Orzo and Black Bean Salad - Presto Pasta Nights

This week, I have the pleasure of hosting Presto Pasta Nights, a weekly event started by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. It's a fantastic opportunity to share in our collective love of pasta, and one I hope you all will participate in. To participate, post a recipe in your blog, with a link back to Presto Pasta Nights, and one to me as well. Then email the link for your post to me at bahpeanut AT gmail DOT com and to Ruth at Ruth AT 4EveryKitchen DOT com. In your email, please also include as an attachment the photo of your dish so I can include it in the round-up, which will be posted on Friday.

For my submission, I've made you an orzo and black bean salad. I used a homemade aioli as the dressing, thinned down a bit with some extra lemon juice to brighten it up just that much more. It's starting to get warm here in Texas as we prepare for yet another brutal summer, so salads are especially on my mind right now. I hope you all enjoy!

1 pound orzo, cooked to package directions
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped palm hearts
1 carrot, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green apple, cored and chopped (you can peel it if you like, but I like to leave the peel on)
salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe dressing (less if you prefer a drier salad)


1 egg yolk
1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (this gives a strong mustard flavour, so if you'd like it weaker, use less)
2 teaspoons each: lemon juice, white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic juice, or  clove garlic smashed into paste
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup each: chopped cilantro, chopped Thai basil
extra lemon juice to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)

Whisk together the egg, mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, garlic and salt until well combined. A few drops at a time, whisking constantly, add the oil until you've gotten a third to half of it in. Then whisk in the remainder of the oil in a thin stream, also whisking constantly. Whisk a few more minutes until it starts to thicken. The mayonnaise will still seem very thin compared to grocery store mayonnaise. Let sit 5 minutes, then whisk in the herbs and chill. Once chilled, whisk in more lemon juice to 1/3 of the mayonnaise.

Combine the orzo, beans, carrot, bell pepper, palm hearts and apple. Add the third of the mayonnaise that has been thinned with lemon juice and stir well to combine. If you want the salad wetter, add more mayonnaise in 1-2 tablespoon increments until it has the desired level of wetness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 for a meal.


  1. What a great dish to serve as this week's Presto Pasta Night Host. It sounds delicious and... I'll be whipping some up - not because it's hot here, but because I want it to be! We're still having temperatures hovering around freezing.

    Thanks again for hosting this week's roundup I can't wait to see what everyone brings to the table.

  2. Great dish! I am loving it! I live in houston too so it is great to find another food lover and houstonian! Have a blessed day!

  3. Ruth,

    Thanks for letting me host this week! I've been having an absolutely fantastic time updating the round-up each night!

    Thanks, Jessica! It's good to know of more local food loving people!


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