A cold orzo pasta salad brimming with tender white & garbanzo beans, crunchy vegetables, briny olives, and salty parmesan cheese. All tossed in a zippy red wine vinaigrette. This bean and pasta salad comes together in about 20 minutes for a picnic (or meal prep) ready dish served cold or at room temperature!

big salad bowl with bean and pasta salad with two wooden salad spoons

This pasta and bean salad recipe is a fresh and light meal idea packed with two types of beans for creamy texture and plant-based protein!

I love using orzo pasta for this recipe because when cooked, it basically has the same shape as a bean! It all mixes together so nicely with freshly chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley, and parmesan cheese.

As a Registered Dietitian, I’m happy to say that all types of beans are incredibly healthy and nutrient dense.

Loaded with plant-based protein, fiber, and micronutrients, beans are a welcome addition to any salad you’re making – like my raw cauliflower salad, black bean taco salad, or farro white bean salad.

orzo pasta salad ingredients measured out in small bowls

Ingredients

Here are all the ingredients you need to make this pasta and bean salad:

  • Orzo pasta: I do love an orzo pasta salad! It cooks up quickly and has the perfect bean-like shape to pair with…beans!
  • Garbanzo beans: aka chickpeas, have a mild nutty flavor and creamy texture.
  • White beans: like chickpeas, have a very mild flavor and velvety texture. You can use any type of white bean – I used cannellini beans.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Halved cherry tomatoes are flavorful and juicy.
  • English cucumber: I like English cucumbers for pasta salads because they have minimal seeds.
  • Kalamata olives: These olives have a deep, briny flavor.
  • Parsley: Freshly chopped parsley is zippy and fresh.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated, please!
  • Extra virgin olive oil: I love the nutty, vegetal flavor of extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings.
  • Red wine vinegar: A perfect acidic addition to the Mediterranean-inspired ingredients in this salad.
  • Dried oregano: Adding some peppery dried oregano to your salad dressings takes them to the next level!
  • Dijon mustard: A little Dijon for some heat and to emulsify the dressing.
  • Salt and pepper: to taste.

Step-by-step instructions

1. Chop up the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, and parsley.
1. Chop up the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, and parsley.
whisked together salad dressing in small bowl
2. In a small bowl: whisk together the salad ingredients to make the dressing: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
orzo and bean salad ingredients in a mixing bowl before being tossed together
3. Combine cooked and cooled orzo, beans, the chopped vegetables and parsley, and freshly grated parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
orzo and bean pasta salad mixed together in a large bowl with wooden mixing spoons
4.Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine!

Store this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Serving suggestions

Serve this salad cold or at room temperature. Perfect for meal prep for the week!

Because it has lots of beans, this salad on it’s own is a pretty protein-rich vegetarian meal. But if you want to add more protein, feel free to serve it alongside some baked tofu, salmon, or cod.

green ceramic bowl with orzo and bean pasta salad

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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green ceramic bowl with orzo and bean pasta salad

Easy & Healthy Orzo Pasta and Bean Salad

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6
  • Category: salads
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Save Recipe

Description

A cold orzo pasta salad brimming with tender white & garbanzo beans, crunchy vegetables, briny olives, and salty parmesan cheese. All tossed in a zippy red wine vinaigrette. This bean and pasta salad comes together in about 20 minutes for a picnic (or meal prep) ready dish served cold or at room temperature!


Ingredients

Scale

Orzo pasta and bean salad

  • 8 oz orzo pasta
  • 2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Red wine vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook orzo according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water for about 1 minute, until cooled.
  2. Combine the cooked and cooled orzo in a large mixing bowl with the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, parsley, chickpeas, white beans, and parmesan cheese. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine all the red wine vinaigrette ingredients. Use a small whisk or fork to whisk together until emulsified.
  4. Pour about half the dressing over the salad to start. Toss together with salad spoons, taste, and add more dressing if desired.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Beans nutrition benefits

Beans are among the healthiest foods in the world!

They are packed with nutrients, including dietary fiber, plant-based protein, and minerals.

A half cup of white beans provides 7 grams of fiber (22% of your daily needs) and 10 grams of plant-based protein. Additionally, white beans have lots of vitamins and minerals:

  • 0.18 mg thiamin (15% of your daily needs)
  • 101.7 mg folate (26% of your daily needs)
  • 39.05 mg choline (7% of your daily needs)
  • 2.08 mg iron (12% of your daily needs)
  • 5.4 mcg selenium (10% of your daily needs)
  • 67.5 mg magnesium (16% of your daily needs).

Due to their protein and iron content, beans are a smart choice to eat regularlt if you follow a plant-based diet.