Take a seat, Plain Pasta Salad! We’ve got a super fresh and herby concoction in our corner that will rock your world and satisfy your inner pasta spirit. This hearty chickpea orzo salad from the 5-Ingredient Vegan Cooking cookbook is guaranteed to challenge your legume logic and kick other salads’ butts! (Well, maybe not literally...)
All you need is a can of brawny beans, a cup of perky pasta shapes, and a handful of humble herbs. Cook up the basics, mix up your delicious dressing, and let them all miraculously mingle for a few hours.
Are you ready to rummmbbbllle make this robust recipe? Grab your kitchen gloves and let’s get cookin’!
Is It Okay to Eat Chickpeas Every Day?
To this question, we say—yay, never nay! It’s not only okay to eat these lovely legumes every day, but it’s recommended by most, if not all, plant-based doctors and nutritionists. And here’s why cheerful chickpeas are so beneficial to your daily diet:
High in Fiber – Beans are chock full of healthy fiber. They help with your digestion, elimination, and help to boost the prebiotic bacteria in your gut. There are over 12 grams of fiber in a single cup of chickpeas.
Protein Powerhouses – These little legumes have at least 14 grams of plant-based protein in just one cup! All without cholesterol, salt, chemicals and hormones that you would get if you ate an animal-based protein.
Never Without Nutrients – Also known as garbanzo beans, these buttery beans are high in folate, iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. You’d be silly not to eat at least a cupful every day.
How to Serve Up Your Chickpea Orzo Salad
The best thing about this type of pasta salad is that you can serve it in so many ways and it tastes great both warm and cold. A great recipe for on-the-go travel, a quick lunch, or bringing to potluck with friends and family. Here are a few suggestions for making this salad even more fun:
Don’t Curb Those Herbs – If anything, feel free to add as many fresh herbs as you like to the recipe. While the dill and parsley are noted as optional, our taste testers loved the tasty trio all thrown in together. Experiment with thyme, oregano, sage, and marjoram, too.
No Rest for Lemon Zest – For all of you lemon lovers out there, you may want to up your lemon level by adding an additional tablespoon of lemon juice. A sprinkling of extra zest can also bring out the very best in this recipe. If you’re totally out of lemons, a little bit of lime would work this time.
Put Up Your Dukes, Cukes! – When cucumbers are not high on your list of veggie loves, you can also substitute other items instead. How about savory sun-dried tomatoes, pungent garlic from your garden, or silky black Kalamata olives? A sprinkle of nutritional yeast might also tame your inner hunger beast.
This herby chickpea and orzo salad is perfectly scrumptious for summer yet amazing any time of year. The crunch from the cucumbers and chopped red onion add a nice touch of texture while adding a nice layer of flavor. Don't be shy when it comes to the herbs, either!
114-ounce canchickpeas, drained and rinsed (see Recipe Notes), (397 grams)
1cupdry orzo pasta, (170 grams)
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil, (60 ml)
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice, (15 mi)
½red onion, finely chopped
1English cucumber, diced (see Recipe Notes)
¼cupfresh basil, washed and torn, 6 grams
Fresh parsley and/or dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon zest, to taste
Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
Once water is boiling, add in the orzo and cook for about 14 minutes.
Drain the cooked orzo and rinse with cold water.
Chill in the refrigerator until ready for use.
Prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil and lemon juice.
Assemble the salad by combining the orzo pasta, chickpeas, red onion, cucumber and lemon dressing.
Top with the basil and any other fresh herbs, if desired. Add the salt, pepper and lemon zest, to taste.
While you can use chickpeas directly from a can, I like to take the extra step of simmering them first as it makes them more tender. If you’re food prepping this salad, make the chickpeas and orzo pasta in advance. That way they’ll have time to cool before you put it all together. This recipe calls for an English cucumber. An English cucumber is a longer, slimmer version of the popular slicing cucumber. It’s typically wrapped in plastic which eliminates the need for wax on the skin. The seeds are underdeveloped, making them less bitter than their counterparts. If you can’t find an English cucumber, you can substitute a slicing cucumber. I recommend removing the skin before dicing it.
You can easily store any leftover chickpea orzo salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to four days. This salad tastes even better once it has time to marinate, so it’s the perfect recipe to make one day ahead. It tastes amazing either warmed up or right out of the fridge.
You can also freeze any remaining salad after 3-4 days if you want to save it for another meal. Just make sure that it’s sealed well in a freezer-safe container. It should keep for up to three months frozen. Reheating is easy––simply take out the night before and let defrost in the fridge and heat in a skillet over medium until desired temperature. You can also microwave your chickpea salad for a minute or two, or to your liking.
If you feel that your salad has gotten a little dry (either after a day or so in the refrigerator or after defrosting from the freezer), you can always add some extra dressing and freshly cut cucumber and red onion.
About the Author
Kate Friedman is the writer, cook, and blogger behind Herbivore’s Kitchen. She is an outdoor enthusiast, avid reader, entrepreneur, and has worked with brands like Lotus Foods and Maya Kaimal. She has also been featured in Thrive magazine. Kate lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with her husband, children, and Australian Shepard, Tig.
Special thanks to Taylor Gillespie and Aston Martin for helping us perfect this Chickpea Orzo Salad recipe!
This Herby Chickpea and Orzo recipe was reprinted with permission from the 5-Ingredient Vegan Cooking cookbook by Kate Friedman (Page Street Publishing Co., 2021). Photography by Kate Friedman. Article written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which helps support our work at World of Vegan.
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