This quick and easy orzo salad with chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, and pesto is a tasty side dish or meal prep recipe. This is the perfect summer orzo salad recipe. 

A bowl of pesto orzo salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and fresh basil.

If you’re looking for summer pasta salad or orzo recipes, here is one to print or save for later. Pesto orzo salad is a light and flavorful summer salad that is great for meal prep or bringing to parties.


Orzo pasta is a traditional staple in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in Greece and Italy. Traditinoal orzo recipes include Pasta e Ceci, Pastina Soup, Rice Pilaf, Orzo Risotto.

Though it’s shaped like rice, orzo is actually just a small pasta. It is tasty hot or cold and works well as the base of a pasta salad. 


Bowls of the ingredients for making a pesto orzo salad. Clockwise from the top: cucumber and tomatoes, chickpeas, red onion, pesto, and dry orzo pasta.

This orzo salad combines traditional Italian ingredients for a well-rounded meal. Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. Use canned or cook them from dried on the stove or in your Instant Pot

Cucumbers and tomatoes are summer staples and add freshness to this salad, which pesto adds tons of flavor. 


Making homemade pesto is as simple as blending a few ingredients together in a food processor. You can play around with the ingredients and make a tasty Traditional or Vegan Pesto if you’d like.

However, store-bought pesto is just fine. I recommend a refrigerated option like Trader Joe’s or Le Grand, rather than a shelf-stable jarred pesto as the flavors are much fresher. Be sure to use a vegan pesto if needed. 


A saucepan filled with orzo and water.

Orzo is cooked just like any other pasta. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add some salt and boil until cooked al dente. Drain in a fine mesh sieve and then rinse with cool water to stop cooking. 


Cooked orzo, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and pesto are tossed together with wooden spoons in a white salad bowl to make a pesto orzo salad.

There are many ways to make orzo pasta salad, so feel free to make this your own by adding your favorite ingredients. Once the orzo pasta is drained and cooled, add in veggies, legumes, and pesto or vinaigrette. A red wine vinaigrette like the one in this Greek Chickpea Salad works well. 

A bowl filled with a delicious pesto orzo salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil.


  • Ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls) for a Caprese-style orzo salad
  • 1/2 cup halved pitted kalamata olives 
  • 1/4 cup drained capers 
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper 
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh spinach 
  • Diced or crumbled feta cheese 


This recipe can be used as a main dish for lunch or a side for dinner. For dinner, you might like to add some additional protein such as Mediterranean Grilled Tofu, Halloumi or a piece of Feta, or shrimp. 

Mediterranean-inspired orzo salad also works well as a pot-luck recipe as it can be made hours in advance and can be served cold. 

A close-up photo of summer orzo salad with pesto, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, and basil. A delicious vegan pasta salad.


Yield: 4 servings

Orzo Pasta Salad with Pesto and Chickpeas

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes

Looking for orzo recipes? This easy orzo salad is made with orzo pasta, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and pesto. It is a wonderful summer orzo salad loaded with flavor and easy to make vegan.

A white bowl filled with pesto orzo pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, basil, cucumber, and chickpeas.


  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1.5 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Persian cucumber, diced
  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup pesto (more to taste)
  • Fresh basil for garnish


  1. Cook the orzo in boiling salted water, according to the package instructions, for about 10 minutes. A small saucepan filled with water and orzo pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, dice the red onion, half the cherry tomatoes, slice the cucumber, and drain and rinse the chickpeas. The ingredients for orzo salad around a white bowl. The orzo pasta salad ingredients include pesto, cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, and diced red onion..
  3. Once cooked, drain the orzo and rinse with cold water to remove the excess starch, cool it down, and stop it from sticking to itself.
  4. Mix the orzo and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well combined and coated in the pesto. Ingredients for orzo salad are about to be mixed together with wooden spoons in a white bowl.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy! This summer orzo pesto salad can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or cold. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. A close-up photo of orzo salad with pesto, basil, cucumber, chickpeas, and tomatoes.


Pesto pasta salad will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Use vegan pesto if needed.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 272mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.