Simply Summer: Fresh basil and tomato orzo salad with parmesan

A seasonal pasta salad using orzo, basil and tomatoes makes the perfect side dish for any BBQ!

You loved Dinner S.O.S., so we’re joining with our friends Ceri and Laura of Sweet Potato Chronicles once again for a brand new web series, Simply Summer! From refreshing drinks, to delicious and filling salads, to a frosty dessert your whole family will love, Simply Summer is all about luscious seasonal ingredients prepared simply. Dig in and enjoy!

Everyone knows that pasta salad is a favourite side dish at any summer BBQ! Add a little flair to your pasta salad using orzo and fresh, seasonal ingredients such as basil and tomatoes! You’ll be making this delicious orzo salad for the rest of the summer!

Fresh basil and tomato orzo salad with parmesan 


  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • 25 fresh basil leaves, var­i­ous sizes
  • 1 shal­lot, cut into quar­ters
  • 2 cloves gar­lic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 tea­spoon honey
  • salt
  • 1 table­spoon water
  • 1 cup halved cherry toma­toes
  • 1 cup shaved parme­san cheese
  • 5 mint leaves chopped



Cook orzo pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Place basil leaves, shallot, garlic, oil, lemon zest and juice, honey and salt in a blender. You can also use an immersion blender. Add water. Then mix dressing into pasta. Add cherry tomatoes and parme­san and stir. Sprinkle fresh chopped mint in and blend.

I’ve also tried this recipe using feta cheese but it makes it a bit more salty. I also love subbing chopped sun dried tomatoes since they are my favourite way to eat tomatoes. However you craft this easy pasta, it always packs up nice providing you can find the right container and its matching lid.

Two other great grain salads from Sweet Potato Chronicles:

Whole grain Israeli couscous pilaf

Adzuki bean and brown rice salad

And for your dinnertime solutions, be sure to check out our last series with Sweet Potato Chronicles: Dinner S.O.S

Photo credit Maya Visnyei