Caprese Orzo Salad is a delicious fresh tasting pasta salad. Light enough to have as a side dish, or as a light lunch. Even better if you can make this Caprese Orzo pasta salad ahead of time, and let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours! It gets better!
Caprese Orzo Salad
Traditional Italian Caprese Salad, which is a very popular appetizer and side dish, is slices of the freshest mozzarella cheese layered with a big fresh basil leaf, a slice of ripe tomato, drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a light sprinkling of salt.
This lovely “salad” has everything that is wonderful about Italian cuisine: sweet, salty, tangy, rich, and fresh! I wanted to bring that combination to a pasta salad, so I created this Caprese Orzo Salad recipe.
What Is Orzo?
Orzo is pasta that looks like fat rice. Orzo can be made into main dishes like casseroles, added to soups, and even a pasta salad, which is what I’m sharing with you today.
This Caprese Orzo Salad, inspired by my friend’s traditional Caprese Salad. The ingredients are similar, with a couple of exceptions: honey and garlic. Since this salad has the pasta, I thought it needed just a bit more flavor to keep it from being too bland.
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Do I really Need White Balsamic Vinegar for Caprese Orzo Salad?
No, not really. I do recommend it if you are serving this dish at a potluck or party. The regular balsamic vinegar tints the pasta brown and may look unappealing (see post photo above). The flavors are a little different, but both are very good.
You can find white balsamic vinegar here: White Balsamic Vinegar (affiliate).
Paul really likes this, and when I made it for this post, he had 3 helpings! Our youngest son is much pickier, but enjoyed a bowl of it when he got home from work. My guys, gotta love them!
A lovely light pasta salad adapted from the classic Italian favorite, Caprese Salad.
- 8 oz Orzo Pasta, 1/2 of a box
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil, extra virgin
- 1/2 cup White Balsamic Vinegar (or regular if you don't have white)
- 1 clove Garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp Honey
- pinch Kosher Salt
- pinch Black Pepper
- 1 8 oz Container of Mozzarella Fresca Pearls (Perline or Perlini)
- 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, measure first then cut tomatoes in half
- 8 Fresh Basil Leaves, cut in thin ribbons (chiffonade)
Cook the orzo according to package directions (al dente). When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Transfer to a large bowl.
While pasta is cooking, make the vinaigrette by adding the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper to a small bowl or cup and whisk together until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Add tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella to the pasta, then pour the vinaigrette over and mix well.
Cover and chill for 1-2 hours, mixing occasionally.
Resources to make This Recipe and More
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