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Orzo Salad with Summer Vegetables + 14 Pasta Salads

This orzo salad has bright, flavorful, and healthy summer vegetables tossed in a tangy tomato and basil vinaigrette dressing. It’s an easy pasta salad recipe without mayo, so it’s perfect for an outdoor picnic, potluck dinner, or summer holiday party!

In addition to my recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post to get 15 more of the best pasta salad recipes for summer, created by my blogging friends and me.

titled photo of the BEST pasta salad for summer (made without mayo)

In a previous post, I told you why the 4th of July is such a sentimental holiday for me and how much I love everything about it, including the fireworks. Because I think this summer side dish is bright and bursts with color like a fireworks display, I’ve nicknamed it Fireworks Orzo Salad!

pasta bowl filled with orzo salad made with summer vegetables

Does pasta salad have to be refrigerated?

As a kid, one of my favorite summer salads was tuna mac. My mom made it with a lot of mayo, so it was incredibly delicious and creamy. The problem is, mayo adds a lot of calories and fat, and you can’t leave it out in the summer heat.

To lighten up this orzo salad, I make a healthy fire-roasted tomato-basil vinaigrette dressing. Plus, there’s a bonus! With no mayo in the orzo salad, it’s the best pasta salad for summer. You can leave it out in the sun for a while without worrying about the risk of food poisoning.

pasta salad with fresh vegetables in a pasta bowl

How long does orzo salad last in the fridge?

This salad will keep well for 4-5 days. As it continues to sit, the dressing will soak into the orzo salad, which can make it a bit soggy.

close up shot of orzo salad with garden vegetables on a spoon

Need some ideas for a main course to serve with the orzo salad?

These smoked spare ribs have just a little kick of Cajun spice. They are SO tender and delicious!

Cajun Smoked Spare Ribs

Cajun-Spiced Smoked Spare Ribs on a white plate

This pulled chicken recipe is perfect for easy meal prep!

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

slow cooker pulled chicken sandwich dripping with BBQ sauce

These burgers are made by combining ground beef with ranch seasoning. The spicy chipotle mayo on top adds the perfect punch of flavor!

Spicy Ranch Burgers

Spicy Ranch Burger topped with cheese and chipotle mayo

To end your meal, serve some no-bake CHOCOLATE dessert lasagna. (Some people call it chocolate lush).

closeup image of chocolate dessert lasagna - a layered no bake dessert made with chocolate cookies, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and chocolate chips

If you’re not a fan of chocolate desserts (YIKES, why not?!), these red white and blue cookies are a fun dessert.

Patriotic Pinwheel Cookies

Red White and Blue Pinwheel Cookies stacked on a white napkin

If you like my pasta salad recipe and think you’ll be making it soon, will you please give it a 5-star rating for me now? Thank you!

Don’t forget to save it to Pinterest or bookmark it so it’s easy to find later. 🙂

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You’ll see links to the other pasta salads for summer just below my orzo salad recipe.

 

titled photo shows orzo salad with summer vegetables on a spoon

close up shot of orzo salad with garden vegetables on a spoon

Orzo Salad with Garden Veggies

This orzo salad has fresh garden veggies, tender pasta, and a tangy fire roasted tomato and basil vinaigrette dressing. It looks as colorful as fireworks and with a kick of chili flakes, it has a nice explosion of flavor, too!
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 348 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta I use organic whole wheat orzo
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 green bell pepper cleaned and diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber diced (or regular cucumber with seeds removed)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper or more/less, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (omit to make this a vegan pasta salad)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped or cut chiffonade style

For the Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar white balsamic, if you can find it
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces avocado oil Or sunflower oil, grapeseed, olive, or other light oil of your choice

Instructions
 

  • Cook orzo pasta according to package directions (usually takes about 10 minutes). Set aside.
  • Place all salad ingredients except cheese and basil into a large serving bowl. Set aside while you make the dressing.

Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

  • Place all vinaigrette ingredients except for oil into a blender. Process on high speed for 15 seconds.
  • With blender running on high, slowly pour olive oil into the blender to combine with other ingredients. Blend on high speed for 15-20 seconds, or until well blended and creamy.
  • Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with shredded cheese and fresh basil.
  • Store refrigerated in a tightly covered container for up to a week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 9gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 519mgPotassium: 582mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 4260IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 141mgIron: 1.7mg
Tried this recipe? Mention @itsyummi or tag #itsyummirecipe!

This post for orzo salad was originally published in June 2014. Additional pasta salad recipes and improved photos were added for this republishing.

Other Summer Pasta Salad Recipes

While these aren’t pasta salads, they’re healthy, delicious, and perfect salads for summer!

titled photo collage showing 9 easy summer pasta salads

 

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29 Comments

  1. 1. Are the sundries tomatoes packed in oil or dry?
    2. Are the diced fire roasted tomatoes from a can?

    1. Hi Angela,
      You can use either type of sun-dried tomatoes. If you’re using dried and you want to soften then, you can rehydrate them by placing them into a glass of warm water for a few minutes.

      I use canned diced tomatoes. I usually drain off some of the liquid first.

      I hope you like the orzo pasta salad!

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