as strong for whatever reason.
Corn Kernels – Fresh is always best, but the next best is frozen. Canned will also work if needed.
Avocado – Chunks of creamy goodness!
Cherry Tomatoes – Grape is also great, or you can use any tomato on hand and chop it up.
Red Onion – Worried about it being too strong? You can soak the onion in cold water after cutting to remove some of the sharp flavor.
Fresh Cilantro – You can skip if cilantro-adverse, or swap for fresh parsley or green onion to get some freshness.
Chili Powder – It is not spicy, but this will bring great subtle flavor!
Honey – Swap for agave for a vegan pasta salad!
If making in advance, chill the sauce separately from the pasta and veggie mixture. This will prevent the pasta from over-absorbing the sauce, making the pasta mushy and the salad dry., Just mix together within 60 minutes of serving.
No. Orzo is a pasta, but it is shaped like rice.
This pasta salad can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
If you want to use something different than orzo, use something small such as small shells or ditalini.
Orzo is more dense, since it is smaller. You want to assume around 1/4 cup per person if you are serving other sides.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces orzo pasta uncooked
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen is best
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves (or any tomato of choice, chopped small)
- ⅓ cup red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro optional
- 6 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 limes (about 1/4 cup juice)
- 1 Tablespoon honey or agave
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt more to taste as needed
- olive oil
- Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook pasta as per package directions until al dente. Do not overcook.8 ounces orzo pasta
- When pasta is done, drain and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss to combine and place in a sealable container. Chill at least 30 minutes.olive oil
- Make the sauce in a small bowl by whisking together the olive oil, juice of the limes, chili powder, honey, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.6 Tablespoon olive oil, 2 limes, 1 Tablespoon honey, ¾ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Prepare your corn: Thaw frozen corn, or if using fresh, make sure it is cooked and remove from cobs.1 cup corn kernels
- Prepare the tomatoes: Cut smaller tomatoes such as cherry in half. If using large tomatoes, cut into pieces approximately 1/2 inch1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Prepare the onion: Trim and finely chop.⅓ cup red onion
- Prepare the avocado: Remove pit and cut avocado into chunks.1 avocado
- Combine the corn, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and chopped cilantro with the pasta.¼ cup fresh cilantro
- When ready to serve, add the sauce and stir to combine. Season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve cold. (See note below about making in advance).