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Caprese Orzo Pasta

Caprese orzo pasta is loaded with juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and chopped fresh basil. It is light, fresh and perfect for spring!

Adding orzo pasta to the classic caprese ingredients makes this a great side dish or a delectable light lunch. I’m always looking to liven things up when it comes to lunch time! Plus, we are all about caprese flavors — see our caprese sandwich or our balsamic caprese chicken.

A serving bowl of orzo caprese salad. It is loaded with tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Parmesan cheese, salt, and tomatoes are next to the bowl of orzo.

Our kids love helping us in the kitchen and this is a great recipe to get the whole family involved. Even our 5-year-old can cook up a batch of orzo. We put our oldest on the basil and our second on the tomatoes and mozzarella and this caprese salad is done in no time! It is simple, healthy and the flavors are flawless!

What Ingredients Go in Caprese Orzo Pasta?

When you hear caprese, you know your usual suspects, but there are couple of other ingredients that go into this pasta dish. Here is your shopping list:

  • Orzo
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Broth
  • Thyme (fresh)
  • Basil (fresh)
  • Mozzarella (buffalo or pearls)
  • Tomatoes
  • Parmesan
  • Pepper
  • Salt

A bowl of caprese orzo salad. There are tomatoes and mozzarella chunks and fresh green basil in the salad.

How to Make Caprese Orzo Pasta

We have gone through the basic steps, but here is the whole process in a little more detail. For the complete recipe, see the recipe card below.

  1. Orzo – This recipe starts by toasting the dry orzo. We’ve found this really takes the flavor over the top. Then add the garlic and thyme. The orzo is cooked in chicken broth for even more flavor.
    • PRO TIP: Thyme isn’t a typical caprese flavor, but it adds a flavor that we love in this pasta salad!
  2. Caprese – Once the orzo has absorbed most of the water and it is tender, its time to add all the caprese stars – cheese, tomatoes and basil. Then salt and pepper to taste and dig in!

Caprese orzo salad packed with tomatoes, mozzarella chunks and fresh basil.

What is Caprese?

Caprese is an Italian dish made from fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and sweet basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil, occasionally paired with arugula. It can be eaten as a salad or on a sandwich.

A serving bowl of caprese orzo salad. The salad contains tomatoes, mozzarella chuncks and fresh basil. A few basil leaves, tomatoes and a small container of oil are sitting by the salad.

Is Orzo Pasta Or Rice?

I feel like orzo isn’t as well know as it should be. Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta. So it is a pasta that eats like rice but takes substantially less time to cook. It’s a winner that should be used more in my humble opinion!

Caprese orzo salad in a larch serving bowl. There are bright red tomatoes, fresh green basil and chunks of mozzarella cheese. A few tomatoes, a brick of parmesan cheese, and a container of salt are on the table by the salad.

How to Cook Orzo Pasta?

We like to toast the dry orzo first to really heighten the flavor of the cooked pasta. After toasting it for a minute or so in olive oil, add your liquid (water works great, but use a broth for even more flavor). Let it come to a boil and then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
 

A bowl of caprese orzo salad. The salad has tomatoes, mozzarella chunks and fresh basil leave in it. A container of fresh ground pepper and a few parsley leaves are next to the salad.

How Do You Know When Orzo Is Done?

Orzo takes about 10 minutes to cook.

It is done when it has a firm, chewy texture.

How Long Will Orzo Keep?

Cooked orzo will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

A close-up of caprese orzo salad. It has red tomatoes, fresh green basil, and chunks of mozzarella cheese.

Are Tomatoes Good For You?

I am obsessed with tomatoes, especially tomatoes fresh from the garden. We don’t have a spot in our backyard for a garden which makes me the saddest, but my parents have a huge garden. When we go to visit in the summer, we always return with tons of fresh produce including all kinds of tomatoes.

Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. They are also high in antioxidants.

A bowl of caprese orzo salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella chunks and fresh basil. A few basil leaves are on the table next to the pasta.

Caprese orzo pasta is going to be your new favorite dish this spring! I’m having it for lunch this week. My kids are whipping it up. We will have it for dinner, and then I’ll be eating the leftovers for lunch. It keeps great in the refrigerator too, so I can eat it several days in a row! Three cheers for CAPRESE!

A serving bowl of caprese orzo salad. There are tomatoes, mozzarella chunks and fresh basil leaves in the salad. Another bowl of salad, a container of ground pepper, and a few parsley leaves are on the table next to the bowl.

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A bowl of caprese orzo salad. The salad has tomatoes, mozzarella chunks and fresh basil leave in it. A container of fresh ground pepper and a few parsley leaves are next to the salad.

Caprese Orzo Pasta

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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 4
This easy caprese orzo pasta recipe is light, fresh and perfect for spring.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Orzo Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme leaves fresh
  • 1/4 Cup Basil Fresh, chopped
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella buffalo, or mozzarella pearls
  • 1 Cup Tomatoes
  • 2/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese grated, plus more for garnish
  • Cracked Pepper fresh, to taste
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and pasta.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 30-60 seconds.
  • Add garlic and stir it in followed by thyme.
  • Add the broth, a small amount at a time.
  • Bring to a boil, cover the skillet with a lid and turn down to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed most of the water and is tender.
  • Add the cheeses, tomatoes, basil and salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Notes

Left overs can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Nutrition Facts
Caprese Orzo Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 408 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 1093mg48%
Potassium 391mg11%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 733IU15%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Calcium 370mg37%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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A serving bowl of orzo caprese salad. It is loaded with tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Parmesan cheese, salt, and tomatoes are next to the bowl of orzo.

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Must Have Patriotic Foods for This 4th of July! 🇺🇸

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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4 comments

  • I made this the other day with salmon and it was sooo delicious! I’ve been loving the leftovers. I will definitely be making this again! Thanks!!

    • Reply
    • Thank you Heather! Love to hear this!!

      • Reply
  • will be making this soon can i use vegan mozzarella and parmesan and vegetable broth as am a vegan i love pasta sooooooooooo much perfect for my after office meals will dm you guys if i make this and let you guys know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    • Reply
    • Enjoy!!

      • Reply

Must Have Patriotic Foods for This 4th of July! 🇺🇸