Homemade Orzo Pasta Salad

When you talk to non-couponers about using coupons, often times you hear something like this:

“I don’t use coupons because I never buy any of the things coupons are for.”

And while there are a lot of foods that I choose NOT to buy with coupons, there are a fair share of staple items in my pantry that I have used coupons for. Things like pasta, cooking soups, canned veggies and fruits, cereals, and pasta sauce. Coupons are just one of my weapons for beating a tiny grocery budget. The others are things like baking from scratch and growing a garden. So, when my friend Amy (who strives to live frugally and knows I am a blogger) asked me this on facebook:Well, you see my response above. Eating healthy meals on a budget is possible…and I wanted to show you a recipe for a great summer pasta salad that didn’t break my budget.

Orzo Pasta Salad

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta (I got this box for less than $.50 on a coupon deal a few months back).
  • 2/3 cup Italian dressing (Free from Albies with coupons a while back)
  • 1/2 cup diced sugar snap peas (fresh from my garden)
  • 1/2 cup diced spinach (fresh from my garden)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced or cubed ham (I got a half pound package of ham from the Grocery Outlet for $.77!)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (you could use any kind of cheese you want…this particular cheese is chedder chive from a local cheese farm called Cada Dia here in central Oregon, and because Cher, my farmer friend is indeed a friend, she brought me over some bits and pieces that didn’t make it into packages. Oh how I love connections…)

Step 1: Prepare the orzo pasta

My box said that the pasta was done after 9 minutes, so I cooked it for 7-8 minutes so it was a little firm. Just how I like it. Once cooked, I drained and rinsed until it was cold. Just a sidenote: Because orzo is small, it’s best to have a screen-type colander, otherwise the pasta falls right through the holes. Plan ahead, like I didn’t. Grr.

Step 2: Prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Chop up your veggies, meat and cheese into small, bite sized pieces. And I have to say…if you don’t have spinach but have kale instead, or if you like onions instead of carrots, by all means, throw whatever you want in the salad.

Step 3: Mix it all up!

Toss the pasta in with the veggies, cheese and meat until it’s evenly mixed. Then add 2/3 cup of Italian salad dressing (homemade or store bought) and mix it well.

Add a garnish and a spoon, and it’s all ready to be a complete  meal for your family’s dinner or your neighborhood barbecue. Living frugally and cooking good meals for your family isn’t impossible, right friends? We just need to get creative and use what we have. And for me, that includes using coupons, growing a garden, and smart shopping at the right stores.

Meal Type: Salads

Comments & Reviews

  • Kori

    I’d like to give you a loud “Amen!” Living frugally doesn’t relegate you to a life of high-fructose, overly-colored, low-fiber foods. I appreciate you sharing this recipe…and thank you for all the new cooking from scratch ideas you all have been posting.

  • DeAnn

    I make salads just like this using any pasta and adding McCormicks Salad Supreme. I make at least once a week and my family loves it. I never thought of using Orzo. I must try this. thanks

  • carmen

    This is a good idea for dinner tonight, I am always looking for something simple to make for dinner especially since a couple of friends and myself bought a 370 pound cow and two pigs weighing in at a total of 290 pounds that we split amoung ourselves. So now I am looking for simple ideas of sides to prepare with it for dinner. This is great thanks for the idea. You rock. 🙂

  • mmmmmmm!

    Orzo is a great pasta to make recipes with Barilla is the only kind of pasta I purchase and they used to have green & black olive pasta sauce, it was terrific, no longer available in the area where we live, but I make my own, just have to buy green olives and capers and some neat Kalamata olives and toss it in..Pasta salads can stretch the budget enormously, just be sure to not over eat them, that will defeat food sense, always have some crunchy bread to nibble on and lots of tea with lemon little sugar or truvia for the sugar and one is good to go all summer long! The protein in the salad can be turkey ham if one is watching the calories, or turkey sausage bought on great sales and frozen, pop out and cut thin, boil in a tiny bit of water in the microwave, we use Tillamook cheddar gotten on a 2 pound loaf for only $1.99 freeze it up after shredding some, slicing some and cubing some.yummmo!!!

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