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Spicy Shrimp and Orzo Pasta Salad

Spicy Shrimp and Orzo Pasta Salad

Serves: 8

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


1 pound large shrimp, halved lengthwise
8 cups cooked and cooled orzo pasta
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced into rings
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil (see note)
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
3 tablespoons capers, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prepare a small pot of salted water and a separate bowl for an ice bath.

Place the halved shrimp in the boiling water and cook until the shrimp have turned from translucent to opaque, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shrimp with the orzo, tomatoes, olive oil, cucumber, chile, basil, parsley, capers and lemon juice and toss until the ingredients are well-coated with the oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

About the recipe

Great as a light lunch or a hearty side for an outdoor party, this summery pasta salad packs big flavor, mainly from the Fresno chile and fresh herbs. Unlike rotini, penne or farfalle — the most typical choices for pasta salad — orzo never becomes firm and gritty once cooled down. If you're going to prepare this salad in advance, wait to add the basil closer to the time you plan to serve it. The flavor will not be impacted, but you'll preserve the basil's bright green color.