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Orzo pasta salad in a bowl with a spoon.

Orzo Pasta Salad

For a fresh twist on pasta salad, try my easy make-ahead Orzo Pasta Salad. It's packed with delicious roasted vegetables and is one of my favorite grab-and-go lunch ideas.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 servings (1 cup each)
Calories 359kcal



  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine bell peppers, asparagus, and tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast until softened, about 25 minutes. Return to the large bowl. 
  • Meanwhile, add pine nuts to a small dry skillet. Toast over medium-low heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (3.5 quart or larger) saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Add orzo and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until all liquid has been absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon zest and juice and transfer to the bowl with the vegetables. Cool to room temperature.
  • Add basil, feta cheese, pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.


  1. Bell peppers: I love the color and flavor variation that results with a mix of red, orange, and yellow. If you prefer, stick with three peppers of one color.
  2. Orzo: This small cut of pasta looks a bit like supersized grains of rice. It's perfect for this recipe because we cook it pilaf-style, which basically means toasting it lightly in oil. Israeli couscous is a terrific substitute if you can't find orzo.
  3. Chicken broth:  Store-bought in a carton or can or 3 cups of homemade chicken broth; either works well. Swap in vegetable stock to make this pasta salad a vegetarian recipe.
  4. Feta cheese: The salty, slightly tangy quality of this crumbly cheese plays nicely with the other pasta salad elements. Goat cheese is a nice alternative.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 10 (1-cup) servings of orzo and vegetables, ideal to enjoy as a side dish.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 528mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1974IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 2mg