Triple Tomato Basil Orzo Salad | Vegan

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeNFNut FreeVVegan

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This Triple Tomato Basil Orzo Salad is packed with fresh herbs and juicy tomato flavor! The perfect plant-based pasta salad for picnics, potlucks, or a light lunch.

This Triple Tomato Basil Orzo Salad is the perfect pasta salad for all your warm weather celebrations! Orzo gets tossed with fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, crunchy cucumbers, and hearty chickpeas for a wholesome and totally delicious side dish or light main.

Tomato Basil Orzo salad in white plate topped with black pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR ORZO SALAD

This orzo pasta salad is packed with summer produce! Definitely don’t skip the fresh basil,  but if you’re not a fan of arugula you can use baby spinach as well. If you’re gluten-free you can swap the orzo for gluten-free orzo, or another smaller gf pasta noodle of choice.

ingredients for tomato basil orzo salad in small bowls on marble background

“But what’s with the triple tomatoes?”

I’m glad you asked 😉 I wanted this recipe to be bursting with tomato flavor, so I incorporated tomatoes into this recipe in 3 different ways:

  1. Sun-dried Tomatoes: have an intense sweet and tart flavor that also add a lovely chewy texture to this salad. I like to purchase tomatoes that are packed in extra-virgin olive oil, and then use some of that oil in the dressing for even more tomato flavor.
  2. Fresh Tomatoes: add a fresh pop of sweet and juicy umami flavor! I like to use cherry tomatoes, but you could also chop of a larger beefsteak or heirloom tomato into bite-sized pieces as well.
  3. The Dressing: the dressing actually contains two tomato components – the extra liquid from the fresh tomatoes after salting, and the infused oil from the sun-dried tomatoes! This ensures that you get some yummy tomato flavor in every bite.

HOW TO MAKE TOMATO BASIL ORZO SALAD

side-by-side photos of salted tomatoes next to photo of dressing in a jar

This tomato bail pasta salad is perfect side dish for picnics or potlucks, but it can also double as a easy-to-meal-prep light lunch, too. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Toss the tomatoes with salt and pepper to draw out extra moisture, then set aside.
  2. Cook the orzo in salted water, then drain and rinse with cool water
  3. Shake all of the dressing ingredients together in a small mason jar
  4. Combine the tomatoes, orzo, chickpeas, herbs, and veggies in a large bowl, then add in the dressing and toss until well-combined.

You can serve this salad immediately, but if you have time I’d recommend letting it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, so the flavors combine further. I always like to top mine off with a little extra black pepper before serving!

close-up photo of tomato basil orzo salad after mixing

COOKING TIPS + FAQ:

  • How can I add more protein to this? Chickpeas add some plant protein and fiber to this, but you can beef it up more with a vegan chicken alternative, or even my Crispy Tofu!  
  • Add a crunch: stir in some pine nuts, or blanched almonds into this salad for an extra crunch and some healthy fat!
  • Spice it up: if you like things on the spicier side, add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the dressing for a little extra heat

Tomato Basil Orzo Salad in large serving bowl with wooden tongs

If you’re looking for more summer salad recipes, you’ll also love this Mediterranean Pasta Salad, this Everything Bagel Panzanella Salad, this Summer Peach & Chickpea Salad, and this Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta with Basil Gremolata!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Triple Tomato Orzo Salad | Vegan

This Triple Tomato Basil Orzo Salad is packed with fresh herbs and juicy tomato flavor! The perfect plant-based pasta salad for picnics, potlucks, or a light lunch.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 Minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

For the Salad:

  • 12 ounces (340 g) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) dry orzo
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 persian cucumber, thinly sliced (or 1/2 english cucumber)
  • 1/4 packed cup (60 g) sliced sun dried-tomatoes in oil (loosely packed)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained 
  • 1 cup (17 g; 0.6 oz) loosely packed basil, chopped 
  • 2 ounces (57 g) arugula (or sub baby spinach)

For the Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil* (I use the oil from the tomatoes; see note)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

Instructions

  1. Prep the Tomatoes: place the fresh tomatoes in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well; set aside while you prep the pasta and remaining ingredients. The salt will help to concentrate the tomato flavor! 
  2. Cook the Orzo: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add in the tablespoon of salt. Add the orzo to the pot and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.
  3. Make the Dressing: Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and optional lemon zest to the jar. Seal well and shake vigorously until emulsified; set aside.
  4. Assemble: Transfer the orzo to a large bowl, then add in the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, sun dried tomatoes, capers, and basil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well-combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. 
  5. Serve: Serve immediately, or place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and serve cold. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Olive Oil: I like to purchase tomatoes packed in olive oil, and then using the oil in the vinaigrette for an extra boost of flavor! I usually do a 50-50 blend with regular olive oil

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. This is delicious. Used the oil from the tomatoes as suggested no it was so goo! Definitely will make again.

  2. Very summery. I really like the idea of using both sundried tomatoe oil and olive oil and they indeed made the flavor richer.

  3. This was excellent! I couldn’t find gluten free orzo, so I used quinoa. Everyone loved this! I’ll definitely add this into the rotation!

  4. I used quinoa instead since I didn’t have any other protein source. It was delicious!