Recipes · Salads, Sides & Sauces

Giada’s Tri-Colore Orzo Pasta Salad

My sister LOVES Giada De Laurentiis! Because of my sister, several of Giada’s recipes are now staples in our house.  The first time I had this pasta salad, my sister made it and brought it to a party. It was delicious. Since then I have made it dozens of times. Everyone always loves it.  It is light and refreshing and tastes like summer.

I have found that this pasta salad goes perfectly with grilled salsiccia. This combo is great for lunch, dinner and fun to serve at a party.  I pile the orzo into the middle of a platter and surround it with salsiccia. If I’m serving a lot of people I will cut the salsiccia into chunks; it will serve more people that way.

If you want to make the pasta salad exactly as Giada does, click here. I make a couple minor tweaks but I think they make it a little easier and a little tastier.  Oh, and don’t forget you need to use toasted pine nuts for this recipe.

Image 5-27-16 at 8.31 PM (13)


Tri-Colore Orzo Pasta Salad

Great as a light, refreshing side dish or main course!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta Salad
Servings: 8 as a side dish
Author: Emily ~ Garlic & Olive Oil


  • 1 lb Orzo Pasta
  • ¼ c Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 c Arugula about 3 oz
  • ¾ c crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ½ c Dried Cherries
  • 12 Basil Leaves torn
  • ½ c Pine Nuts toasted
  • 3 T fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add a large amount of salt and cook the Orzo until al dente (about 8 minutes).
  • This is probably the only time I will ever say this but … drain the pasta and rinse it thoroughly in cold water.
  • Put the rinsed orzo into a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour in the olive oil and toss.
  • Tear the arugula a bit with your hands and add to the bowl.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and toss everything together.


Make Ahead: I often make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. If you make it early, brighten it up right before serving with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil, toss again and serve.
Vegan: This pasta salad is great to serve people who follow a vegan diet; just put the cheese on the side.  I made half a recipe as a main course when my friend Leslie came over and we polished off the whole thing, just the two of us.  Oops.


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