Orzo Pasta Salad

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This Orzo Pasta Salad is filled with fresh veggies and has a fresh lemon taste. Perfect for your next potluck! 

Orzo pasta is fast and friendly to make that is an added bonus to this salad. If you love orzo try this Italian Orzo and Sausage Skillet, Lemon Parmesan Garlic Orzo with Asparagus or Southwest Orzo Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing.

Orzo Salad

Orzo Pasta Salad

Hey everyone! Chelsea back from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. Today I’ve got an easy pasta salad with NO MAYO!

Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta salads with a rich mayo dressing, but sometimes they aren’t the best if you have to transport them or have them outside during a hot day.

This pasta salad is perfect for hot summer days because it won’t go bad if it sits out for a little. It is best chilled, but it won’t get bad quickly either!

It is a win-win for everyone at your next get together.

I will warn you though, this orzo pasta salad will not last long and everyone will be asking you for the recipe.

The last BBQ I went to I had to right down the recipe multiple times before I could even finish my own plate.

This is a great salad that has garden vegetables, is light and tasty but OH. SO. FILLING! The perfect combination!

What you need to make an orzo pasta salad:

This salad is packed with veggies and has a fresh taste from the lemon.

You can easily switch up the veggies to what you like best.

Pretty much anything goes in this one!

  • Orzo- make this according to the package directions.
  • Lemon zest- add an intense amount of flavor with no bitterness.
  • Lemon juice- the citric acid aids in the mixture with a slight sour taste.
  • Olive oil-is best for harmonizing, enhancing and building the flavors together, plus it adds to the body and depth.
  • Salt- a dash of extra flavor.
  • Garlic- mince garlic is best for that intense flavor compared to garlic powder.
  • Honey- this will be an added sweetener with layers of flavor.
  • Corn- fresh or frozen will work for this pasta salat.
  • Red bell pepper- chopped bell pepper adds a sweet and crunchy flavor.
  • Zucchini- subtle and not overpowering vegetable that adds just the right amount of taste.
  • Salt and pepper- for added flavoring.
  • Mozzarella- cut into chunks and add to the salad for a soft, moist texture that is full of a milky flavor.
  • Basil- is associated with a strong, pungent and sweet smell that tastes a little like pepper.

How do you make orzo pasta salad?

  • Orzo Pasta: Make the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the orzo pasta with cold water. Then drain and place in a large bowl. Let is cool completely.
  • Dressing: Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, and honey. Whisk until well combined.
  • Vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together in one bowl the corn, red pepper and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then add to a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes flipping every 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven. (Cook until crisp tender)
  • Combine: Toss completely cooled vegetables, completely cooled pasta, cubed mozzarella, and ribboned basil with the dressing and chill in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

What is orzo?

Orzo is a type of short cut pasta that resembles grains of rice, only a tad bit bigger.

It can also go by the name “risoni.”You can find orzo in the pasta aisle in the grocery stores.

How do I use orzo?

Orzo is cooked on the stove top and boiled, similar to most pastas. You can use orzo like you would rice or in a variety of pasta dishes.

Tips for making orzo pasta salad:

  • You will want to cool your orzo completely to prevent it from clumping together. Running it under cold water in a colander will quickly help the salad cool.
  • You can make this salad 4 to 6 hours before you plan to serve it.
  • If you prefer to use a different cheese other than mozzarella, try goat cheese or feta substitute.
  • As a substitute or an addition there are plenty of other vegetables that will go well with this salad.
  • Adding nuts will also enhance this pasta salad.

Orzo Salad

Looking for more pasta salads?! Enjoy these ones!

Orzo Pasta Salad

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This orzo pasta salad is filled with fresh veggies and has a fresh lemon taste.  Perfect for your next potluck! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Chelsea Lords
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup cubed mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup ribboned basil


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.
  • While orzo cooks, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, oil, salt, garlic, and honey. Whisk until well combined.
  • Toss the corn, chopped red pepper, & chopped zucchini with olive oil and salt and pepper on a tray.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping every 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven. (Cook until crisp tender)
  • Remove and allow to cool.
  • Toss completely cooled vegetables, completely cooled pasta, cubed mozzarella, and ribboned basil with the dressing and chill in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste!
  • Enjoy!


Serves: 6

Calories208kcal (10%)Carbohydrates20g (7%)Protein6g (12%)Fat12g (18%)Saturated Fat3g (15%)Cholesterol7mg (2%)Sodium257mg (11%)Potassium196mg (6%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar4g (4%)Vitamin A621IU (12%)Vitamin C26mg (32%)Calcium59mg (6%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian, Italian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Chelsea Lords

Chelsea is the blogger behind Chelsea’s Messy Apron. She is always experimenting in the kitchen and making new things to eat. “Or I am in the kitchen eating. Both are good.” She tries to eat a balanced diet of healthful foods, but she loves desserts. You will find most of her recipes are healthy and easy, but still taste great! She has found that eating is all about balance and she hopes that that is the case on her site!

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  1. I have brought this pasta salad to a couple BBQs and it’s a hit. I usually double the amount of veggies- but don’t change anything else. I almost lost this recipe but so glad I found it and saved it!!

  2. Made this and I loved it! But I’m counting points and curious how many calories and how many servings ?

  3. With regard to the orzo salad, how much olive oil goes into the dressing and how much is used to toss the veggies?

  4. I’m making this now. I noticed that the dressing recipes says combine zest, juice, olive oil, OIL, salt, garlic and honey. But i don’t see any other oil in recipe. Is that a typo?

  5. Very good, even without the mozzarella (I can’t do dairy) my son and husband enjoyed it too. This one will be on the rotation.

  6. Made this several times for parties and it’s always a hit! Super fresh! I’ve added chicken to it before also.

  7. I love orzo pasta salad and so I will be trying this one girl. AND I so want that fork!
    Scheduled to share on Fb, pinned and yummed. xo San

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