Caprese Orzo Salad

Caprese Orzo Salad is a vibrant summer pasta salad featuring juicy tomatoes, creamy balls of mozzarella, and ribbons of fresh basil, all topped off with a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette!

Caprese Orzo Salad with text overlay.


 

I live in the south, and if you've ever seen Steel Magnolias, you already know that homegrown tomatoes are a religion down here. I don't have my own garden, but lucky for me, my green thumb of a father-in-law does. And thanks to his benevolence, we are the lucky recipients of a plethora of garden-fresh produce each summer. And guess which variety is my favorite???

If you guessed tomatoes, you would be correct. That's right, friends...it's time for homegrown tomato sandwiches and fresh caprese salads and homemade marinara sauce and every incarnation of tomato glory that you can imagine! Yup, I am so excited that tomato season has arrived. And I am downright thrilled with how delicious this tomato-starring Caprese Orzo Salad turned out!

Aerial view with a garnish of basil

Let's be honest here. Caprese anything is a pretty equal opportunity-type recipe. Sure, the tomatoes are important. But so is the creamy, water-packed mozzarella. And so is the fresh, vibrant, chiffonade of basil. In this particular orzo salad recipe, of course, cute little pieces of pasta play a big role, too, as does a bursting-with-flavor balsamic vinaigrette dressing. In fact, the vinaigrette is amazing on just about any type of salad, so don't feel like you need to limit its fabulousness to Caprese Orzo Salad...use it on anything and everything!

Close-up of the orzo salad recipe

How to Make Caprese Orzo Salad

And have I mentioned how simple it is to throw together this orzo salad recipe?

  1. Cook and drain the pasta.
  2. Shake up the dressing.
  3. Slice the tomatoes and chiffonade the basil.
  4. Toss everything together and serve!

Quick...easy...and yum, yum, YUM.

Caprese Orzo Salad in a white bowl

Bottom line? This orzo salad recipe is so yummy, y'all.

Like, happily-eat-it-for-lunch-every-day-until-it's-gone yummy.

Like, watch-it-disappear-at-any-get-together yummy.

Like, have-the-recipe-handy-because-everybody's-bound-to-ask yummy.

Simple ingredients.

Bold flavors.

Utter summer pasta salad bliss.

ENJOY!

Two bowls on a cutting board with bottle of balsamic vinaigrette

More Pasta Salad Recipes

Caprese Orzo Salad in a bowl

Caprese Orzo Salad

Caprese Orzo Salad is a vibrant summer pasta salad featuring juicy tomatoes, creamy balls of mozzarella, and ribbons of fresh basil, all topped off with a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 597kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (7 ounces) dry orzo
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella , water-packed mozzarella pearls ("perline" or tiny balls)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ½-ounce bunch fresh basil, sliced in a chiffonade

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool, tossing occasionally so that the orzo doesn't clump together.
  • While the orzo is cooking and cooling, prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, honey, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. You may whisk it vigorously in a bowl, shake it in a tightly-sealed jar, or pulse it in a mini food processor.
  • Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large bowl. Carefully mix in fresh mozzarella, tomato halves, basil chiffonade, and about ⅔ of the prepared vinaigrette, or as much as you prefer. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled, stirring in additional dressing just before serving (since the dressing will soak into the pasta while in the fridge).

Video

Notes

  • After cooking the orzo, I prefer not to rinse it since the starch helps the vinaigrette adhere to the pasta. However, it's important to occasionally toss/stir the orzo as it cools to prevent it from clumping. Alternatively, if you already have the vinaigrette prepared, you can stir in a bit which will also prevent sticking.
  • If you can't find mozzarella pearls, it's okay to buy a big ball of fresh mozzarella and cut it into ½-inch cubes.
  • If making the vinaigrette with a very high quality balsamic vinegar, the honey may not be necessary.
  • I explain how to chiffonade basil (with step-by-step photos) in this post.

Nutrition

Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 687mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1370IU | Vitamin C: 16.4mg | Calcium: 310mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




32 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this 3-4 times already! Usually making it for a crowd so I use the whole box of orzo, and triple the mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Doubling the dressing is more than enough. Absolutely delicious and looks beautiful! Thank you for such a great recipe!!

  2. Whenever I make a marinade with olive oil and then put it in the fridge a few hours, the olive oil tends to solidify. Then the marinade gets a chunky texture. If I were to make this orzo salad beforehand, is the dressing going to make the same kind of consistency?

