Inspired by Asian flavors, this recipe for vegan orzo pasta salad with sesame ginger dressing tastes great warm or cold. After having time to sit overnight in the fridge, I thought it tasted even better. It uses few ingredients. It works well for a cookout, picnic, road trip cooler, camping trip, simple meal, or lunch. And while it wasn’t the goal, it ended up looking pretty good. Sometimes, in the pursuit of flavor, you end up with an attractive vegan Asian orzo salad recipe.
If you want to take this simple recipe to the next level, add some diced up marinated tofu (prepackaged or homemade) and/or some crunchy chow mein noodles. They add interesting textures, deepen the flavor and make the dish feel heartier.
If you don’t have access to a grill, you can still make this vegan Asian sesame orzo salad recipe. Simply roast the mini sweet peppers and snow peas in the oven. Slide the oven wrack into the lowest slot, and then, place a lined cookie sheet loaded with the dressing-coated veggies in the oven. Roast 400º F for ~7-10 minutes or until they achieve a grill that looks good to you. Always keep an eye on them. The snow peas don’t take long to cook!
If this recipe resonates with you, you may also enjoy Asian Noodle Salad with Almond Sesame Dressing, Ginger Miso Slaw, Sriracha Tofu Salad, Edamame Kale Slaw with Orange Sesame Dressing or Spinach Cannellini Bean Orzo.
Asian Orzo Pasta Salad
1 lb dry orzo pasta
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame seed oil
3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 lb mini sweet peppers
1 cup snow peas
1 tsp maple syrup
2 scallions, diced on a bias
Sesame seeds, to top – optional
1. Add water to a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and boil for 9 minutes (or follow the instructions on the package of orzo). Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
2. Add the garlic cloves, fresh ginger root, garlic powder, olive oil, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp sesame oil and 2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add the mini sweet peppers and snow peas. Pour 1/2 the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.
4. Line a grill-proof pan with non-stick aluminum foil. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer. Grill for ~7 minutes (flipping the peppers 1/2 way through) or until the vegetables are grilled to your liking.
5. Remove from the grill and cool. Remove the stems from the mini sweet peppers. Chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces and add to the same mixing bowl that you coated the vegetables in.
6. Add the rest of the dressing to the bowl with 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, maple syrup, orzo pasta and the scallions. Mix together. Taste and adjust the flavor (more sesame oil? soy sauce? maple syrup?). Top with sesame seeds, if using, and then, serve this vegan Asian orzo pasta salad warm or cold.