Orzo Pasta Salad

This orzo pasta salad with broccoli, bell pepper, red onion, fresh herbs, and chickpeas is a great warm-weather side dish for BBQs and potlucks. It’s tossed in a lemon mustard vinaigrette, making it a fresh and light summer side dish for grilled steak, chicken, or seafood. Make it ahead to let all the flavors marry together and serve it cold or at room temperature.

orzo salad in a serving dish.

If it’s summertime, it’s pasta salad time, and this orzo pasta salad is an old favorite. It’s light and veggie-packed with some chickpeas mixed in. It’s held together with a sunny lemon mustard vinaigrette that’s tangy and fresh. It’s like summer! In a bowl! In other words, a go-to potluck, BBQ, picnic, or just because pasta salad.

It’s also versatile, so make it as written or try some of the variations listed at the end of the post. There are lots of possibilities with this one, friends, and I think you’re gonna love it.

orzo pasta salad in a bowl with a wooden spoon.


  • Dijon mustard
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Broccoli florets
  • Orzo – This is a small pasta shape that looks like rice. It’s great in this salad!
  • Red bell pepper, finely diced
  • Finely chopped red onion
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chickpeas

How to Make Orzo Salad

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until combined.

Boil the broccoli florets for two minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Scoop them out of the pot an into an ice bath – this will stop the cooking process. Once they are cool, drain them and chop them up into smaller pieces.

Boil the orzo in the same pot (you don’t need to change the water). Cook it until al dente, following the package instructions. Drain it and set it aside.

Place the chopped broccoli, bell pepper, red onion, chopped parsley, chickpeas, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until well combined. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.

overhead shot of the salad in a bowl.

Storage Tips

This is a great salad to make ahead – chilling it overnight allows all of the flavors to meld, so it tastes even better. That said, you can serve it right away, too – it’s great at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of pasta, try making this salad with cooked rice or quinoa – I think both would work great!
  • Feel free to toss in other herbs like fresh basil, chives, fresh dill, or cilantro.
  • Other veggies are right at home in this salad – try chopped artichoke hearts, garlic, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, or sliced kalamata olives.
  • Mix in some cheese like crumbled feta cheese or shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • If you’d like to make it a main course, add some diced grilled chicken or shrimp to make it more filling.

Don’t miss this summer favorite – I hope you love it as much as I do ♥️

Happy Cooking,

orzo pasta salad in a shallow serving dish.

More Pasta Salad Recipes

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe, along with your recipe star rating.


Orzo Pasta Salad

orzo pasta salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.6 from 5 reviews

This orzo pasta salad is light and summery and a great side dish for BBQs and potlucks because it’s delicious served cold or at room temperature. It’s is full of fresh broccoli, red bell pepper, red onion, and chickpeas and is dressed with a lemony Dijon vinaigrette. 

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American



For the Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the Salad

  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 (16-ounce can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until combined. 
  2. Blanch the Broccoli: Place ice cubes and water in a medium-sized bowl. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and boil them for 2 minutes. Use a large slotted spoon, scoop them out of the water, and submerge them in the bowl with the ice and water to stop the cooking process. Drain them and set them aside. 
  3. Boil the Orzo: In the same pot that you used to boil the broccoli, boil the orzo. There’s no need to change the water, just be sure to bring it back to a rolling boil before adding the pasta. Cook the orzo according to package directions.
  4. Assemble the Salad:  Drain the orzo and transfer it to a large bowl. Chop the cooled broccoli florets into small pieces. Place the broccoli, bell pepper, red onion, chopped parsley, chickpeas, and lemon juice in the bowl with the pasta. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until well combined. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.


This salad tastes even better if you make it a few hours in advance. Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Leftovers will keep for several days, too.


  • Calories: 258
  • Sugar: 6.2g
  • Sodium: 368.1mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5h
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.1g
  • Fiber: 5.6g
  • Protein: 7.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Recipe, photos, and post updated from the archives. First published in May 2016.


  1. Recipe is great! The dijon mustard is listed on the ingredients but not incorporated in the recipe. We whisked it in with the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice , then added the oil and it turned out great. (We preferred a little more mustard than listed). Nice light, quick, yummy summer side dish!

    1. Oh, thank you for pointing that out! Yes, the mustard is combined with the lemon and balsamic 🙂 So, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing your adjustments!

  2. Hiii….!!

    This is Neeraj from F and B Stories. First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing such a delicious recepie, the recepie is amazing, delicious, and yumm….!!
    it looks soo simple & dijon mustard is listed on the ingredients was superb…..

    keep sharing
    cheers 🙂

  3. Hi April! Great recipe! Inspired by you, I’ve started my own blog and would be honoured to know what you think.

  4. I live in Ontario Canada, so product names are different. But I am wondering about a brand of tortellini that is actually good to eat.? Thanking you.

    1. I use several brands and I find most of them are the same – I like frozen cheese tortellini because it cooks really fast – usually less than five minutes.

  5. It’s like summer in a bowl! So pretty, too. Thanks for your suggestion about other veggies-I used red, yellow, orange peppers and the cucumber and tomato idea and it is so tasty, this salad makes me happy.

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