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.

Pesto orzo pasta salad with tomatoes and mozzarella garnished with basil leaves

I love pesto and am always looking for new ways to use it in cooking. Some of our favorites 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 get lazy or cannot find fresh basil leaves, so 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 add more nutrition to 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 to cookouts throughout the summer.

If you love orzo, don’t forget to check out our favorite Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe.

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 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 dice it into bite-sized pieces.

Lemon juice– Lemon juice adds the perfect tangy fresh flavor to this orzo salad.

ingredients in a bowl to make salad such as orzo, tomatoes, onions and pesto

How to make Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad?

Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain the orzo, mix it 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.

Pesto pasta salad in a white bowl with a fork

This pesto pasta salad is so refreshing and has all the wonderful things about summer in your bowl!

Closeup of pasta salad with orzo, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves

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: Rotini Chickpea Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes.

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4.82 from 11 votes

Pesto Orzo Salad

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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces Orzo pasta , 1/2 box
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 4 ounces Pesto Sauce
  • 6 ounces Grape Tomatoes , washed and sliced into half
  • 1 cup Red Onion , diced
  • 2 ounces Sundried Tomato , julienne cut
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 4 ounces Fresh Mozzarella pearls, cut into small pieces
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Basil leaves , to garnish, torn into small pieces or chiffonade

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Variations: You can also add other veggies, like arugula, spinach or olives. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 12gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 323mgPotassium: 529mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 828IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 153mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you! I’ve been looking for light summer recipes since it’s already approaching 100* here. Everything I’ve made from your recipes has been excellent.

  2. Delicious! I omitted the olive oil since my sundried tomatoes came in oil. And I added a bunch of spinach. Thanks for sharing this recipe!