This Orzo Pasta Salad recipe is so fresh and delicious! It’s made with orzo pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, arugula, and a zesty Lemon Basil Dressing that makes the flavors pop! 

This Orzo Salad is tossed with a lemon basil dressing, with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula. A healthy, vegan, pasta salad that can be made ahead for midweek lunches or potlucks. Keep it vegan or add feta! 

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbel

Besides our Thai Noodle Salad, this Orzo Pasta Salad was probably our most requested salad back when we had our catering business. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of gallons of Orzo Salad we’ve made through the years! Countless folks have requested the recipe, and well, this is for you!

During the warmer months, I love having a make-ahead salad ready to pull out of the fridge. Somehow it brings me so much satisfaction! This Orzo Salad is light and refreshing, bursting with summertime goodness. It’s tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, arugula, and the tastiest Lemon Basil Dressing—bright, clean flavors make this salad one of my favorites! It’s the perfect salad for midweek lunches or as a dinner side dish alongside grilled chicken or veggie burgers!

What You’ll Love About This Orzo Salad!

  1. It’s fast! Orzo cooks quickly- and you can prep the veggies while it cooks.
  2. Vegan-adaptable: See all the variations below!
  3. Great for Mealprep! It can be made ahead and lasts up to 4 days in the fridge.
  4. Popular! It’s the perfect dish to bring to a potluck because it goes with everything and it is always the first to disappear! Always a telltale sign. 🙂
This Orzo Salad is tossed with a lemon basil dressing, with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula. A healthy, vegan, pasta salad that can be made ahead for midweek lunches or potlucks. Keep it vegan or add feta! 

Orzo Pasta Salad Instructions

Cook the orzo. Cook it in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Make the dressing. While the orzo is cooking, blend the lemon basil dressing together in a food processor. What gives the dressing the extra lemony kick is lemon zest from one whole lemon!

Prep any veggies you wish to add. Slice cucumbers and cut cherry tomatoes in half.

toss the orzo.

Toss the Orzo salad! Toss the cooked and cooled orzo together with the dressing and add cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

TIP: I’ll often add a handful of arugula for color and a peppery bite. If making this ahead, wait until serving to add the arugula, so it’s fresh.

Orzo Salad Variations!

Store Orzo Salad up to 4 days in the fridge.

Orzo Salad Serving Suggestions

Serve orzo salad on it’s own as a make-ahead lunch, or bring it to summering gatherings, potlucks, and picnics! Pair it with:

Lemon Basil Orzo Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula. A healthy, vegan pasta salad that can be made ahead for midweek lunches or potlucks. Keep it vegan or add feta! #orzo #orzosalad #orzopasta #pastasalad #vegan #orzorecipes

Chef’s Tips

  • If making this ahead, remember that pasta soaks up the salt- always taste it right before serving! I find pasta salads will need more salt and acid ( in this case, lemon) after they sit a while. 🙂 Add the veggies right before serving to keep them fresh and crisp.
  • Don’t overcook the orzo! Orzo tends to cook quickly, so watch it carefully and cook to al dente; that way it will soak up some of the flavorful dressing.
  • Salt the pasta water for the best flavor!
Lemon Basil Orzo Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula. A healthy, vegan pasta salad that can be made ahead for midweek lunches or potlucks. Keep it vegan or add feta! #orzo #orzosalad #orzopasta #pastasalad #vegan #orzorecipes

More Orzo Recipes To love!

Enjoy…

Enjoy the Orzo salad, and please let us know what you think of it in the comments below. ❤️

xoxo

Sylvia

Print
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This Orzo Salad is tossed with a lemon basil dressing, with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula. A healthy, vegan, pasta salad that can be made ahead for midweek lunches or potlucks. Keep it vegan or add feta! 

Orzo Pasta Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 19 reviews

Description

This Orzo Salad is tossed with a lemon basil dressing, with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula. A healthy, vegan, pasta salad that can be made ahead for midweek lunches or potlucks. Keep it vegan or add feta!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 Turkish cucumbers, sliced (about 2 cups) or use English cucumbers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful of baby arugula (optional or sub baby spinach)

Lemon Basil Dressing

  • 1 cup basil ( packed down tight, about 2 ounces)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • zest from one medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

Optional additions: cheese (goat, feta, shaved pecorino or parmesan), seeds, nuts, avocado, microgreens, or chickpeas


Instructions

  1. Cook orzo in generously salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water until cooled.
  2. Place basil, garlic, and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse repeatedly until uniformly chopped. Add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pulse a couple more times until combined, but not smooth.
  3. Place cooled orzo into a bowl and toss with the flavorful basil lemon sauce. Add any additions like; cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, snap peas, goat cheese, avocado, nuts, seeds, arugula, etc.
  4. Orzo will soak up much of the salt after it sits, so make sure to taste for salt right before serving. I’ll usually add another ¼ teaspoon. Adjust the lemon, adding more to taste. If the salad tastes overly bitter ( it might be the olive oil) try adding a tiny bit of sugar- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes

If you plan to add a lot of veggies or beans to the orzo (like, more than a cup or two) double or 1 ½ times the lemon basil dressing so your final dish still has plenty of flavor and vibrant color.

Orzo Salad will keep 4 days in the fridge

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups ( without feta)
  • Calories: 233
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 293.1 mg
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.6 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 4.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. We love this recipe for entertaining! It’s easy to make a day in advance and it’s full of colour and flavours. A great dish to bring to a party. If serving with goats cheese or avocado, keep those aside and add just when you’re serving the orzo on each plate so it’s doesn’t get messy.






  2. This is a great summer salad, we added uncooked asparagus tips, cucumber, pine nuts, mini colourful tomatoes and micro greens. It keeps beautifully fresh for up to 4 days!






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