Orzo Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Poached Shrimp

Life At The Table Orzo Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Poached Shrimp. A white plate with orzo salad with basil vinaigrette with three shrimp on top sitting on a wooden table with an orange napkin beside it.

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Dive into the flavors of the Mediterranean with this Orzo Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Poached Shrimp. Delish and easy to make on a weeknight!


Units Scale
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 16 grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 shallots, julienne
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon

Basil Vinaigrette

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt

Poached Shrimp

  • 12 16/20-shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves

Optional Garnish

  • Red pepper flakes


  1. Prepare orzo according to package directions. Drain and spread onto a sheet tray to cool.

Basil Vinaigrette

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, Champagne vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
  2. Process until the basil is finely chopped.
  3. Add the olive oil to the basil mixture with the processor running.
  4. Once combined, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Poached Shrimp

  1. Combine the olive oil, lemon slices, bay leaves, black peppercorns and smashed garlic in a saucepan.
  2. Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer.
  3. Remove the liquid from the heat and allow the liquid to steep for 15 minutes.
  4. When you’re ready to poach the shrimp, reheat the poaching liquid to 170˚F.
  5. Add the shrimp to the poaching liquid and poach just until shrimp turn opaque and pinken.
  6. Remove the shrimp from the poaching liquid to a parchment lined sheet tray.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Combine the cooked orzo, sliced tomatoes, shallots, parsley, and basil vinaigrette in a large bowl.
  2. Stir to combine well.
  3. Scoop the orzo mixture onto a plate or into a bowl and add the poached shrimp on top.
  4. Garnish with a splash of fresh lemon juice and red pepper flakes, if desired.


  • Depending on how large your shrimp are you may need to do two rounds of poaching so that you don’t overcrowd the saucepan. Remove the shrimp from the first round to a sheet tray and repeat the process until all shrimp are cooked.
  • If you buy shrimp with the shell on, poach them first, then peel and devein them. The shells will enhance the flavor of your shrimp.
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