The Best Gluten Free Orzo Pasta Salad

Gluten free orzo pasta salad recipe - gut and glamourWhen I lived and studied abroad in London a decade ago, I used to consume an entire Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza (a legit medium size, not ‘personal pan pizza’ size, mind you) in one sitting. It was my ultimate hangover cure and the perfect cheap, greasy fuel to get me through a day sitting on the couch and writing my final papers. Though at the time I had no inkling of how eating such a terrible diet day-in and day-out would impact my future health, in hindsight I marvel at my naivete and optimistic thinking. Just because I was not overweight did not mean that I had any business eating the way I did.

Indeed, the first of my serious gut issues began while living in our lovely little cramped flat above Bedford Square. I figured it was food poisoning from something I ate, but the weeks of stomach pain and gut trouble followed by months of eczema and acne were clues to a much deeper issue that had only just begun to manifest itself in my 21 year old body. It took me nearly another ten years to find my way to the diet and lifestyle changes that healed my body, and my journey is still being written as I discover more and more nuances about how my body reacts to certain foods and substances.

Today, I am still struggling to embrace a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle (a far cry from my former cheesy pizza-loving self), and my biggest challenge has been finding recipes that are satisfying, delicious, and still contain no gluten and no dairy. Many recipes I’ve tried have been hit-or-miss, though the biggest misses are usually in the form of pre-made or pre-packaged dairy or gluten free items. It’s as if someone ground up chalk and potato starch, then glued the two together with every possible gum/guar combination and decided to call it gluten free food. The best, most delicious gluten-free foods are naturally gluten free. Well-prepared, seasoned and cooked vegetables, meats and gluten-free grains really CAN be tasty if you have the right recipe. Here is my favorite recipe for gluten-free orzo pasta salad that is chock-full of gut-healing veggies…. and bacon. Because bacon is delicious, and in the quest to heal one’s gut, high quality animal fat is friend, not foe. And of course, because bacon is delicious…. damn delicious.

I love this recipe because it makes enough to feed my family of four for two meals. There’s nothing better than having a delicious leftover meal on hand that only gets better in the fridge – especially when you have a busy young family.

Ingredients (try to use organic whenever possible to keep your gut healthy!):

  • 2 small packets of Delallo gluten free orzo
  • 3-4 large carrots, washed, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 6 – 8 slices of thick, cooked bacon, chopped into bacon-bit size pieces (I like to cook mine on a rack above a baking pan in the oven, so most of the grease burns off and it gets a slight crisp without burning)
  • Sea salt & pepper generously; to taste
  • Garlic powder & chili pepper flakes for additional flavor, if desired (1/8 – 1/4 tsp each)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1.5 TBLs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBLs olive oil


  1. Cook orzo & drain, set aside to cool in a large bowl
  2. Add veggies, spices, herbs, lemon, olive oil & vinegar to the cooled orzo, and toss together.
  3. Garnish with extra cilantro if desired (as in photo) – enjoy!

Welcome to Gut & Glamour

Yelena Johnson gut and glamourWelcome to my little corner of the world, known as Gut and Glamour. I’ve had blogs before, but none that fully encompassed all of my passions in life. Gut and Glamour is my attempt to find a home for all my musings, research and love for all things fashion, design, home, lifestyle, foodie and cooking obsessions and last, but certainly not least, gut health. If we don’t have our health, we have nothing. And embracing the beauty in the world, and in life, is my mantra for enjoying our brief and fabulous time on this earth.

And Who Am I?

My friends call me Yel. I am a wife, and a mother to two rambunctious, insanely smart and wiley little kiddos (Audrey, 4.5, and Dean, 18 months). Most recently I ran a successful event design and planning business for 8 years (shout out to The Stylish Soiree – hollaaaaaa), but I’ve also been a writer, worked in public relations, and dabbled in fashion and the start up world as well. I’m an avid traveler, a die-hard researcher, knowledge and truth seeker, and lover of good design – in the home, in the world, and most definitely in clothing.

I used to live on chocolate chip cookies and pizza (true story: I once spent 3 months perfecting a chocolate chip cookie recipe and gained 7 lbs in the process), but after serious autoimmune and gut issues altered my life I’m now a gluten-free, dairy-free, grass-fed and quinoa-loving foodie on a quest to heal while still enjoying delicious grub.

I believe that life is beautiful, and should be lived accordingly. Living a beautiful life does not equate with perfection; it means embracing all of the flaws and problems and the innate messiness of life while making the best of it, staying positive, and always looking for the silver lining.

I hope I can provide you with a lot of inspiration, a little information on the latest research on topics like gut health and the micro biome, and a bit of humor (because life stories are best served up with a twist of hilarity and a splash of sarcasm).

You can reach me at yel {at} gutandglamour {dot} com