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Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad

This Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect light pasta salad that mixes together orzo with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil and is tossed in a light balsamic vinegar dressing. You can make this salad as part of your weekly meal-prep or make it ahead for a big get together. Guests always love this fresh salad at get togethers and parties! 

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad with balsamic in a large bowl.

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CAPRESE ORZO PASTA SALAD

I know many people have already moved in fall recipes but I still want to share a few summer inspired recipes since I know many people still have garden vegetables to use up. 

My juicy tomatoes and basil are still going strong and I am always looking for good ways to use both. 

Today’s Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad is one of my favorite twists on a classic caprese salad.

This is a really great side dish when you need to bring a dish to a potluck, bbq or summer get together. 

It is a really easy salad to throw together which is always a plus. You can buy mozzarella pearls at the store which helps save time but if you can’t find those you can buy fresh creamy mozzarella and just chop that up. 

You can make this salad ahead of time and then add the balsamic dressing when you are ready to serve the salad. 

It holds up really well and is so fresh and light. 

We eat a lot of orzo recipes in my house. We love small pasta shapes and they are fun for the kids to eat in their meals.

A few favorites I make time and time again are this Summer Orzo Pasta Salad, Greek Orzo Pasta Salad, Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Recipe and this Arugula Orzo Pasta Salad

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad with wooden spoons.

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS CAPRESE PASTA SALAD RECIPE

EASY TO MAKE: This salad comes together in under 20 minutes and is really simple to make. You can even make this ahead of time and just add the salad dressing right before serving. It also works nicely for a simple light lunch.

SIMPLE, FRESH INGREDIENTS: I love this easy orzo salad because it uses fresh ingredients. This salad does just that. It uses orzo, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil and is topped with a balsamic vinegar dressing. 

GREAT FOR A CROWD: This recipe makes a large portion of salad which makes it a great option for a crowd! I love bringing this to a friend and family summer bbq. It always goes super fast!

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad ingredients.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS CAPRESE ORZO SALAD?

ORZO PASTA

CHERRY TOMATOES

FRESH MOZZARELLA PEARLS OR FRESH MOZZARELLA BALLS 

FRESH BASIL LEAVES

BALSAMIC GLAZE

FOR THE DRESSING:

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL 

BALSAMIC VINEGAR

HONEY

DRIED OREGANO

GARLIC

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad with fork.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A CAPRESE ORZO SALAD?

COOK THE ORZO: Cook the orzo according to the package to al dente. Let cool completely or run under cold water until cooled.

ADD THE INGREDIENTS TO A LARGE MIXING BOWL: While the orzo cooks chop your cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes and add them to a large bowl. Add in the mozzarella pearls and basil.

Add the cooked orzo and toss gently.

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad ingredients in a bowl.

CREATE THE DRESSING: In a mason jar or small bowl combine the olive oil, regular balsamic vinegar, honey, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

TOSS THE SALAD IN THE DRESSING: Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.

You can add balsamic glaze just before serving {optional}.

Store the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

When I use the leftovers will often toss a little more olive oil and balsamic in the salad. Sometimes I will also add a squeeze of lemon juice to help brighten the dish. 

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad with dressing in glass bowl.

WAYS TO MODIFY THIS CAPRESE ORZO SALAD RECIPE

BEANS: I love adding beans to as many recipes as I can. Try white beans, garbanzo beans, white kidney beans, baby lima beans, great northern beans, black beans, butter beans, navy beans or kidney beans are always a nice option.

VEGETABLES: You can add vegetables to this salad like sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, radish, bell peppers, zucchini, artichokes, avocado or kalamata olives. 

HERBS: Fresh herbs always take salads to the next level. Try dill, parsley or mint. 

PICKLED VEGETABLES: I love pickled vegetables. Try adding pickled red onions or these quick pickled vegetables. 

NUTS AND SEEDS: Adding seeds and nuts is nice to add crunch. Toasted pine nuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds can add crunch along with healthy fats and extra protein.

GREENS: Greens would be a nice, healthy addition to this salad. My favorites are kale, spinach, peppery arugula or a mixed green mixture. 

CHEESE: You can sub the mozzarella for feta cheese or goat cheese. I also like adding parmesan cheese.

SPICES: I like to add sumac or za’atar to a salad like this. You could also use paprika, Italian seasoning or dill. 

PROTEIN: This is the perfect salad for protein. I like to add grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, salmon or even grilled steak.

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad with wooden spoons.

OTHER ORZO RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

LEMON CHICKEN ORZO SKILLET 

CHEESY BUTTERNUT SQUASH ORZO 

TOMATO FETA ORZO SALAD

LEMON CHICKEN ORZO SOUP

ONE POT CREAMY TOMATO ORZO

MIXED BERRY ORZO SALAD

4 INGREDIENT CHEESY ORZO

Caprese Orzo Salad with logo.

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad with balsamic in a large bowl.

Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect light pasta salad that mixes together orzo with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil and is tossed in a light balsamic vinegar dressing. You can make this salad as part of your weekly meal-prep or make it ahead for a big get together. Guests always love this fresh salad at get togethers and parties! 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta {try whole wheat for a healthier version}, cooked according to package
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls {if you can't find the pearls you can do the small balls or you can slice fresh mozzarella into small chunks}
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, loosely packed, torn
  • balsamic glaze for garnish, optional

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Cook the orzo according to the package. Let cool completely or run under cold water until cooled.
    2. While the orzo cooks chop your cherry tomatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add in the mozzarella pearls and basil.
    3. Add the orzo and toss gently.
    4. In a mason jar or salad dressing container combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
    5. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. You can add balsamic glaze just before serving {optional}.
    6. Store the leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days. When I use the leftovers will often toss a little more olive oil and balsamic in the salad.

Notes

This salad is great with grilled chickien, salmon, shrimp or steak.

Try adding chickpeas or white beans to the salad.

Feta or Parmesan cheese would be a nice addition alongside the mozzarella.

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