Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad

This Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad recipe combines two of my favorite summer dishes: Caprese Salad and Pasta Salad. It's bright and herby with the most delicious balsamic vinaigrette. Prep ahead of the week for easy lunches, or bring it to your next backyard summer BBQ.

A large grey ceramic serving bowl of orzo pasta salad with jammy tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and small mozzarella balls tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette on a pink tile table with a green napkin in the bottom right corner and a stack of two fluted grey ceramic plates in the top right corner.

Why I Love This Recipe

I love pasta salads in the summer for two reasons they can be prepped ahead, and they're an easy dish to serve at a BBQ or cook-out. I like to stick to a vinaigrette based pasta salad recipe rather than a mayo based one as I find it holds up better when sitting out.

This Orzo Pasta Salad also make a great lunch or dinner. Just like my Greek Pasta Salad recipe it's an easy recipe to prep on Sunday and keep stocked in your fridge for the week so you have lunch or dinner handled without any real effort!

There are only a few ingredients to this recipe. Fresh cherry tomatoes and roasted jammy tomatoes are added to the orzo pasta along with mozzarella pearls, basil, and the most incredible balsamic dressing. It's beautiful and flavorful and comes together in a pinch.

Ingredients & Substitutions

mise-en-place with all the ingredients required to make caprese orzo salad.
  • Orzo Pasta - feel free to use your favorite pasta shape in this recipe. Fusilli, cavatappi, farfalle, casarecce, orecchiette or ditalini would all work well.
  • Cherry Tomatoes - grape tomatoes or sun gold tomatoes can be used as a substitute.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Pearls - ciliegine or diced bocconcini mozzarella balls work well too.
  • Herbs - I like to use a combination of fresh basil, parsley, and chives
  • Olive Oil - for the vinaigrette.
  • Balsamic Vinegar - I prefer to use balsamic vinegar but champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar would also work.
  • Garlic Cloves - freshly minced garlic adds another depth of flavor to this Orzo Pasta Salad.
  • Salt and Pepper - goes without saying.

*For a full list of ingredients and instructions please see recipe card below

How to Make Orzo Pasta Salad

Cooked orzo in a strainer in a pot.

Step 1: Start by cooking the orzo until al dente.

Balsamic dressing in a large white mixing bowl

Step 2: Meanwhile make the balsamic dressing at the bottom of a large bowl.

cooked orzo mixed into the balsamic dressing in a large white mixing bowl.

Step 3: And the cooked orzo pasta to the bowl and mix to evenly dress the pasta.

Parchment lined sheet pan with roasted tomatoes topped with herbs.

Step 4: Then roast the halved tomatoes. Remove once they turn jammy, and sprinkle them with flaky salt, pepper, and the herbs.

Large white mixing bowl with orzo topped with lots of fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and basil.

Step 5: Add the roasted and fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and basil leaves to the bowl with pasta.

Large white mixing bowl with caprese orzo salad.

Step 6: And toss until combined.

How to Store Orzo Pasta Salad

You can store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container for 3-5 days. This salad tastes great both warm and cold, so feel free to re-heat or not based on your preference and accompaniments!

How to Freeze Orzo Pasta Salad

Since this salad has fresh tomatoes and basil, I would not recommend freezing it. If you do have to freeze, freeze just the pasta and dressing without the fresh components in an airtight container.

Tips & Tricks

You can serve this Orzo Pasta Salad at room temp, warm, cold, you name it! Feel free to use your favorite pasta shape in this recipe. Fusilli, cavatappi, farfalle, casarecce, orecchiette or ditalini would all work well.

It's great as the main course and also wonderful as a side dish! Serve Orzo Pasta Salad with some chicken, steak or fish for the main.

A tight shot of orzo pasta salad with jammy tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and small mozzarella balls tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

FAQs

How long does homemade pasta salad keep?

Pasta salad will last for up to 3-5 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.

Should I dress my pasta salad the night before?

You can absolutely dress your pasta salad the night before. This will allow for the flavors to develop and come together even more while it sits in the fridge.

Similar Recipes

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today!

A tight shot of orzo pasta salad with jammy tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and small mozzarella balls tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 23 votes
This Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad recipe combines two of my favorite summer dishes: caprese salads and pasta salads. It's bright and herby with the most delicious balsamic vinaigrette. Prep ahead of the week for easy lunches, or bring it to your next backyard summer BBQ.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish, Salad, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes halved and divided
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves torn
  • 2 tablespoons parsley freshly minced
  • 2 tablespoons chives freshly minced

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain the orzo and let it cool slightly.
  • Prep the dressing. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together until well mixed.
  • Transfer the orzo pasta to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to dress.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and transfer 1 pint of the halved tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes. Remove and let cool. Then sprinkle with flaky salt, pepper and the herbs.
  • Add both roasted and raw tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and basil leaves to the pasta bowl and toss until combined. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Notes

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.
  • You can serve this at any temperature, warm or cold!
  • Feel free to use your favorite pasta shape in this recipe. Fusilli, cavatappi, farfalle, casarecce, orecchiette or ditalini would all work well.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 686mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1549IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 256mg | Iron: 3mg
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16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The roasted tomatoes added a lot of flavor to this salad. The balsamic dressing was just right amount and flavor. I also liked that with just a 1/2 pound of orzo plus the tomatoes and mozzarella it still made a generous amount.

  2. If I used bow tie pasta instead (my daughter’s favorite) would I change the amount? It says 8 Oz of orzo which is typically half a box so I wanted to make sure I added the right amount.

  3. 5 stars
    This is definitely better the 2nd day. Make extra dressing if it dries out a bit. I served mine with crispy breaded chicken cutlets. Loved it Gaby.

  4. Didn't bother roasting the tomatoes and I'd probably make more dressing for it next time . I paired it with some grilled lemon garlic chicken and it was delicious!

    Definitely going into the summertime weeknight dinner rotation!

  5. Hi Gaby,

    Would you add any salt or pepper to the dressing or pasta or just the tomatoes being roasted?

    Thank you!

  6. 4 stars
    Hi! The recipe list calls for 2 pints of tomatoes, but looks like you only cook 1 pint? Is 1 pint added raw? Am I seeing that correctly?? Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    This combines all the wonderful summer flavors with my favorite pasta! This will definitely be on regular rotation!

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