Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Shrimp

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This healthy and delicious mediterranean orzo pasta salad is made with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, grilled cherry tomatoes and shrimp. A flavorful, fresh basil pesto dressing ties all the components together and the recipe takes no more than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

A plate with Mediterranean orzo pasta salad and fresh basil leaves.

This post was originally published on Feb. 11, 2020.

For more mediterranean flavors, check out this Mediterranean Chicken Salad and this Dolmas Salad with Roasted Cauliflower Rice.

Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredients:

All ingredients needed to make Mediterranean orzo pasta salad on a marble kitchen counter.
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided – you’ll need 3 tablespoons for the pesto dressing and 1 tablespoon to brush on the shrimp.
  • 2 tablespoons Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, very finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
  • 10 cherry tomatoes – rather than adding the tomatoes raw, they are grilled to intensify their flavor. Along with the kalamata olives, the grilled tomatoes add enough acidity for this salad so that there is no need for any lemon juice or vinegar in the dressing.
  • 10 shrimp, raw
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (see recipe note)
  • 5 kalamata olives
  • 2 artichoke hearts

RECIPE NOTE: If you don’t have sumac on hand, you can leave it out. I like to use it because of its extra umami flavor and also because of its health benefits.

How to make mediterranean orzo pasta salad:

Step 1. Cook the orzo pasta in boiling water according to package instructions, then drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Set aside.

Cooked orzo pasta in a colander.

Step 2. Chop the basil leaves finely, then add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the cheese, nuts, garlic and salt.

Basil pesto ingredients in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 3. Mix the dressing ingredients together.

Basil pesto in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 4. Stir the pasta into the dressing.

Orzo pasta with pesto dressing in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 5. Roughly chop the artichoke hearts and the olives and stir them in.

Orzo pasta salad in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 6. Brush the remaining tablespoon of olive oil onto the shrimp, then sprinkle the sumac powder over them. Skewer the shrimp and the cherry tomatoes and grill on a grill or a grill pan until cooked through (4 – 5 minutes on each side). Let them cool a bit, then stir them into the salad.

Grilled shrimp and grilled cherry tomatoes on a metal baking tray.

Step 7. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.

How to store this pasta salad:

You can cover the salad and keep it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Be sure to let it come up to room temperature before serving.

More delicious salads:

A plate with Mediterranean orzo pasta salad and fresh basil leaves.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Shrimp

This fresh and healthy mediterranean orzo pasta salad has artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, grilled cherry tomatoes and grilled shrimp all mixed together with a flavorful basil pesto dressing.
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
Total Time:30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: basil pesto dressing, mediterranean orzo pasta salad, pasta salad with grilled shrimp
Servings: 2
Calories (estimated): 761kcal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 10 shrimp, raw
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac*
  • 5 kalamata olives
  • 2 artichoke hearts

Instructions:

  • Cook the orzo pasta according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water, then set aside.
  • Finely chop the basil leaves, then mix them with 3 tablespoons oil, the cheese, the pine nuts, the garlic and the salt.
  • Mix the orzo pasta into the basil pesto. Set aside.
  • Roughly chop the olives and the artichoke hearts and mix into the salad.
  • Brush the shrimp with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the sumac on them.
  • Thread the shrimp and the cherry tomatoes onto skewers, then grill them on a grill or on a grill pan until cooked through (4 to 5 minutes on each side). Let cool a bit.
  • Cut the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and mix them along with the tomatoes into the salad. Serve the salad at room temperature.

Notes:

*If you don’t have sumac on hand, you can simply leave it out.

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A plate with Mediterranean orzo pasta salad and fresh basil leaves.

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