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Caprese Orzo Salad

Bowl of caprese orzo salad with cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and basil vinaigrette surrounding the bowl

Make this easy caprese orzo salad recipe for a simple and delicious side dish tonight. Mixed with homemade basil vinaigrette, it’s a great make ahead recipe, too!

Ingredients

Scale

Caprese Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup pearl mozzarella balls, drained from water
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Cook orzo according to package instructions in salted water. Strain and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare the basil vinaigrette – add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend it up until smooth and cohesive, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  3. Combine the cooked orzo, cherry tomatoes basil, and pearl mozzarella balls in a large mixing bowl. Pour about half of the basil vinaigrette dressing over the salad plus a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Mix everything up to coat the ingredients in the salad dressing. Add more dressing as desired.
  5. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Notes

Tip for quickly cooling cooked orzo: Spread the cooked orzo in a thin, even layer on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, and the orzo should be cool enough to add to pasta salad.

Substitution suggestions for ingredients and dietary restrictions

  • Make it gluten free. Use gluten-free orzo pasta
  • Make it vegan. Use vegan mozzarella cheese or avocado in place of the mozzarella. Swap out honey for maple syrup for the basil vinaigrette.
  • Use another small pasta shape. If you don’t want to use orzo pasta, you can swap it out for another tiny pasta shape such as ditalini, small pasta shells, orichete, or pearled couscous.
  • Omit the basil vinaigrette. This caprese orzo salad is equally as delicious simply dressed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
  • If you can’t find pearl mozzarella cheese, you can buy a larger ball of fresh mozzarella and chop it up into small pieces.

Keywords: caprese orzo salad, orzo pasta salad, pearl mozzarella