Light and flavorful Orzo Pasta Salad is so easy to make with orzo pasta, fresh cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, arugula, and basil, all tossed in a delicious lemon vinaigrette. This healthy 30-minute vegan main course or side dish option is perfect for meal prep and great for potlucks and picnics!

I’ll be making this one on repeat all season long! Orzo pasta salad with lemon vinaigrette is a must make for all of your spring and summer gatherings. It’s fresh, flavorful, and the whole thing can be put together effortlessly in just 30 minutes.

I love a tasty pasta salad this time of year (or really anytime of year) and this one is my new favorite. It’s packed with great flavors and textures, yet is easy enough to be thrown together at a moment’s notice. As an added plus, you can serve it as a side or a full plant-based meal. It’s sure to be your new favorite too!

What is orzo?

Orzo is a type of short cut pasta that resembles grains of rice, only a tad bit bigger. You can find orzo in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store. Orzo is cooked just as most pasta is – boiled in salted water. You can use orzo like you would rice or in a variety of salad and soup recipes. If you’ve never tried orzo, do yourself a favor and add this recipe to your dinner menu this week!

orzo pasta salad topped with chickpeas and cherry tomatoes

Ingredients in this orzo salad:

This recipe uses simple, easy-to-find ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. Here’s the lineup:

  • Chickpeas. one of my favorite salad ingredients that adds texture and plant-based protein.
  • Olive oil. for cooking the chickpeas.
  • Orzo. the star of the show!
  • Arugula. the perfect green element in this lemon orzo salad.
  • Cherry tomatoes. for juicy bursts of freshness in every bite.
  • Basil. julienned basil finishes this salad with that special something.
  • Lemon Vinaigrette. a simple mix of olive oil, dijon, lemon and herbs, that can be tossed together in minutes.
ingredients needed for orzo pasta salad with chickpeas

How to make it:

This orzo salad recipe is so simple to make and it comes together easily – while the chickpeas are roasting get the orzo cooking, and then you can prepare the vegetables and whisk together the vinaigrette. Below is a quick breakdown of how to prepare this recipe:

  • Prepare the chickpeas. Toss in olive oil and cook until golden brown and crisp.
  • Cook the orzo according to package instructions.
  • Make the vinaigrette by adding all of the ingredients to a mason jar and shaking until combined or add them to a small bowl and whisk.
  • Chop the vegetables and toss them together with the cooked orzo and chickpeas.
  • Top with lemon vinaigrette and toss together. Serve and enjoy!
mixing ingredients together for orzo pasta salad

Customize it:

This salad is SO good as-is, but you can easily add other ingredients to the mix to customize the flavors to your tastes or use up ingredients you have in your kitchen.

  • Protein. Tofu or tempeh would be delicious in this salad! If you aren’t concerned with keeping this salad vegan, you can add cooked chicken, shrimp or fish.
  • Beans. Feel free to substitute the chickpeas with another favorite variety of beans. Some great choices include kidney beans or Great Northern beans.
  • Veggies. Try adding more vegetables, such as marinated artichoke hearts, zucchini, bell peppers or corn.
  • Herbs. Swap out the basil for fresh parsley, dill or another favorite herb.

How long does the salad last?

Orzo salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to about 3 days. Cover the bowl of salad tightly with foil or plastic wrap, or you can transfer the salad to a resealable container. Before serving again, give it a good stir, taste and season again as needed.

lemon orzo salad served on a white dinner plate with a fork

This orzo pasta salad is so tasty and easy to make. Perfect for a lighter lunch or healthy side dish. You’re going to love this addition to spring and summer meals!

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

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orzo pasta salad topped with chickpeas and tomatoes

Orzo Pasta Salad

  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Orzo Pasta Salad is so easy to make and works as a vegan main course or side dish. Perfect for meal prep and great for potlucks and picnics!



For the Salad

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 ounces dried orzo
  • 2 cups arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 cup basil, julienned 

For the Vinaigrette 

  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard 
  • ½ lemon, juiced (~3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1 garlic clove, grated 
  • ⅓ cup olive oil 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.*
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  3. Place the chickpeas on a baking sheet and cook until golden brown– about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  5. Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. 
  6. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together all of the ingredients.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, orzo, chickpeas, tomatoes, and basil. 
  8. Top with lemon vinaigrette and gently mix together. Serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 


*You can also make the chickpeas in the air fryer following THESE directions.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: salad
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 490
  • Sugar: 3.3 g
  • Sodium: 733.2 mg
  • Fat: 17.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 69.5 g
  • Protein: 14.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Orzo Salad, orzo salad recipe, lemon orzo salad