Sun-Dried tomatoes, basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella make this Pesto Orzo Salad a summer favorite. It’s fresh, flavorful, and so easy to make! Perfect for a picnic, potluck, or weeknight meal.
I absolutely love pesto, and am always looking for new ways to use it in my cooking. Some of our favorites that I have shared are Gnocchi with Basil Pesto, Instant Pot Spaghetti in Pesto, or even using it as a substitute for chutney in my favorite Avocado Chutney Sandwich recipe.
We love to use homemade pesto, however sometimes I do get lazy or cannot find fresh basil leaves, then the one from Costco is just as good!
The light texture of the orzo, combined with the fresh flavors from the basil and tomatoes make this recipe perfect for summer time, similar to my Caprese Orzo Salad.
You can add other veggies to it, just to add more nutrition into an already healthy recipe!
Since the salad is so easy to prepare, and can be served warm or cold, it is great to pack for picnics, and even bring it to cookouts throughout the summer months.
What ingredients go in Pesto Pasta Salad?
Orzo Pasta- I love the texture of orzo in this salad, but you can also use macaroni, fusilli, farfalle, or any other pasta you have on hand. Although it can be cooked on the stovetop, I like to use my instant pot to get a perfect al dente finish; check out this recipe for a quick how-to!
Pesto Sauce- Store-bought or homemade pesto, this delicious green basil-sauce is central to a tasty salad.
Red Onion, Fresh Basil, Grape Tomatoes, & Sun-Dried Tomato- You can also add other veggies, like arugula or spinach. What’s great about the ones used in this recipe is that they are usually found nice and fresh throughout the summer.
Fresh Mozzarella- I used small fresh mozzarella pearls, but if you cannot find these, take regular mozzarella and then dice it into bite-sized pieces.
Lemon juice- Lemon juice adds the perfect tangy fresh flavor to this orzo salad.
How to make Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad?
Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain the orzo, mix with some extra virgin olive oil and let it cool. You can also cook the orzo in the instant pot.
Mix the orzo, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, sundried tomato, pesto and lemon juice in a bowl.
Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste, then garnish with basil leaves.
Enjoy right away, or refrigerate for about 30 minutes until chilled.
This pesto pasta salad is so refreshing and has all the wonderful things about summer right in your bowl!
Enjoy this easy Pesto Orzo Salad for a refreshing light lunch or take it to your next get-together!
Here is another delicious pasta recipe you will enjoy, Rotini Chickpea Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes.
Pesto Orzo Salad
- 8 oz Orzo pasta 1/2 box
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 4 oz Pesto Sauce
- 6 oz Grape Tomatoes washed and sliced into half
- 1 cup Red Onion diced
- 2 oz Sundried Tomato julienne cut
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella pearls cut into small pieces
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Fresh Basil leaves to garnish, torn into small pieces or chiffonade
- Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain the orzo, mix with extra virgin olive oil and let it cool.
- Add orzo, tomatoes, red onion, sundried tomato, pesto and lemon juice in a bowl.
- Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves.
- Enjoy right away or refrigerate for about 30 minutes until chilled.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.