Easy Orzo Salad with Pesto

This post contains links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. We appreciate your support!

This Easy Orzo Salad with Pesto is a refreshing salad that combines tender orzo pasta with flavorful pesto, mozzarella pearls, and fresh tomatoes. Simple and delicious, it’s a perfect summertime side dish or light dinner!

Caprese Pesto Orzo Salad in a bowl with spoon topped with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

Salads are the perfect summer meal to embrace the abundance of fresh produce and create a light and refreshing meal. All the amazing flavors come together in one bowl – like a party for your taste buds!

And this easy orzo pesto salad is no different. The pesto dressing completes the dish, so if you can – I strongly recommend whipping up homemade pesto. It’s especially great if you have a bumper of fresh basil in your garden.

Whether you prefer a bright lemon orzo pasta salad, sweet corn salad, or a green goddess salad, one thing is certain – salads are a great way to celebrate summer.

So let’s get started!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is PESTO-ORZO-SALAD-4-1200x1800.jpg


  • Bright and refreshing flavor. This salad is like summer in a bowl with fresh ingredients like basil pesto and juicy cherry tomatoes.

  • Easy and quick salad recipe. It comes together in 20 minutes with just four simple ingredients.

  • It makes a tasty side dish or light dinner! You can choose whether to serve this as a delicious side dish. Or add a hearty protein and make it a main dish salad instead.

  • Endless serving options. It’s perfect for summer parties because it holds up well with time, but it’s also a great option for busy weeknights.


You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Orzo Pesto Salad:


Orzo pasta: Orzo, the main ingredient in this salad is pasta shaped like rice grains. It’s commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and is an excellent choice for this Mediterranean orzo salad.

Pesto: Store-bought is fine, but try my homemade Basil Arugula Pesto! I promise it’s worth the extra minutes. The fresh flavors of homemade pesto really complete this delicious pasta salad.

Fresh Mozzarella Pearls: I prefer the smaller mozzarella balls and cut them in half. You can also get a log of fresh mozzarella and cut it into small pieces.

Fresh tomatoes: Adds a burst of juiciness and sweetness. Sweet tomatoes like cherry or grape tomatoes provide a pleasant texture and contrast nicely with tender orzo pasta.


Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!

Step 1: First, cook orzo according to package instructions. When the orzo has cooked al dente, drain and rinse it with cold water. Set the cooked orzo aside to cool completely

Step 2: While the orzo cooks, make a batch of fresh homemade basil arugula pesto or grab your store-bought pesto.

Step 3: When fully cooled, add pesto to orzo and toss to combine.

Process photo for making Caprese Pesto Orzo Salad -- mix orzo with pesto.

Step 4: Next, gently stir in the cut tomatoes and mozzarella. And lastly, drizzle the balsamic glaze if using.


  • Pasta preference: You can cook orzo according to package directions or your preferred doneness. If you love a softer texture in pasta salads, add one extra minute to the cooking time. Conversely, if you prefer an al dente pasta, immediately remove it from the heat, drain well, and rinse with cold running water.

  • Adjust seasoning: Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning and texture if necessary. You can add salt if needed and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors. In addition, a tablespoon of pesto or extra virgin olive oil would be fitting if the salad seems dry.

For the best flavor, let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld, creating a more delicious and cohesive dish.


You can store pesto orzo pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. When enjoying the leftovers, I always like to add more of the Basil Arugula Pesto and a squeeze of lemon juice to freshen it up!


Pesto: If making homemade 10-minute Basil Arugula Pesto seems overwhelming, use your favorite store-bought pesto.
Cheese: Sub mozzarella balls with other cheese such as goat cheese or feta cheese.
Orzo: You can use another short pasta, such as ditalini or orecchiette. I suggest going with small pasta shapes so all the ingredients are of equal size.

Red Onion: Dice some fresh red onion for a sharp, refreshing flavor and a pop of color.
Sun-dried tomatoes: Add a few tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes for a rich texture and tangy flavor.
Parmesan Cheese: Garnish the dish with freshly grated Parmesan for a finishing touch.


Do I have to use orzo?

Not at all! Even though orzo is commonly found in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores, you can use any pasta you have on hand. Remember that smaller pasta works best in this cold pasta salad. As long as pasta is in bite-sized pieces, it will work. Check out the complete list of 15 Substitutes for Orzo here.

What is balsamic glaze, and where can I find it?

In short, balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar and sugar reduced to a thick glaze. It’s a little sweet, savory, and perfectly drizzled over this Caprese orzo salad! You can find balsamic glaze near the vinegar at most grocery stores. Or you can make your own!

What can I serve with this pesto orzo salad?

You can serve orzo pesto pasta salad with your favorite main dish. It complements summer foods like grilled meats and fish well but can also be enjoyed year-round. It’s a perfect side dish for backyard BBQs and parties because there is no mayo, and it can withstand outside temperatures and still be delicious.

In a Dinner Rut?

Grab your 7-Day Meal Plan + 3 Bonus Recipes!

Sceenshots for free meal plan.

Caprese Pesto Orzo Salad on a plate with fork topped with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and drizzled with balsamic glaze.

I hope you love this Orzo Salad with Pesto! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Easy Orzo Salad with Pesto

Easy Orzo Salad with Pesto

Casey Rooney
This Easy Orzo Salad with Pesto is a refreshing salad that combines tender orzo pasta with flavorful pesto, mozzarella pearls, and fresh tomatoes. Simple and delicious, it's a perfect summertime side dish or light dinner!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6
Calories 385 kcal


  • 1 16oz package orzo + salt for boiling the pasta
  • 3/4 cup fresh arugula and basil pesto (See Note 1) recipe here or store bought pesto is fine too!
  • 12 oz fresh mozzarella pearls, halved or mini mozzarella balls
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • balsamic glaze, for drizzling (optional) See Note 2


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a big pinch of salt. Boil orzo to al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water and cool at least to room temperature.
  • When orzo is cooled, add it to a large bowl. Stir in pesto until orzo is nicely coated.
  • Gently toss in mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes.
  • When you're ready to serve, drizzle with balsamic glaze!


Note 1: My 10 minute Basil Arugula Pesto Recipe
Note 2: Balsamic glaze is a thickened balsamic vinegar and be found at most large chain grocery stores in the vinegar/oil/salad dressing section.
Nutrition information is only an estimate. Info is based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator.
Save this recipe form

💌 Save to your inbox!

Enter your email and send this recipe straight to your inbox. As a bonus, you’ll receive more easy recipes every week!


Calories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 16.6gFat: 8.2gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 116mgPotassium: 151mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 5.6gCalcium: 211mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Yum! Pesto is one of my favorite foods, and this is a great way to serve it easily and beautifully.

  2. 5 stars
    Orzo was the perfect pasta for this recipe. I loved the way each piece was coated in that delicious pesto!

  3. 5 stars
    Using orzo in this pesto caprese salad is genius. Love the fresh mozzarella pearls and tomatoes with the pesto.

  4. 5 stars
    Oooh, such a refreshing and fantastic summertime use for orzo. I love all those flavors, especially with the balsamic drizzle over the top.

  5. 5 stars
    This was a great twist to a delicious recipe! Enjoyed this for dinner and it was a hit all around the table! So simple yet satisfying; loved every bite!

  6. 5 stars
    This salad was super easy to make, and the pesto brought a wonderful brightness to the dish! I made a big batch and had it for lunch a few days in a row – it was perfect!

  7. 5 stars
    The caprese with the pesto is a fantastic flavor combination. My family is going to really enjoy this.