This Tomato Cucumber Orzo Pasta Salad boasts refreshing Mediterranean flavors. Fresh basil and mint paired with a homemade honey-lemon vinaigrette dressing make this a perfect summer side dish.
★ Why You'll Love this Recipe ★
This is a delicious way to use up those garden tomatoes and cucumbers!
This Cucumber Tomato Orzo Salad is refreshing and zippy. Always a hit at gatherings, this pasta dish is a great go-to recipe when you need to bring a side dish.
Seasoned with fresh mint and basil and tossed in an easy homemade lemon-honey vinaigrette dressing. Red onion slivers add just the right amount of bite.
The Perfect Summer Pasta Salad
This is my all time favorite summer pasta salad because it's tangy and light — no mayo anywhere in sight. This recipe is a spin on Giadia's Orzo salad recipe from Food Network.
I added cucumbers and eliminated Giada's chickpeas, then adjusted the measurements since I wanted a little less oil. I substituted grape seed oil for the olive oil since my hubby can't have olive oil (poor guy).
I often use grape seed oil as an olive oil substitute since the flavor is a closer match than regular cooking oil. Avocado oil works well too.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
You'll need some fresh ingredients for this pasta salad but the benefit is a wonderfully aromatic pasta salad.
Fresh ingredients include: cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion, basil and mint.
The simple homemade vinaigrette dressing is made using: apple cider vinegar, oil (avocado or grape seed), fresh lemon juice, and a touch of honey seasoned with salt and pepper.
The base of this pasta salad is: orzo pasta cooked in chicken (or vegetable) bullion for extra flavor.
Combine everything together and chill for a cool summer side dish!
★ How to Make this Recipe ★
This orzo pasta salad is easy to make!
Watch how it all comes together:
★ Tips & FAQs ★
What does this orzo pasta salad taste like?
This orzo pasta salad has hints of Mediterranean flavor.
The combination of mint and lemon are what gives this dish it's most recognizably "Mediterranean" flavor. Although Mediterranean foods commonly employ a number of other spices, mint and lemon can be found as the main flavors in other Mediterranean dishes such as tabbouleh.
Feeding a crowd?
Make more or less depending on your need.
The recipe below makes enough for our small backyard barbecues, so if you wanted to make this for lunches or just as a dinner side item, then I'd half the recipe.
I've gotten a lot of rave reviews from friends and family every time I make this so I have a feeling you're going to enjoy this one! You may want to make a big batch. 😉
No problem. Substitute the chicken bullion with vegetable bullion when cooking the orzo.
For a punch of extra flavor, and to give this pasta salad a Greek flair, trying adding feta cheese. It totally changes the taste so if you make this recipe often, this is a great way to mix things up from time to time.
How to Make and Store this Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing
You're going to l-o-v-e this honey vinaigrette dressing, I promise! It goes great on anything. Fresh veggies, garden salads as well any cold pasta salad.
So if you want to, you can actually double or triple the recipe for the dressing and then save the extra. It stores well, kept cold in the fridge for several months.
I use a Mason Jar with a pour cap to store the extra dressing.
★ More Recipes You'll Love ★
More easy side dish ideas!
Check out all my side dish recipes and be sure to Pin your favorites for later.
Love Mediterranean flavors? Browse all my Mediterranean inspired recipes.
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If you like this orzo pasta salad, then you'll love my variation of this recipe, just without orzo. It's the same light, Mediterranean flavors, just without orzo so it comes together in just 10 minutes. Perfect for a quick weeknight vegetable side dish.
This Cucumber Tomato Orzo Pasta Salad summer side dish recipe was featured on South Your Mouth!
Cucumber Tomato Orzo Salad
- 8 cups water
- 3 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bullion
- 16 oz orzo pasta
- 2 pints grape tomatoes quartered
- ⅓ cup red onion thinly sliced and chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves chopped
- 2 cucumbers peeled, quartered and sliced
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large, covered, non-stick pot, bring water and chicken or vegetable bullion to a boil. Add orzo and reduce to a low boil and partially cover. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 minutes. Move orzo to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the dressing by placing all of the ingredients in a mason jar, tighten the lid, then shake.
- When orzo has cooled, add tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, cucumbers and ¾ of the dressing. Toss. Chill for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
- Add remaining dressing and toss right before serving.