Whole Story

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Make It Natural: Orzo Salad with Broccoli and Tomatoes

Cookout season is just around the corner, and nothing accompanies a juicy burger, grilled chicken or classic hot dog better than a pasta salad. Traditional pasta and potato salads are often made with a mayonnaise base that is high in calories and fat. As tasty as these side dishes are, there are some healthier options out there that taste just as delicious! Sue, one of our Whole Story readers, sent us an idea for an orzo salad recipe makeover just in time for the season. This salad uses an oil-and-lemon dressing for a lighter profile. We boosted the nutrition in this already healthy recipe by adding plenty of vegetables for their nutritional attributes as well as eye-catching appeal.

Check out the recipe we developed for Orzo Salad with Broccoli and Tomatoes.

(Click through on the link above for the full recipe, including comments and ratings!)
  • Tripling the broccoli adds calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate and vitamin K. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and like other cruciferous vegetables, is an excellent nutrient-rich addition to any salad.
  • Grape tomatoes add potassium, vitamin A, fiber and vitamin C , not to mention flavor and bright color.
  • Even green onions are good for you! They contribute potassium and vitamins.
  • Olives, pine nuts and feta add tons of flavor to complement the veggies and mild orzo pasta.
This side dish is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making it a great substitute for mayonnaise-based pasta and potato salads. Create your own variation on this salad by mixing up the combination of vegetables. Some nutrient-dense options include radishes, bell peppers of any color, red cabbage, cucumber, spinach or carrots. Choosing a variety of colors is appealing to the eye and helps you get the nutrients you need to be healthy. You’ll be a favorite guest at summer cookouts with this salad in your repertoire. Enjoy! Send us Your Recipe Request! Do you have a recipe you’d like us to make natural? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we’ll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.

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Debrah Walters says …

locally grown good ole Southern tomatoes

Amy T says …

Hello, I love this recipe and make it for my family, however, I have not made it much recently since we are all trying to be healthy. Lamb Stew Served Over White Rice and Chickpea Greek Salad Lamb Stew: In 2 tablespoons of cooking oil sautee 2 diced garlic cloves and 1/2 large onion until golden brown. Add 1 cup of diced tomatoes add cubed lamb, add 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprica, 1 tablespoon of garlic salt, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, stir and cover leave stove on low heat cooks in approximatley half of an hour Rice: In a deep pan Sautee 1 garlic clove and 1/2 onion in 1-2 tablespoons butter over low heat, add 2 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil, when water reaches a hard boil, stir in 1 cup of rice, and immediatley cover with lid and reduce heat to low. cooks in approximatley 20 minutes, rice is ready when all water has evaporated. do not lift lid and do not stir rice while it is cooking or the rice will not be fluffy. Chickpea Greek Salad 1 can of chickpeas 1/2 cup black canned olives Feta Cheese Iceberg Lettuce Any Greek Salad Dressing This salad is very inexpensive, delicious, and easy to make. Simply toss in all of the ingredients except the salad dressing and mix. Then dress it up with a favorite Greek Salad Dressing. Target stores has their own store brand of greek dressing which I find to be the most delicious. Please help me make this recipe more organic and healthier for my family if at all possible. My family and I really appreciate all of your help! Thanks!

Su Gacobbe says …

Tuna salad Blend the following together and let sit for 5 minutes: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 clove garlic minced juice of 1 whole lime squeezed In a separate bowl: MIX 1 can tuna fish (packed in water) 5 radishes chopped 1 small white onion chopped 5 stalks celery chopped Add dressing mixture from above to tuna mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Enjoy.

Denise Violetta says …

TOM'S CREAMY GERMAN POTATO SALAD 5 potatoes, boiled in skin 2 dill pickles, diced 1 carrot, diced 1 onion, diced 3 boiled eggs, diced 200 ml cream (a generous 3/4 cup) 1 tablespoon dijonaise mustard 1 stock cube Can you make this recipe healthier?

Tammy Elrod says …

Pasta Salad 1 lb. Cooked Fusilli or Penne pasta 1 cup Pesto (basil, lemon, pine nuts, olive oil) Sliced grape tomatoes Chopped Spring Onions Chopped Cucumber Fresh Mozzarella (cilegine size and cut in half)

Pamela Fior says …

cous cous salad 1 cup cooked cous cous 3 chopped scallions 1/2 fresh chopped parsley fresh lemon juice to taste 1/4 c. olive oil kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste combine all ingredients. chill. before serving add a little more olive oil to moisten.

Melinda Rollins says …

I developed this recipe quite a while ago. The whole family loved it because of the smoky flavor added by the ham. But now I'm living by myself and am cutting meat out of my diet so I need to adapt it both for vegetarian consumption and for a single person. Lentil Stew 1 meaty ham hock 1 whole chicken 1 lb. lentils 1 onion peeled and cut in eighths Garlic to taste 1-2 celery stalks with leafy part 1-2 potatoes 2-3 carrots 1-2 zucchini squash 1 small cabbage 1 small package frozen soup vegetables Italian herbs to taste salt and pepper Place chicken and ham hock in a large kettle along with celery, garlic and onions; cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the meat is falling off the bone. Prepare carrots and potatoes by peeling and cubing (bite size cubes) Remove ham hock and chicken and add lentils. Remove meat from the ham hock and chicken and return the meat to the kettle. Add carrots and potatoes. Prepare zucchini by cutting off and discarding ends and cutting the rest into bite size chunks; add to the kettle. When the potatoes, carrots and zucchini are nearly done, add the cored and cut up cabbage and the frozen vegetables. Add seasonings. Serve with sourdough rolls or french bread. Serves many with leftovers (which are so much better the next day).

Ashley says …

Hello, Could you please post the recipe for the Spinach Orzo Salad you have at the deli counter, it is so amazing! Unfortunatley I am allergic to pine nuts and have to pick them which can be a pain but its so good I buy it anyways lol. I would love to have the recipe to now much of everything to put in. Thanks in advance!

paig292 says …

@Ashley Glad you like the Spinach Orzo Salad at your store. All of stores have a variety of recipes that they prepare, depending on local favorites and seasonally available ingredients. You'll need to ask your store if they'll share that specific recipe. Thanks.