orzo with everythingHere’s a recipe for my all-time favorite pasta salad – full of fresh healthy ingredients and exciting flavors – delicious and beautiful enough for any occasion. The original recipe is from the July 1998 Bon Appetite magazine, and I’ve made only a few tweaks to their version – increased the quantity (because you can’t get enough), lightened up the oil a bit, and added arugula.  There are two reasons why I call it “out of this world pasta salad recipe.”

ingredients for pasta saladIt’s obvious from the name that I think this recipe is amazing, but what you might not know, especially if you’re new to Panning The Globe, is that I have a category of recipes called “Out of this world.”  If you look at the menu across the very top of this site, you’ll see the world’s continents. All the way to the right, you’ll see “out of this world.”  Although the mission of Panning The Globe is to find recipes from every country in the world, I created this extra category as a loophole for sharing fantastic recipes that aren’t connected to a country or a continent.  If you move your cursor over those continents or to “out of this world,” you’ll get a drop-down menu that gives you a fun way to search for recipes on this site.

radicchio, basil, garlic and arugulaMinty basil, bitter radicchio, peppery arugula, and spicy garlic are some of the exciting fresh flavors that make this pasta salad so healthy and delicious.

pine nutsToasted pine nuts add a lovely sweet note.

steps for making pasta saladThe first step is to cook and drain the pasta and mix it with the oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes.  The flavors soak into the hot pasta and the oil keeps it from sticking together.  Once everything cools down, the chopped garlic and fresh salad ingredients are added, along with grated cheese.
recipe for orzo pasta salad
I’ve been making this salad every summer for 15 years, including last night at a small dinner party I hosted. I served it with Thai coconut BBQ ribs, Aleppo Pepper Chicken, and an asian coleslaw.  It goes especially well with anything grilled – meat, fish or chicken. Enjoy!
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Out of this World
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-14
A flavorful, colorful, pasta salad fit for any occasion.
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ⅔ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (from a jar of drained, oil-packed sun dried tomatoes)
  • ⅔ cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts (Toast in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until they start to turn golden brown in spots.)
  • 1 head of radicchio, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1½ cups chopped arugula leaves (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
  • 1 cup freshly-grated parmigiana cheese (about 5 ounces) I recommend Parmigiana Reggiano
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Cook the pasta al dente (firm to the bite) in a pot of boiling water with pinch of salt. Drain and transer to a large bowl. Add oil, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped olives. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool or cover and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
  2. Once everything comes to room temperature add the rest of the ingredients - pine nuts, radicchio, arugula, basil, garlic and parmigiana. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss again. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!


  1. Margie Perse says

    For reasons it’s sometimes hard to remember, we are now trying to go gluten free. What do you think about making it with brown rice?

    • Lisa Goldfinger says

      Margie, I bet it would be really good with rice. It might work with brown rice, though my instinct would be to use white long grain rice. Rinse it really well so you get rid of all the starch – which helps keep the grains separate. If you try it with rice – brown or white – I would love to know how it turns out.

  2. says

    Marge, there are gluten free pastas that are quite good at the grocery store now. Many not be the type listed in the recipe, but would also be delicious.


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