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Southwest Orzo and Bean Salad

Yield Makes 4 main-dish servings
Sunset reader Polly Parkinson models this recipe after a rice salad she enjoyed at a cafe, but she prefers using rice-shaped pasta. Her brother recommends the salad as an appetizer, scooped onto corn tortilla chips.


  • 2/3 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh-cut, thawed frozen, or drained canned
  • 1 firm-ripe tomato (1/2 lb.), rinsed, cored, and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions or chives
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 ripe avocado (10 oz.), peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • Corn tortilla chips (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 335
  • caloriesfromfat 27 %
  • protein 12 g
  • fat 9.9 g
  • satfat 1.5 g
  • carbohydrate 54 g
  • fiber 7.4 g
  • sodium 210 mg
  • cholesterol 1.5 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, bring 1 1/2 to 2 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until barely tender to bite, 9 to 11 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  2. In a large bowl, mix pasta, beans, corn, tomato, cilantro, onions, lime peel, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt to taste.

  3. In a small bowl, mash avocado with 1 tablespoon lime juice and sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Equally mound pasta salad on dinner plates. Top with dollops of the avocado mixture. Surround or accompany with tortilla chips.