Caprese Orzo Salad

Caprese Orzo Salad is a vibrant summer pasta salad featuring juicy tomatoes, creamy balls of mozzarella, and ribbons of fresh basil, all topped off with a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette!

Caprese Orzo Salad with text overlay.
How to Make Caprese Orzo Salad
And have I mentioned how simple it is to throw together this orzo salad recipe?

Cook and drain the pasta.
Shake up the dressing.
Slice the tomatoes and chiffonade the basil.
Toss everything together and serve!
Quick…easy…and yum, yum, YUM.

1 cup (7 ounces) dry orzo
8 ounces fresh mozzarella , water-packed mozzarella pearls (“perline” or tiny balls)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 ½-ounce bunch fresh basil, sliced in a chiffonade
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool, tossing occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t clump together.
While the orzo is cooking and cooling, prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, honey, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. You may whisk it vigorously in a bowl, shake it in a tightly-sealed jar, or pulse it in a mini food processor.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large bowl. Carefully mix in fresh mozzarella, tomato halves, basil chiffonade, and about ⅔ of the prepared vinaigrette, or as much as you prefer. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled, stirring in additional dressing just before serving (since the dressing will soak into the pasta while in the fridge).

After cooking the orzo, I prefer not to rinse it since the starch helps the vinaigrette adhere to the pasta. However, it’s important to occasionally toss/stir the orzo as it cools to prevent it from clumping. Alternatively, if you already have the vinaigrette prepared, you can stir in a bit which will also prevent sticking.
If you can’t find mozzarella pearls, it’s okay to buy a big ball of fresh mozzarella and cut it into ½-inch cubes.
If making the vinaigrette with a very high quality balsamic vinegar, the honey may not be necessary.
Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 687mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1370IU | Vitamin C: 16.4mg | Calcium: 310mg | Iron: 1.3mg

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