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Classic Italian orzo pasta salad, complete with a homemade dressing and mini pepperonis. This traditional American pasta salad is great with an orzo pasta twist. 

Italian Pasta Salad in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it.

Italian pasta salad is a classic American dish, despite sneaking the word Italian in the title. It can be found at potlucks and picnics across the United States all summer long. It’s often made with bottled dressings and spiral noodles, but today I’ve taken this classic dish and given it a bit of a modern update. Orzo pasta is utilized to give it a fresh twist, and a homemade dressing gives this pasta a tasty, clean finish.

You really can’t go wrong with pasta salad. This particular recipe has all my favorite goodies including mini pepperonis and fresh mozzarella cheese. I’m telling you, that mozzarella cheese makes all the difference. It gives the salad such a fresh and clean taste.

This dish is perfect for potlucks and picnics. As part of National Picnic Day I’ve also included a roundup of more great picnic recipes from some of my favorite blogging friends. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to check out all of those tasty recipes.

Be sure to watch the video recipe to see all the steps to this recipe. Besides teaching you how to make the recipe, it’ll also make you hungry.

Italian Pasta Salad in a white bowl.
Italian Pasta Salad in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it.
Classic Italian orzo pasta salad, complete with a homemade dressing and mini pepperonis. This traditional American pasta salad is great with an orzo pasta twist.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 4 ounces sliced black olives
  • 4 ounces mini pepperonis
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pepperocinis
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cubed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
Instructions
  • Cook orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Combine cooked orzo with olives, pepperonis, bell pepper, pepperocinis, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
  • Dress the pasta salad by pouring in olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, parsley, pepper, and basil.
  • Stir to combine. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve cold.
Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 949mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Vitamin C: 25.4mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Orzo Pasta Salad
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Robyn Brandt
May 11, 2019 7:48 pm

So the white vinegar is it distilled or white basaltic vinegar?

June 19, 2016 2:35 pm

Two things I love so much about this – 1 homemade dressing, it looks so fresh and flavorful and 2 orzo! Genius! I love orzo pasta but haven’t tried it in a pasta salad. Definitely perfect for a picnic!

May 10, 2020 10:40 pm

5 stars
Great recipe-easy, light but deep flavor. Used ditalini instead of orzo and worked out well

June 20, 2016 9:48 am

5 stars
I’ve never tried orzo, but this salad makes me want to. It looks delicious! I love that you use homemade dressing!

June 18, 2016 7:46 pm

4 stars
Oooo! This looks so good!

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