Out-of-This-World Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

A white bowl filled with colorful orzo pasta salad and a sprig of basil in the middle

5 from 3 reviews

A vibrant, flavor-packed orzo pasta salad that’s perfect for picnics, parties and backyard barbecues.

Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit (1998) 




  1. Cook the pasta al dente (firm to the bite) in a pot of boiling water with teaspoon of salt. Drain orzo, transfer it to a large bowl, and immediately toss it, while it’s hot, with the oil (6 tablespoons), balsamic (6 tablespoons), sun-dried tomatoes (2/3 cup), olives (2/3 cup) and garlic (5 teaspoons). Set pasta aside to cool for 20-30 minutes before proceeding to step 2. Or cover and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours, and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
  2. Once the pasta comes to room temperature, toss it with the rest of the ingredients: pine nuts (1 cup), radicchio (2 cups), arugula (1 1/2 cups), basil (1 cup) and parmesan (1 cup). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
  3. This pasta salad will keep for several days in the fridge but it’s at its best the day you make it, when the basil is bright green and the lettuces are crisp.


[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in July 2013. It was updated in April 2020 with new photos, added nutritional information, clarifying details in the written post and clearer instructions in the recipe.]

Keywords: orzo pasta salad, best pasta salad, favorite pasta salad