This Summer Caprese Orzo Salad recipe is loaded with roasted corn, tomatoes and lots of feta cheese! This makes a large batch but it’s easy to halve it for a delicious side dish for a summer picnic!
For years now, my mom has been making a Greek Orzo Pasta Salad that everyone in my family loves. They request it at all the family get-togethers and it’s always a huge hit.
Except for with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it completely. But she fills it with black olives, and I just can’t with the olives.
They are one of my least favorite foods and the flavor gets all over everything else in the bowl. Just blech.
So I set out to create an easy orzo pasta salad that was filled with all of my favorite ingredients!
Roasted corn, tomatoes, basil and lots of cheese! So basically a caprese version for me!
What is Orzo?
Gosh, don’t make me cry by asking that! I’m going to go ahead and answer you so you can retain this information for the rest of your life and never feel deprived of orzo again! You’ll want to add it to everything soon!
Orzo is shaped like a large piece of rice, but it is actually a pasta. It’s such a versatile pasta too, that it will quickly become one of your favorites!
When we were eating our way around Rome a few summers ago, we saw it everywhere!
You can cook it up and serve it on it’s own, use it in pasta salads or in soups. It’s even perfect for baked casseroles like Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole with Salmon, Asparagus and Feta or Cheesy Chicken Orzo Casserole. These Pesto Orzo Stuffed Squash Bowls look (and sound) amazing too!
How to Cook Orzo
You can boil it just as you would any pasta. Add a little salt to the water before you add the orzo to prevent it from sticking. If you’re using it in a cold pasta salad, once it’s cooked you can should run cold water over it to also help prevent sticking.
Orzo is also an amazing addition to soups! Especially broth-based soups like Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo and Kale or Turkey Orzo Soup. A good rule of thumb is to add about 1/2 cup of dry orzo to every 6 or so cups of broth. Just add the dry orzo during the last 10 minutes of cooking or until the orzo is done.
Easy Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad
For my summery take on an orzo salad, I went with my favorite veggies! Feel free to mix it up and add your own favorite vegetables: squash, cucumbers or even olives if you have to!
I went with a light vinaigrette, but you could easily make it even easier on yourself and use a prepared salad dressing. If you go this route, I highly suggest Gazebo Room Salad Dressing! It is delicious and I use it on pasta salads all the time and always get asked for the “recipe”!
I roasted my corn in a little bit of olive oil and a cast iron skillet. There’s nothing quite like a cast iron skillet, in my taste bud’s opinion. You could also grill your corn or if you’re short on time, just add it cold.
For the finishing touch, don’t forget the cheese! My mom and I were actually tasting this and thought there was something missing! I realized we forgot to add the cheese and it made such a difference when we did!
Yes, yes… for true caprese-style, it should probably be mozzarella. And feel free to use that if you want! I just love some crumbled feta in my orzo salads, so that’s what we went.
What Goes with Orzo Pasta Salad
Honestly, you can serve this as your main entree. It’s that filling and delicious! You could also add some grilled chicken if you wanted to add a little more bulk to it.
We usually serve it as a side salad, though! It goes great with a grilled steak with our favorite marinade! To complete your summer BBQ menu, add some old fashioned baked beans and finish it off with a no-bake peanut butter pie! The perfect picnic food and so much of it can be made ahead of time, so you’re stress free as your guests arrive!
Tools Needed to Make Pasta Salad
- Cast Iron Skillet– I know I already said it, but it’s worth repeating! Cast iron skillets are so affordable and versatile that I really believe every kitchen should own one! It really does make food taste more delicious!
- Pasta Pot– I love a good heavy-bottom pot that distributes heat evenly and helps prevent your pasta from sticking to the bottom
- Colander– these colanders with a handle are a God-send and would have been nice to have my first decade of marriage! Way too many steam burned hands before I got one of these!
- Herb Scissors– Makes chopping your basil and other herbs so much faster and you won’t end up with limp little pieces any more!
- Olive Wood Salad Servers– This is totally not a necessity but check out how pretty they are! These are the ones in my pictures, but they really are more gorgeous in person! I use them as often as I can!
Summer Caprese Pasta Salad
Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad
This summer caprese orzo salad is the perfect side dish for your summer bbq! Filled with roasted corn, tomatoes and feta, it’s a delicious pasta salad that could also be served as a main course!
- 16 oz Orzo
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
- 5 ears Corn
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1/2 cup Red onion (chopped)
- 1/4 cup Basil (chopped)
- 6 oz. Feta
- 3/4 cup Olive Oil
- 6 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp Oregano
- Cook Orzo according to directions on box.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high heat. Cut corn off of cobs. Add corn and garlic to pan and roast for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently so it cooks evenly.
- In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- When orzo is done cooking and drained, transfer to a large bowl. Add corn, tomatoes and red onions. Toss with dressing and mix well. Add feta and basil and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This makes a large batch of orzo salad that is suitable for a big crowd! You can easily halve all of the ingredients to make a smaller portion.