Overhead view of Vegan Lemon Basil Orzo Salad by Joyful Balance

Lemon Basil Orzo Salad

Hello again, my chickpeas! I realized recently that many of my recipes fall into one of two categories: pasta or tex mex. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these, I figured I should mix it up some and give you a new genre! So today we are making one of my favorite summer dishes: my Lemon Basil Orzo Salad!

The dressing for this salad is one of my absolute favorite things – I’ve made it before for other salads as well! You just can’t go wrong with lemon and basil in my book.

The salad itself is fresh and colorful and just reminds me of summertime. I love this as a side salad, but I’ll also eat a big bowl of it for lunch sometimes! I hope you try this one out!


A break down of our fresh and delicious ingredients:

  • Orzo – I love using orzo for this, but you could use any pasta you wanted!
  • Great Northern beans – adding these to our salad makes it a bit more filling and adds some interesting texture and an extra flavor.
  • Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and bell pepper – every salad needs some veggies! The cherry tomatoes in this are my favorite – I love the way they pair with the dressing.
  • Parsley – I love adding at least one herb to my salads, and this is my choice for this one!
  • Avocado (optional) – I personally love adding avocado for the creaminess of it’s texture, but it’s also delicious without if avocados aren’t your thing!
  • Lemon juice – the best part of the dressing, if you ask me! I honestly sometimes add a little extra lemon because I love the taste so much.
  • Basil – the other important component of our dressing! Basil provides a great mix of sweet and savory flavors, and it makes our dressing a beautiful green color!
  • Tahini, maple syrup, garlic, and pine nuts – These all give us the flavor and consistency that our dressing is looking for! I particularly love the nuttiness from the pine nuts.

How to Make Lemon Basil Orzo Salad

This one is pretty straight forward! As always, keep scrolling for the full recipe.

  1. Cook your orzo and chop your veggies
  2. Blend your dressing
  3. Combine!

Tips & Tricks

  • This salad is easily customizable, so have fun with it! One idea would be to switch out the orzo for another type of pasta – If you want a more traditional “pasta salad” look, then I recommend fusilli or penne!
  • Similarly, you could also switch out the Great Northern beans for chickpeas!
  • If the veggies listed aren’t speaking to you, these are also able to be switched out! The ones listed in the recipe are my favorite combination, but feel free to use whatever veggies are in your fridge. 
  • One time when testing this I happened to have some vegan mozzarella so I also added cubes of it to the salad when serving for a fun little addition. Feel free to try this yourself if you have some vegan cheese in your fridge!
  • As always, adjust the dressing to taste! If you want it creamier, add a bit more tahini. If you want even more lemon, add more lemon juice. Want more nuttiness? Try some extra pine nuts. Have fun!
  • If you’re looking for something yummy to pair this with, check out my black bean burger!
  • If you’re in the mood for more of a bean salad rather than an orzo/pasta salad, check out my cowboy caviar!


Lemon Basil Orzo Salad

Recipe by Delaney Romero – Joyful BalanceCourse: Sides, Lunch, SaladsCuisine: Greek Inspired


From Start to Finish



This Lemon Basil Orzo Salad is the perfect side dish or light lunch for summer! Fresh and flavorful, and simple to make!

*Note that the “From Start to Finish” time includes chopping all veggies AND completing recipe directions


  • Orzo Salad:
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

  • 1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1.5 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced (or about 3/4 cup sliced cucumbers)

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced

  • 1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped

  • optional: 1 avocado, diced

  • Lemon Basil Dressing:
  • Juice from 2 medium lemons (about 4-6 Tablespoons)

  • 2 cups basil

  • 2 Tbsp tahini

  • 1.5 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts

  • 3 Tbsp water

  • pinch of salt


  • Cook your orzo according to package directions. When it’s done cooking, drain it and let it sit in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Combine your Great Northern beans, cherry tomatoes, mini cucumber slices, red onion, bell pepper, and parsley in a large bowl (I recommend leaving off the optional avocado until the very end, so don’t add this yet!). Stir to combine.
  • Add all ingredients for the lemon basil dressing to a blender, with the basil on the bottom so that it’s closest to the blades. Blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • Add your orzo to the rest of the salad ingredients and mix to combine. Pour in your dressing and mix to combine again, ensuring that all your veggies and orzo are evenly coated.
  • If desired, add optional avocado. (Diced avocado won’t last as long in the fridge as the rest of your salad. If you expect to have leftovers, I recommend adding the avocado to the individual servings just before eating so that leftovers being stored don’t include any avocado and will last longer). Enjoy!

Happy cooking, friends! If you made this recipe don’t forget to tag me (@joyfulbalanceofficial) on facebook or instagram so I can cheer you on for your salad-making ways.

Stay Joyfully Balanced!


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