Light and Refreshing Sesame Orzo Salad

Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 8 hrs

This is something that I came up with to take to a cookout today. Grilled salmon and steak were served, and this went very well with it and was well-liked. This has a very delicate and subtle flavor (it was described by one person as "light and refreshing," which is where the name comes from). I wanted something with an Asian feel but I didn't want to make an Oriental coleslaw - I love those, but I just wasn't in the mood for anything that sweet or vinegar-y. The bulk of the flavor comes from the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds, so I don't think those two ingredients should be substituted. This salad can be served at any temperature, but I do strongly recommend refrigerating overnight since it takes time for the flavor to fully develop. I liked the light taste and "dryness" of the dressing, but feel free to make up more dressing if your tastes are different than mine. This would also be good with rice in place of the orzo. This filled up a 2.5 quart serving bowl. Cook time is refrigerator time.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cook orzo pasta in boiling water for about 4 minutes.
  2. Rinse with cold water and drain.
  3. Place in a large bowl.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup with a spout, mix the dressing ingredients together.
  5. Slice the water chestnuts if they weren't presliced, and then cut the slices into quarters to make small pieces.
  6. Add these to the bowl with the pasta.
  7. Add the broccoli, onions, bell pepper, peas, carrots, and sprouts to the bowl, and mix gently but thoroughly.
  8. Add the dressing and mix again.
  9. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  10. Before serving, stir the salad up to remix it, and sprinkle sunflower kernals on top.
  11. Thinly slice the orange and then cut the slices in half.
  12. Stand these up around the edge of the bowl as a garnish.
  13. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Most Helpful

Very tasty! I prepared the orzo salad for a derby party. The recipe made a lot of salad. I doubled the dressing and used all of it.

sexymommalucas May 09, 2008

my family loved this salad. i doubled the dressing and used all of it and found it to be just right. i made the salad 1 day in advance so as it sat in the fridge, it soaked up alot of the dressing. i added the sunflower seeds and the bean sprouts just before serving so they would still be crisp, and served it with teriyaki, cedar plank salmon that i broiled in the oven. YUM!!! i will definately make this again! thank-you for an original and tastey recipe!

erinn in tbay September 18, 2004