This vegan veggie packed orzo pasta salad with creamy avocado dressing is a summer must!
We all need a good pasta salad to enjoy in the warmer months and this orzo one has it all.
With crunchy cucumber, kale, peas, chickpeas and orzo tossed in a cashew, yoghurt, avocado and basil dressing. It’s packed with flavour and texture which are key to a winning salad!
Whether you’re making it for work lunches or a summer bbq with friends it’s a crowd pleaser that’s nutritious and filling!
What you’ll need for the base of this orzo pasta salad:
- Orzo (or other pasta shape)
- Red onion
Any of these ingredients can be switched up or subbed for what you have on hand. Spinach, celery, white beans it’s really your choice.
The dressing is what makes this salad come to life. It’s creamy, zesty and herby!
What you’ll need for the creamy avocado salad dressing:
- Vegan greek yoghurt (you can sub for vegan Mayo)
- Nutritional yeast
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
It’s kinda like a green pesto but lighter and creamier. The cashews and yogurt make for a super creamy but not too rich base.
I’ve not tried it but subbing for yoghurt for vegan mayo would be super delicious too! I use Oatly greek style yoghurt. If you are using a runnier yoghurt you probably won’t need to add any water to loosen.
The nutritional yeast adds cheesiness and the garlic basil and lemon add a pesto dimension and punch of flavour!
How to make orzo pasta salad:
Start by cooking the orzo in salted boiling water according to packet instructions. Once cooked drain and set aside. You can run it under cold water to cool it down.
Finely chop the cucumber and red onion. Shred/roughly chop the kale then massage in a little oil until softened. Defrost the peas if using frozen (popping in a cup of boiled water for a few minutes does the job). Drain the chickpeas.
Cube 1.5 avocados and toss in some lemon juice so it doesn’t brown. Place everything in a large salad bowl with the rocket and cooked orzo.
Make the dressing by placing all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. You can add extra water to thin if needed. It should be thick but pourable.
Pour over the salad and toss until everything is coated! If you are making ahead of time I would save 1/2 dressing and mix with 2 tbsp water and add before serving.
It shouldn’t dry up as it’s quite a saucy pasta salad but bring it to room temperature for best results.
For more salad recipes you may enjoy these:
Pesto potato salad
Shredded brussels sprouts and bacon salad
Sun dried tomato pasta salad
Roasted sweet potato, quinoa and feta salad
- 250g/9oz orzo
- 1 red onion
- 1/2 cucumber
- 2 cups shredded kale
- 1 cup peas
- 1.5 avocados
- 1 tin chickpeas, drained
- Handful rocket/arugula
- 65g/ 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 cup vegan greek yoghurt
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 6 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 handful/ 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 1/4-1/2 cup vegan milk or water to thin
- Cook the orzo in salted boiling water according to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and leave to cool. Run under cold water to cool down quicker.
- Finely chop onion and cucumber. Massage kale with a bit of olive oil until softened. If using frozen peas place in a mug with boiled water for a few minutes then drain. Cube avocado then toss in some lemon juice so it doesn’t brown.
- Add the orzo, onion, cucumber, kale, peas, chickpeas, rocket and avocado to a large salad bowl.
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a high speed blender and blitz until smooth. Add milk/water to thin as needed. It should be thick but pourable.
- Pour onto the salad and toss well until all combined. Serve straight away or store in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-4 days. Bring back to room temperature before serving.