You know Summertime is here when all you really fancy for your meal times is a fresh salad. That is where this Quick & Simple Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad comes to the rescue. Filling enough as a stand-alone meal and perfect as a side dish. Sweet juicy tomatoes, with smooth creamy mozzarella, peppery fresh basil mixed in with a hearty base of orzo pasta bought together with a fresh zesty olive oil dressing.
Caprese salad is loved by so many for its simple, complimentary flavours. Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with an extra virgin olive oil drizzle. Simple, fresh, classic. But sometimes I do feel that the classic Caprese salad can do with a little beefing (not literally! No beef in these pages 😱) up to make it a filling satisfying meal.
At the moment I am adding orzo pasta to everything, I just love its versatility. It can be used in soups, stews and salads. Because it’s small its perfect for this kind of pasta salad because it doesn’t overpower the star ingredients. Instead of becoming the perfect supporting cast member it turns this into a great main dish or something which is perfect for lunch boxes. Trust me it makes a great packed lunch, I have enjoyed this salad on numerous occasions at work recently.
I didn’t want to mess too much with the classic extra virgin olive oil, but I did add in the juice and zest of a small lemon for a hint of zesty freshness and a pinch of salt and pepper. I found these few extra ingredients really made this Caprese orzo pasta salad really come alive.
Making every bite a fresh zesty forkful of perfect summer flavours.
This Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad is great for potlucks, barbecues, parties, main courses and lunch boxes. You will get 4 healthy sized portions for a main meal/lunch box and easily 8 – 10 servings for a side dish. You seriously can’t go wrong with such a quick and simple dish to put together for all your summer needs.
Quick & Simple Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad
- 400 grams Orzo pasta (2 cups)
- 20 cherry tomatoes - halved
- 125 grams mozzarella - cut into cubes (5 ounces)
- 5 grams fresh basil leaves shredded (1/8 cup)
- Zest & juice of 1 small lemon
- 30 millilitres extra virgin olive oil (1/8 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Bring a medium sized pan of water and a pinch of salt to the boil and add the pasta in and cook according to package instructions. 7 - 9 minutes is about the normal time, you want your pasta soft but still a small bite in the middle.
- Once cooked strain your pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool the pasta right down. Leave to drain dry.
- In a large serving bowl add in the halved cherry tomatoes, the mozzarella cubes and half of the shredded basil and mix it all together with your cooled pasta.
- In a small bowl add in the lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix it all together and pour it all over your salad. And toss it all together.
- Sprinkle over the remaining shredded basil.
- Covered in an airtight container this salad will keep for up to three days, but I would advise only adding in the basil before serving as it may discolour a bit.