Caprese orzo salad is a must for summer bbq. Made with grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, cucumbers, and the most delicious basil vinaigrette.
Orzo Pasta Salad
The best part about summertime is definitely the food. It’s fresh, simple, and easy. This caprese orzo salad is the perfect accompaniment to all your summer cookouts.
It’s made with orzo pasta, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, cucumbers, and the most delicious basil vinaigrette. It’s basically your traditional caprese pasta salad but with a twist.
The fresh cucumbers add the crunch and the basil vinaigrette ties all of the ingredients in the most delicious way.
What is Orzo Salad?
Orzo salad is pretty much a type of pasta salad made with orzo. Also known as risoni. It’s a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice.
This caprese orzo salad consists of cooked orzo pasta, a handful of fresh ingredients, and pantry staples. It’s really easy and simple to put together.
- Orzo pasta – you can use enriched white or whole wheat orzo pasta for this salad.
- Tomatoes – I love to get sweet cherry tomatoes at the framer’s market. They taste the best! Grape tomatoes also work.
- Cucumbers – mini cucumbers are small, sweet, and seedless. So I personally love them the best. However, you can also use an English cucumber.
- Mozzarella – I used mini mozzarella balls, also known as “pearls”. They are smaller in size than the traditional ciliegine, which are approximately size of a cherry. If you are using the bigger size mozzarella balls, cut them in half.
- Basil – fresh basil leaves make up the majority of the vinaigrette in this recipe. They add SO much flavor and tie all of the ingredients together.
How to Make Caprese Salad
In only four simple steps, you can have this orzo pasta salad on the table in no time. You’ll need a large salad bowl and a food processor to make this salad.
- Step 1: Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Make sure to salt the pasta water. I usually add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per 1 quart of water. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water. Set it over a colander to drain.
- Step 2: While the pasta is draining, prepare the vinaigrette. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pulse until smooth.
- Step 3: Add pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozzarella to a large salad bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss until combined. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust if needed.
- Step 4: Refrigerate the pasta salad for about 30 minutes or until chilled. For added sweetness, add a drizzle of balsamic glaze just before serving.
How Long Does Orzo Salad Last in the Fridge?
Technically this orzo salad is best served the same day. Just because the cucumbers will lose some of their crunch if the salad sits for too long.
However, if you’re like me and don’t mind that at all then this salad is totally okay the next day. Just make sure to store it in an airtight covered container.
More Cold Pasta Recipes
- Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing – another pasta salad that is a must for cookouts or potlucks
- Greek Yogurt Pesto Chicken Pasta – love this one with added chicken
- Israeli Couscous Salad with Marinated Artichokes – this one is amazing with something lighter, such as a fish recipe
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad – you will love this healthier caesar pasta salad with whole wheat noodles and almonds instead of croutons.
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Caprese orzo salad is a must for summer bbq! Made with grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, cucumbers, and the most delicious basil vinaigrette. It’s fresh, light, and incredibly flavorful.
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 mini cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 8 oz. mini mozzarella balls
- Balsamic glaze, optional
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 2 green onions, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
- Cook orzo pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Leave in colander to drain.
- Make the vinaigrette by adding all of the ingredients into a bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- To a large salad bowl, add the drained pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozzarella. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate the salad for about 30 minutes or until chilled. Optional, drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving.
- You can use whole wheat orzo pasta for a more nutrient dense salad.
- I used mini mozzarella balls, also known as “pearls”. If you can’t find them, use ciliegine. They’re slightly bigger in size but still work. You can cut them in half.
Keywords: summer, easy, fresh, pasta