Fresh and light Lemon Basil Orzo Salad with blackened sweet corn, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and a flavorful lemon vinaigrette. Vegan and made with simple, healthy ingredients, this pasta salad is hearty enough to be a main dish but also goes great as a side . Perfect for a summer BBQ or lunch on the go.
In my opinion, pasta salads are one of the best summer meals. They’re quick, easy and taste even better after a day or two in the fridge. This lemon basil orzo salad has all the summer flavors with a little smokiness from the grilled sweet corn and freshness from the cherry tomatoes and basil.
How to Make Lemon Basil Orzo Salad
Start by grilling the vegetables. Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan to medium heat. If you have a grill thermometer, this is ideally anywhere from 400-500º F. Brush the zucchini and corn with some olive oil and season with salt.
When the grill is hot, place the corn directly on the grates. Close the hood and cook until charred, turning occasionally. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Halfway through, throw the zucchini on beside the corn. Cook that for about 3-5 minutes per side or until you have some nice grill marks and the zucchini is tender but not mushy. Transfer the veggies to plate and let them cool while you prepare the other ingredients for the lemon basil orzo salad.
Next, cook the orzo in heavily salted water according to the package directions. Do not overcook the orzo! Start tasting about 2-3 minutes before the indicated cook time. The grains should be tender, but still have a nice bite to them.
While the pasta cooks, make the vinaigrette. Super simple and easy, mainly lemon juice, and olive oil, plus a touch of honey to bring out the sweetness of the corn. Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.
Drain the orzo and briefly run it under cold water to prevent it from getting mushy. Transfer everything to a bowl and immediately toss with the dressing. Chop up your grilled zucchini and cut the corn off the cob. Add the cherry tomatoes, a handful of chopped basil and mint plus a crumble of feta if you want. Toss it all together and that’s it! Serve right away or let sit in the fridge for up to three days for the flavors to really meld together.
Tips for Making Lemon Basil Orzo Salad
- To made this lemon basil orzo salad a more complete meal, I recommend adding a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or serving alongside some grilled chicken.
- If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan instead. It won’t have the same smoky flavor and may take slightly longer, but still works!
- To make this lemon basil orzo salad vegan, simply substitute the honey for maple syrup and use dairy free feta cheese or omit entirely.
More Recipes to Try:
- Grilled honey mustard chicken salad
- Spicy coconut lime curry with crispy tofu
- Toasted lemon pepper orzo with crispy chickpeas
- Honey BBQ salmon tacos with mango slaw