This healthy orzo salad recipe is full of bright, fresh, summery flavor… Gorgeous red and yellow cherry tomatoes, bright parsley, and vibrant basil, along with a dose of fresh lemon zest and juice marry together to make the perfect side dish to share at your next gathering!
If you make just one recipe for your upcoming Labor Day cookout, it has to be this orzo pasta salad! It’s another recipe that I first had on the Walmart trip I took back in June (along with these amazing grilled peaches and crazy good grilled potato salad). I kid you not when I say I went back for seconds… and then thirds. It’s THAT good!
I’ve adapted the recipe slightly and updated the directions to make them simpler for the home cook to follow. Judging by the number of friends that asked for the recipe at a gathering last night, I’d say it’s a total winner!
Orzo Salad For The Win!
This lemony basil orzo salad is perfect this time of year. It highlights all of the great summery flavors that you can buy fresh right now — gorgeous red and yellow cherry tomatoes, bright parsley, and vibrant basil, along with a healthy dose of fresh lemon zest and juice. It the type of summer salad that only gets better as the flavors marry together while it chills. So it’s the perfect side to make earlier in the day for an evening gathering.
If you’re not familiar with orzo, it looks like a rice, but it’s actually a rice-shaped pasta. Orzo means “barley” in Italian, referring to the small, barley-like shape. My preference is the DeLallo brand, which I found tucked away on the top shelf in the pasta aisle at my local Walmart.
While I adore this orzo salad as is, you can also add a 4-oz. container of crumbled feta cheese for more of a Greek-style salad. Or turn it into a main dish by adding some sliced grilled chicken breast on top. Either way, just make it ASAP — I promise you won’t be sorry you did!Print
- 1-lb. orzo pasta
- 1/4 cup salt
- zest of 2 large lemons
- juice of 2 large lemons (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup green onions, greens only sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 pkg. (0.66-oz.) fresh basil, chopped
- Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add 1/4 cup salt. Add the orzo pasta to the water and stir. Bring the water back up to a boil. Stirring occasionally, cook for 9 minutes.
- While the orzo is cooking, zest and juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl, and whisk in the olive oil.
- When the orzo is done cooking, drain it (do not rinse), and toss it with the sauce mixture while still hot.
- Allow the pasta and sauce mixture to cool while you chop the rest of the ingredients.
- Fold in the red peppers, grape tomatoes, green onions, parsley and basil.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve cold.
Need some more Labor Day recipe inspiration? Check out these other ideas from some of my fellow Walmart Moms:
- Salami Chopped Salad
- Mac-N-Cheese Deep Fried Bites
- Red, White & Blue Angel Fluff
- Mango Chicken Skewers