Shrimp Orzo Salad

This is a main dish summer pasta salad, featuring one of the cutest of pasta shapes, orzo. Like little grains of rice…only — surprise — pasta!

It’s gorgeous and summery and filled with color and texture and a perfect way to make a warm weather afternoon feel awfully special. Multi colored cherry tomatoes add even more vibrancy if you have them. You can also cut regular tomatoes into nice sized dice if you prefer.

Make Ahead Shrimp Orzo Salad

Leftover Summer Shrimp and Avocado Salad turned into this pasta salad the next day. When I made it from scratch another time, I had the advantage of knowing that I could dice and add the avocado right before serving, which was the only real drawback of making it from leftovers.

You can cook the orzo and shrimp and corn a day or two ahead of time (oh, and yes, you can also buy pre-cooked shrimp). You can make the dressing up to three days ahead of time.

Shrimp Orzo Salad

Assemble the whole salad minus the tomatoes and avocados up to one day ahead of time, and add the tomatoes and avocados just before serving. Bring the salad to cool room temperature before serving for best flavor.

How to Cook Shrimp for Salad:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with several cups of ice, and then fill it almost to the top with cold water. Set aside.

Add the shrimp to the pot of boiling water, stir, and allow the water to come back to a simmer. Cook the shrimp for 3 to 4 minutes, just until cooked through (opaque throughout). Immediately drain the shrimp and submerge them in the ice water bath for 10 minutes. Drain. Peel the shrimp and cut them in half cross-wise (unless you are using small shrimp, or like the impact of whole shrimp in your salad). Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use in the salad.

Shrimp Orzo Salad

Other Main Dish Summer Salad Recipes:

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Shrimp Orzo Salad

This is a light and very colorful pasta salad, perfect for picnics and potlucks and warm weather lunches. Great to take to work as well.
Yield: 4 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled orzo cook according to package directions
  • 1 pound cooked extra-large shrimp see above for cooking directions if you need them!
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
  • Fresh cilantro leaves to garnish, optional


  • In a large bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, and salt and pepper.
  • Add the shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, corn and jalapeno, and toss to coat with the dressing. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro, if using.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 535mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 293IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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