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Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad

5 from 3 votes

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This Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad makes an amazing cold pasta side dish recipe, perfect for a summer BBQ or grilling dinner! Full of fresh flavors from tomatoes, corn, avocado, and herbs.
Close view of Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad

Make this Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad as the perfect side dish for your summer cookout BBQ! This small pasts is mixed with corn, onion, avocado, and tomatoes in a light vinaigrette sauce for a perfect pasta grilling side.

Close view of Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad is a delicious and refreshing dish that combines the flavors of Mexican cuisine with the small, rice-shaped pasta called orzo.

It’s a great side dish or light meal for warm days or any time you want a zesty and colorful addition to your table.

This pasta salad recipe is one of my absolute favorites to make for how fresh and light it tastes.

I have become obsessed with this recipe because of the wide variety of summer flavors from the vegetables to the vinaigrette sauce and the small orzo pasta shape makes it easy to eat.

Whether you are making a Mexican cookout or not, this pasta salad recipe will be perfect and popular with your family and friends!


Orzo Pasta – I have tried other small pasta shapes and it is just not the same! So I strongly recommend orzo. But you can use other small shapes if desired, I just think the flavors are not as strong for whatever reason.

Corn Kernels – Fresh is always best, but the next best is frozen. Canned will also work if needed.

Avocado – Chunks of creamy goodness!

Cherry Tomatoes – Grape is also great, or you can use any tomato on hand and chop it up.

Red Onion – Worried about it being too strong? You can soak the onion in cold water after cutting to remove some of the sharp flavor.

Fresh Cilantro – You can skip if cilantro-adverse, or swap for fresh parsley or green onion to get some freshness.

Lime Juice

Olive Oil

Chili Powder – It is not spicy, but this will bring great subtle flavor!

Honey – Swap for agave for a vegan pasta salad!


Top view of Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad in a glass bowl on a counter next to an avocado

Kim’s Tips

If making in advance, chill the sauce separately from the pasta and veggie mixture. This will prevent the pasta from over-absorbing the sauce, making the pasta mushy and the salad dry., Just mix together within 60 minutes of serving.


Is orzo rice?

No. Orzo is a pasta, but it is shaped like rice.

How long does orzo salad last in fridge?

This pasta salad can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

What pasta can I substitute for orzo?

If you want to use something different than orzo, use something small such as small shells or ditalini.

How many cups of orzo per person?

Orzo is more dense, since it is smaller. You want to assume around 1/4 cup per person if you are serving other sides.
A clear glass bowl with the Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad on a counter
Pin of Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad up close with title at top

More Pasta Salad Recipes

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A collection of some of our pasta salad recipes perfect for your cookout and BBQ grilling dinner!

Close view of Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad

Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad

This Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad makes an amazing cold pasta side dish recipe, perfect for a summer BBQ or grilling dinner! Full of fresh flavors from tomatoes, corn, avocado, and herbs.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: BBQ, Dairy Free, Pasta, Summer, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 362kcal




  • Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook pasta as per package directions until al dente. Do not overcook.
    8 ounces orzo pasta
  • When pasta is done, drain and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss to combine and place in a sealable container. Chill at least 30 minutes.
    olive oil
  • Make the sauce in a small bowl by whisking together the olive oil, juice of the limes, chili powder, honey, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
    6 Tablespoon olive oil, 2 limes, 1 Tablespoon honey, ¾ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Prepare your corn: Thaw frozen corn, or if using fresh, make sure it is cooked and remove from cobs.
    1 cup corn kernels
  • Prepare the tomatoes: Cut smaller tomatoes such as cherry in half. If using large tomatoes, cut into pieces approximately 1/2 inch
    1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Prepare the onion: Trim and finely chop.
    ⅓ cup red onion
  • Prepare the avocado: Remove pit and cut avocado into chunks.
    1 avocado
  • Combine the corn, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and chopped cilantro with the pasta.
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • When ready to serve, add the sauce and stir to combine. Season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve cold. (See note below about making in advance).


If making in advance, store the pasta and mix ins in a container, and store the sauce separately to chill. Combine when ready to serve. This prevents the pasta from absorbing all the moisture, becoming mushy, and drying out.
Easily make this vegan by skipping the honey or replacing with a vegan alternative such as maple syrup or agave.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 166mg | Potassium: 383mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 313IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
By on August 2nd, 2023

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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2 thoughts on “Mexican Orzo Pasta Salad”

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a good recipe, the freshness of the ingredients is there and the flavors matches well with the other elements of the dish!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for a barbecue everyone loved it. It was so easy to make and so good. I will definitely be making it again.


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