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Three bean and orzo salad recipe

Three bean and orzo salad recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Bean salad

This Mexican inspired pasta salad, is packed full of protein. It's perfect for a summer barbecue.

49 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 450g orzo pasta
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (400g) tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (400g) tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (400g) tin black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 (340g) tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 45g chopped coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 5 limes, juiced
  • 6 tablespoons rapeseed oil

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:10min ›Extra time:2hr chilling › Ready in:2hr35min

  1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo and return to the boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Place the drained orzo in a large salad bowl and fold in the red pepper, yellow pepper, spring onions, red onion, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, sweetcorn, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the lime juice and oil over the salad, toss to coat and refrigerate at least 2 hours to chill before serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(54)

Reviews in English (46)

by Emily Tisdale

Have to admit I subbed seeded jalapenos for the bell peppers...but this has to be one of the most refreshing salads ever. It has a very clean and bright flavor...and since I used olive oil instead of canola...has to be healthy as well. The perfect summer side dish!-24 May 2009

by Tim Brennan

I loved this. It's simple, tasty, refreshing. It's been great to have this in the refrigerator as a snack during the day or as a side for dinner. It's turned out to be pretty filling too. My wife was very impressed with me, so that was a nice bonus.-12 Apr 2011

by Nurse Ellen so not a

Loved this! Only used 2 cans black beans and added a can of Mexicorn. Also didn't have bell peppers so added a can of diced jalapenos. I love cumin and chili powder so I used about a 1/2 tsp of each. Delicious!-08 Feb 2010

Summer Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

Eating the rainbow just got easier with this DELICIOUS Summer Orzo Salad! It’s perfect as a sharable side dish for your next backyard party or as a tasty pasta salad to serve with lunch or dinner.

This healthy Summer Orzo Salad is a party on a plate!

You can use any veggie you’d like here and the mix-in options are deliciously endless.

For this Summery spin on orzo pasta salad, I went with a medley of chickpeas, feta, tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onion.

Other tasty options include olives, pickled banana peppers, white or green onion, sweet corn, cucumber, kale, and spinach. Mix and match your favorite veggies to make an orzo salad that’s deliciously custom and crave-worthy!

Recipe Summary

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a 4 quart saucepan, combine water and pasta. Cook over medium high heat until mixture comes to a full boil, 4 to 6 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in frozen vegetables, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain.

Stir in beans, butter or margarine, tarragon, and thyme. Continue cooking until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

How to make this three bean salad recipe

Our spin on Grandma’s three bean salad is just as easy to make as the 1950’s style classic. That means the main steps are “dump and stir:” open the bean cans and stir everything together! At the same time, we wanted to freshen up the classic by cutting back on the sugar and adding a little freshness. Here are the elements we added to this three bean salad to make a modern spin:

  • Kidney beans and pinto beans: Why no chickpeas? They can have a tough texture and don’t soak up the marinade as quickly. We prefer pinto beans in a bean salad.
  • Green and yellow beans: Use just green beans for a classic three bean salad. But we like the color contrast of adding yellow wax beans to the mix.
  • White onion and red onion: White onion is standard and has the most classic flavor. Red onion adds brightness with the lovely purple! It’s optional but makes a nice visual statement.
  • Curly parsley: The green confetti adds a fresh flavor and visual flair. Use curly parsley if you have it, but Italian also works.
  • White vinegar and olive oil: The salad where it’s appropriate to use white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar? Bean salad. (And German cucumber salad, of course.) It adds just the right astringent punch, balanced by the salt and sugar.
  • Dill and garlic powder: These spices aren’t standard, but they amp the flavors just enough.

How to Make It

In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, bring 1 1/2 to 2 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until barely tender to bite, 9 to 11 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, mix pasta, beans, corn, tomato, cilantro, onions, lime peel, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt to taste.

In a small bowl, mash avocado with 1 tablespoon lime juice and sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Equally mound pasta salad on dinner plates. Top with dollops of the avocado mixture. Surround or accompany with tortilla chips.

Preparing the Easy Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

OIL: Canola oil or vegetable oil can be used because they are generally flavorless. However, if you use olive oil, it will thicken slightly in the refrigerator. I do find that the olive oil will add to the taste of the vinaigrette, so you might want to do a taste test to see which why you prefer your oil.

