I love pasta salad and this is one of my favorites. I make this when I'm looking for a healthy lunch or even as a side dish. I like to use orzo because although it looks like rice, it is actually a pasta that has a nice, creamy texture. I added garbanzo beans for extra protein and fiber, but you could use whatever beans you like or leave them out all together if you want to keep it all veggies. And feel free to mix up the veggies and herbs. I have used lots of combinations (usually to use up what is in the fridge), but these happen to be my favorites.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
8 oz. orzo pasta
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 shallot, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
10 basil leaves, chopped
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook until "al dente" according to the package directions. Drain.
In a large bowl, whisk the dijon, red wine vinegar, and olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the garbanzo beans, shallot, red bell pepper, cucumber and tomatoes. Add the orzo and toss until well combined. Add the basil and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.