Easy Coleslaw with Orzo Pasta

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If you are looking for a unique coleslaw recipe, my Easy Coleslaw with Orzo Pasta is one you will want to try.

easy coleslaw with orzo pasta 2 shows a bowl of slaw placed in front of the salt and pepper shakers

Easy Coleslaw with Orzo Pasta

I really struggle to find a coleslaw recipe that my husband will like and eat. It is just not his favorite thing in this world. The closest thing he likes to slaw is the one from KFC which is a creamy, sweeter variety that is processed on the finer side. I have tried many recipes over the years, but I have just not found one he really enjoys. But one thing I do know is that he likes pasta. He LOVES pasta. So when I thought about creating a coleslaw that incorporates orzo pasta, I thought that might be the ticket. And he loved it–Yeah!!

This is the BEST easy coleslaw, and here is why:

  • The dressing is mostly a bottled variety, making it very easy.
  • You can use cabbage and vegetables in a food processor as I have done, or you can use a packaged mix.
  • The orzo pasta adds a very unique aspect to the coleslaw, almost making it like a pasta salad.

To make this recipe, you will need:

cabbage (or use a coleslaw mix)

carrots – baby or regular size



bell pepper – I used green, but any color would work

slaw dressing – I like Marzetti’s

orzo pasta  this is about double the size of rice

parmesan cheese – I like a mixture of grated parmesan and romano cheese

salt and pepper

easy coleslaw with orzo pasta 3 shows the ingredients used including cabbage, orzo, celery, carrots, radishes, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, slaw dressing, salt and pepper

How to make Easy Coleslaw with Orzo Pasta:

  1. Cook your orzo according to the package directions. Drain the orzo, and while the pasta is hot, add the grated cheese and mix well. Place in your refrigerator to cool while preparing the slaw.
  2. Cut the carrot, celery, radishes and bell pepper into about one inch pieces. Cut the cabbage into small wedges.
  3. Using a food processor, process the carrot, celery, radishes and bell pepper until the desired consistency is achieved. Spoon this into your mixing bowl.
  4. Process the cabbage in two or three batches until it resembles the consistency you like, adding it to your mixing bowl as you process.
  5. Combine the slaw, orzo, dressing, salt and pepper and mix well.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Right before serving, add the additional 1/4 cup of dressing to the slaw.

easy coleslaw with orzo pasta 4 shows the vegetables in the food processor

Optional add-ins:

  • raisins or cranberries – you could add these to a bit of water for 30 minutes to plump them since these are dried fruits
  • almonds (sliced or slivered) or sesame seeds 
  • red cabbage (this adds great color)
  • vinegar – any variety or lemon juice (just a splash) will add a tangy dimension

The three most important things about this recipe:

  1. Additional dressing is added right before serving this coleslaw because the pasta tends to soak up the dressing.
  2. If you want to make this even easier, buy a coleslaw mix at the store to use.
  3. If you are using a food processor, you have to add the ingredients in several batches and pulse. Then add that to your mixing bowl, and do it again. If you try to add all the ingredients at one time, your ingredients will not chop consistently.

How should I serve this coleslaw, and when should I serve it?

This recipe is best when it is refrigerated before serving to bring the flavors together and let the dressing soften up the cabbage. However, if you are in a hurry, you can serve it immediately.

Serve this dish as you would a salad, as a side dish or as the beginning course. It would be great to take to a barbecue or as an addition to your holiday table. It goes well with fish or any seafood, for that matter.

This dish will keep in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.

easy coleslaw with orzo pasta 5 shows a clear serving bowl of the coleslaw

If you like this recipe, please like and share it–Thanks!

5 from 1 vote
easy coleslaw with orzo pasta 1 shows a white bowl of slaw with a fork
Easy Coleslaw with Orzo Pasta
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Total Time
19 mins

The orzo pasta adds a dimension even the most finicky eater will enjoy

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy recipe, salad, slaw
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 232 kcal
Author: Renea
  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan or parmesan and romano grated cheese
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 radishes
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup slaw dressing (divided)
  • dash vinegar (any variety) or lemon juice
  1. In a medium-size pan, cook the orzo according to your desired doneness. I cooked mine 4 minutes. Drain the orzo with a strainer and return to the pan. Sprinkle on the grated cheese and mix well. Cool this in the refrigerator while preparing the slaw.

  2. Cut the vegetables into 1-inch pieces including the carrot, celery, radishes and bell pepper. Add these to a food processor and pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. Empty this into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Cut the cabbage into several wedges. Separate the leaves of the wedges. Add a few to your food processor and pulse to the desired consistency. Do this 3-4 times until you have processed all of the cabbage. Add to the mixing bowl.

  4. Add the orzo pasta to the slaw. Add 1/2 cup of the slaw dressing. Add the salt and pepper. Optional: Add the vinegar or lemon juice. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Right before serving, add the additional 1/4 cup slaw dressing.

If you made this recipe, please let me know what you thought in the comments, and give it a star rating.–xoxo Renea

After you try this coleslaw recipe, you will understand why I call it a BEST. If you would like to try one of my other slaw recipes, try Easy Broccoli Slaw Salad. You’ll be glad you did. If you would like to know more about orzo, Good Housekeeping has an article you might like: What is Orzo.

Click HERE for more about Inspire a Creation.

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