    1. Yes, olive oil will typically thicken when chilled. It's not as noticeable when distributed through a pasta salad. But if you prefer to avoid the possibility altogether, I would recommend letting your chilled pasta salad sit at room temperature for 15 or 20 minutes and then stirring well before serving. 🙂

    1. I don't see why that couldn't work, Chris. I would just initially leave out the honey, taste the dressing, and then add back as much honey as you think is needed (if any).

  3. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious! Can you explain what you mean by 1 cup 7 oz of orzo? Like do we dry measure a cup then weigh out 7 ounces? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Dawn! I'm so sorry...some parentheses disappeared from the recipe card! I just fixed it to say 1 cup (7 ounces) orzo. In other words, 1 cup of dry orzo pasta is 7 ounces by dry weight (if you put it on a scale). Hope that makes sense! Basically, if you measure 1 cup of dry orzo you'll be fine. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I've made this twice now, and it was a hit both times! This is an easy and delicious Summer salad recipe. I used less dressing than called for, but I think you can just add to taste. This recipe will certainly become a keeper! Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic summertime salad! I just made this last weekend for the first time (I went to a pool party and wanted something light and fun to bring with me). Everyone raved about how delicious this salad is. So easy to prepare!

    1. So happy this was a hit at the pool party, Kristy...thanks for taking the time to let me know! 🙂

  6. Made this yesterday, had no orzo so used quinoa. Excellent. Hubby said "gourmet". Also threw in just a little rainbow chard. Recipe lends itself to creativity. Dressing is killer and could be used on any salad or as chicken marinade Bless you!

  7. Picture of orzo salad shows pine nuts that are not listed in ingredients or instructions. Pine nuts in or out? If in how much?

    1. There are no pine nuts in this recipe...that's orzo in the photos. But I'm sure pine nuts would be a yummy addition if you'd like to add them! 🙂

  8. Whoa, made this tonight for tomorrow's 4th of July celebration. I only put in 3/4 of the dressing and half basil. Will add tomorrow. Snuck a little for dinner tonight. It's wonderful, I'm sure it'll be a hit. Thanks

  9. I LOVE this recipe and double it each week for lunches. I also added chicken tenderloins to it for added protein. Do you happen to have a breakdown of the nutrition facts and serving size of this?

    1. Thank you, Megan! I'm pretty sure I could eat it every day, all summer long... 😉

  10. My poor tomatoes are nowhere to be seen! We've had a particularly gloomy summer thus far. Oh, and this looks delish. I could live off pasta salads during the summer!

    1. Well darn, Andrea...hopefully your tomatoes make an appearance yet! And when they do, I hope you get to try this salad... 🙂

      1. This recipe looks amazing! I’m thinking about making it for a get together. Can you make this ahead of time (like day before/day early)? If so, have any tips/suggestions?

        1. Hi Alison! You can definitely make this recipe a day ahead of time. Initially, I would leave out the basil and only mix in about half of the dressing. Then just before serving, add the basil and stir in the rest of the dressing (or as much of the dressing as you prefer to use).

    2. 5 stars
      Great flavours and easy to make. I added some grilled chicken for protein too. And a little onion. Really enjoyed the strength of flavour. And I didn’t think my husband would be impressed but he was! So a hit in this house!

  11. This looks like the perfect afternoon on the back porch while the kids are playing in the pool kind of snack to go with my sweet tea! I've never had orzo before but I love risotto, so perhaps this is very similar.

    1. Oooo...can I come join you on the back porch, Joanna? Sounds perfect indeed! 😉 Orzo is different than risotto but can be fancied up in similar ways. It's just tiny pieces of pasta as opposed to rice...but if you like caprese, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this recipe! 🙂

  12. I am a tomato and mozzarella salad lover, but with the orzo added... DELISH! Pinned!

    Carrie
    Curly Crafty Mom

    1. Oh, I hope you love it, Carrie! Thanks so much for the pin...have a great week! 🙂

    2. I just made this and it seems to have way too much olive oil/dressing. My salad looks brown and not very appealing. Hopefully it tastes better than it looks.

      1. Hi Lori! I'm not sure if you initially added all of the dressing to the pasta salad, but the recipe indicates that you only need to add about 2/3 of it at first ("about" meaning however much you deem appropriate). The remainder of the dressing is for after the salad comes out of the refrigerator, whether that's at serving time or before enjoying any leftovers. The orzo will absorb the dressing as it chills, so I find that adding a bit more dressing just before serving is necessary. Any balsamic-based dressing is going to be brown-ish and will certainly darken orzo, but with the appropriate amount of dressing, this recipe should pretty much look like it does in the photos in this post. Hope that helps and hope your salad turned out okay!