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Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

Hi everyone, it’s Alyssa again from My Sequined Life with a pasta side dish just perfect for get-togethers (Mother’s Day, anyone?). To me, pasta salads signify warmer weather on the horizon. For one they’re usually not served warm so they have a refreshing quality to them, and they play nicely with other barbecue accoutrements. Some are creamy and some are tangy, but either way pasta salad is a favorite of mine. If you like more classic orzo, you have to try this recipe!

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad - an easy pasta salad with fresh basil, tomatoes, cannellini beans, and almonds.

This lemon orzo pasta salad isn’t creamy (in fact, it’s dairy-free), but it’s certainly flavorful and just right for spring/summer weather with lots of fresh basil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Chopped almonds, cannellini beans, and tomatoes are stirred into the mix for a little bit of crunch, protein, and veggie goodness. All you need to do is cook and drain the pasta, stir up the liquids, and and stir to combine everything. This recipe yields a fair amount of servings, making it a great dish to serve at a party, or you could even serve it as a main dish with chicken, shrimp, or your favorite protein over top. I’ve done that with grilled chicken and it instantly made me think ‘summer’!

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad - an easy pasta salad with fresh basil, tomatoes, cannellini beans, and almonds.

The great thing about pasta salads is that by and large they’re customizable. I used orzo here, but any sort of small shaped pastas would work, too. I’m thinking rotini, farfalle, even penne. The juice of three lemons are used here, but add as much (or as little) lemon juice as you like. I didn’t want the lemon to be too overpowering, but of course that’s all relative. Add enough to fit with your tastes! You can also sub in chickpeas for the cannellini beans (or omit entirely), add some chopped onion, etc.

What is Orzo Pasta?

Orzo, or sometimes called risoni, is a short-cut pasta resembling a long grain rice.

Can Orzo be Cooked in a Rice Cooker?

You can cook Orzo and other pastas in a rice cooker.

Just put dry pasta in cooker and add water to cover. (maybe add to 1/8-1/4 inch above pasta).

Add a little salt and about a tsp. oil and start cooker.

Remove from cooker just as it switches to “warm” to avoid browning on the bottom.

Is Orzo Healthier than Rice?

Orzo and rice have about the same carbohydrate content, but orzo has twice the protein.

Orzo can be used in place of rice in many recipes.

Looking for more delicious ORZO RECIPES?

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad - an easy pasta salad with fresh basil, tomatoes, cannellini beans, and almonds.

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

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Servings: 8 -10 servings


  • 16 oz. 1 lb. orzo pasta
  • Juice of 3 lemons more or less to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds chopped
  • 15 oz can of cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves chopped (or as much as you like!)


  • Add water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove top.
  • Once boiling, lightly salt the water and add orzo and stir.
  • Let pasta cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the pasta doesn't stick.
  • When pasta is to your preferred doneness, drain the water and add pasta to a bowl to cool.
  • You'll want to stir the pasta as it cools to ensure it doesn't stick together.
  • If it begins to stick, drizzle pasta with a little bit of olive oil and it should be fine.
  • In a separate bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine.
  • Pour over cooled orzo and stir to combine.
  • Add almonds, cannellini beans, and basil and stir to combine evenly.
  • Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • As the pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it is refrigerated, you may want to drizzle a little extra olive oil and lemon juice over top and stir in before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 332 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 9g
Sodium 99mg4%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 12g24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad - an easy pasta salad with fresh basil, tomatoes, cannellini beans, and almonds.

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