This easy Orzo Salad captures the best flavors of summer: fresh basil, hint of fresh mint, tomato, and cucumber coated in a light lemony dressing.
This salad is unintentionally vegan and so delicious. Learn how make this summer orzo salad, and get lots of ideas for different ingredients you can add to switch things up.
Orzo salad with veggies and herbs
When warm weather hits, you'll want to make this orzo salad a few times a month. It's perfect for so many summer occasions: a BBQ, a picnic, a day at the beach, or a side dish for burgers or just about anything you want to throw on the grill. This orzo salad is a fun twist on pasta salad.
This salad is loaded with fresh veggies and herbs. In my opinion, you can't overdo the mint and basil in this dish. The fresh peppermint leaves don't make this salad taste like mint, they just give everything a super fresh flavor.
And the fresh lemon vinaigrette in the dressing is just perfection!
Related recipe: Grilled Avocado
For the orzo salad:
- 1 lb uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 English cucumber, diced (or use 1-2 regular cucumbers, or 2-3 Israeli cucumbers)
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
For the lemon vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
In addition to ingredients above, there are many other ingredients you can add to this salad for some crunch or more flavor.
Related recipe: Foiled Grilled Potatoes with Bacon
Ideas for additional orzo salad ingredients
- Toasted pine nuts
- Toasted sunflower seeds
- Slivered almonds
- Feta cheese
- Cubed mozzarella
- Garbanzo beans
- Sliced salami
- Crumbled cooked bacon
- Diced green onion
- Shelled edamame
- Cooked, chilled green beans
It's hard to go wrong with just about any salad ingredient you'd like to add.
Related recipe: Marinated Vegetable Salad
Step 1: Cook orzo in salted water according to package instructions. Remove from heat when al dente, strain, rinse well with cold water to cool the orzo down, and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to prevent sticking. Allow to cool fully before combining with the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2: Add the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, mint, salt, and pepper. Stir well
Step 3: Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients and combine with the orzo salad. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate until serving.
Related recipe: One-Pan Orzo Salmon Dinner
Serving and storing info
I love this salad at room temperature, right after it is made. It can also be chilled and served cold.
This salad is best fresh or enjoyed a few hours the same day, but it will keep until the next day when refrigerated.
If you want to prep it in advance, I recommend adding the salt, pepper, and vinaigrette separately in a small container, and combining it shortly before serving. This way the veggies and herbs won't get mushy and will be nice and crisp while for your family or guests.
This recipe is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for any summer occasion.
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
Summer Orzo Salad
- 1 lb orzo uncooked
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 English cucumber diced
- ½ cup fresh basil chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint chopped
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cook orzo in salted water according to package instructions. Remove from heat when al dente, rinse under water until cool, and strain. Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Add the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, mint, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
- Whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl, and add to the orzo salad. Stir to combine, and serve immediately, or chill before serving.
- Other add-in ideas: diced onion or scallion, toasted pine nuts, toasted slivered almonds, toasted sunflower seeds, crumbled feta cheese, cubed mozzarella, fresh corn, chickpeas, sliced salami, crumbled cooked bacon, shelled edamame, green beans (cooked, chilled, and chopped).
- If you can't find English cucumbers, you can use 1-2 regular cucumbers, or 2-3 Israeli cucumbers.
- This salad can be served room temperature or chilled.
- This salad is best served fresh or the same day. It does keep well in the fridge for 1-2 days. But if you want to prepare it in advance, combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl, and the vinaigrette ingredients in another bowl and refrigerate separately. Combine the dressing with the salad before serving.