Vinegar. White vinegar gives this salad a delicious and bold flavor. However, if you do not have it on hand, you can substitute this with cider vinegar, red or white wine vinegar. Our favorite to use though is rice vinegar. It gives just enough tang for us.

Sugar. Granulated sugar we use most of the time for this recipe. However, you can use an equal amount of honey. Just be sure to incorporate it well.

Seasonings. Just a bit of salt and pepper. Another option is to add a teaspoon of celery seed. It gives a nice flavor pop once in awhile when you bite into one.

Herbs. Today, I used dried parsley. However, fresh dill or cilantro would work well too.

What to do if Your Onion Flavor is Too Strong?

If your onion flavor is too strong, rinse and drain them in a colander before adding to the salad. This will make them a bit milder.

Fresh Herbs Versus Dried Herbs

This recipe uses dried parsley. However, if you happen to have fresh parsley on hand, go ahead and use that. The ratio of dried to fresh herbs is two to one. In other words, use half the amount for dried herbs as you would for fresh herbs.

Can I Use Fresh Green Beans?

Yes. Just blanch them first so they are tender. Then add them to the recipe.

Do I have to cook canned beans?

No. They are already cooked and all you need to do is drain them, rinse them, and add them to this salad.

Quick and Easy Salad Side Dish


200g (7oz) dried orzo
200g (7oz) frozen baby broad beans, defrosted and outer skin removed
200g (7oz) frozen petits pois, defrosted
A knob of butter
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche
1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve:
25g (1oz) pine nuts, toasted (see tip)
25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated


11 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Yum, this is one I would like to try. Thanks for sharing it.

Stephanie Marshall

11 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Thank you Phillipo! Robie, I love Orzo too. This salad is fresh and tasty. frequently on our table during summertime. :)

Roberta Kyle

11 years ago from Central New Jersey

Love Orzo-- and this sounds like a fabulous salad

11 years ago from Nigeria

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Orzo Salad with Chickpeas & Cherry Tomatoes

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This salad became a fast favorite when I dug into the first batch a couple of years ago, and it remains a fave – especially this time of year when tomatoes are in season, sweet onions are plentiful, and the garden overflows with basil and mint.

Protein-rich chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and hearty orzo pasta provide the basis for this delicious meal-in-a-bowl. Sprinkle in fresh halved cherry tomatoes, sweet onion, chopped mint and basil, then dress with a lemon vinaigrette and you’ve got a simple – and simply winning – salad.

(Wow. The word “winning” just really doesn’t work anymore, does it? Thanks a lot, Charlie!)

This recipe is another from the archives of my previous blog.

It’s frickin’ hot here in Seattle right now. I know that for some, temps into the mid-90s is small potatoes. But for us tender Pacific Northwest folk, 95 is nothing to sneeze at. Especially because most of us around here don’t have air conditioning in our homes (I got two hours of restless sleep last night! Sigh.)

But I’m not complaining! Really! After all, our summers are short-lived (this year in particular, summer didn’t arrive until about a month ago), and our tomatoes and basil are loving it.

It’s just, you know, really hot. Too hot to do much cooking – and so, this weekend, I whipped up this orzo salad for dinner. This salad has been one of our go-to dishes this summer – it’s an easy, totally delicious and refreshing lunch or dinner, perfect for hot summer weather. It’s a terrific way to use up some of the herbs that are probably overflowing in your garden right now – the combo of basil and mint are especially sublime.

Recipe: Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad is easy and can be made with almost any combination of canned beans in your pantry.

Kats Barry /United Features Syndicate

This simple salad only takes minutes to prepare and delivers a bright tangy side dish to the table.

1 (15-ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce can) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce can) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 medium red onion, finely diced

1 cup bell peppers, chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: In a large bowl, add all three types of beans, the onion and parsley.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. (Taste and if it seems too acidic and bitter, add a squeeze of honey.) Whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over the beans and gently stir to combine.

You can serve this right away, but it&rsquos best after marinating in the refrigerator for at least a few hours so the flavors can meld. This salad is just as good without the celery and bell pepper if you don&rsquot have them on hand.