Fresh and flavorful, this bruschetta orzo pasta salad is going to be a summertime favorite! Bonus: No mayo or yogurt so it’s great for warm-weather picnics. Just say no to food poisoning!
Orzo in my mind is the perfect pasta for two things, pasta salad and soup. I love it for pasta salad because you always get this wonderful bite of pasta with all the other ingredients, unlike a bigger pasta shape where you might just get a bite of pasta and nothing else. I love it in soup for sort of the same reasons, you get a little bit in each bite. And there are no long noodles to slurp! No one wants to be seen doing that. I love orzo in this quick and easy meatball soup and this creamy tomato soup with whole wheat orzo.
I’ll throw all my favorite orzo pasta salad recipe at you at the end of this post, including one of my go-to potluck/BBQ orzo salads, but let’s talk about this one first!
I brought this to a party at my parent’s house. I knew it would be a large crowd, and this makes plenty! It also has wide appeal, with no strange or unusual ingredients. Most everyone knows and loves bruschetta and this bruschetta orzo pasta salad is no different – it’s a hit! We even had some leftover and I’m happy to say that it tastes great leftover too.
I may or may not have eaten it alongside my scrambled eggs the next morning. Ben had fun with that one, but I always have loved a savory breakfast and I’m not embarrassed.
This orzo salad is so easy to make (which is another thing I like about it). I cook the pasta and stop the cooking and cool it down with cold water. While the pasta is cooking, you’ll mix together a few of the other ingredients (tomatoes, a few finely minced onions, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, GOOD olive oil, salt and pepper and let them mingle and all the great flavors to soak into the tomatoes.
That gets mixed into the cooled pasta and it’s finished with tons of fresh basil and shredded Parmesan cheese. It’s simple summer perfection and it doesn’t have mayonnaise or yogurt, so you can feel comfortable setting this out for a couple hours while people enjoy their food.
A few notes…
- I use white balsamic vinegar. You can definitely also use traditional balsamic vinegar, but it will change the color of this salad (I don’t like it when it turns brown).
- I soak my onions in ice water before adding them to the salad. It’s optional, but it takes the strength of them down a notch and prevents them from being overwhelming.
- I use a variety of colors of tomatoes because I think it looks pretty! It’s not required, all red is totally fine.
- I recommend using really high-quality, flavorful, extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe. Since it’s such a fresh, light salad, the flavor of the olive really shines through so using a great one will really make the flavors pop and elevate this orzo pasta salad from pretty good to outstanding.