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California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad

5 from 2 votes

posted: 05/02/16

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad is crazy easy to throw together and makes a perfect dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck!

White bowl filled with orzo pasta salad recipe topped with white sesame seeds.


When the weather warms up, my appetite for hot foods like soup and casseroles definitely goes down. Summer is the perfect time for salads like this California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad.

This Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe combines so many of my favorite things about summer: crisp veggies, tasty seafood and a dish that is best served cold.

Not only that it incorporates all the amazing deliciousness of California Rolls.

In a white bowl, slices of avocado and crab meat has been mixed within the Orzo Pasta and topped with white sesame seeds.


For those of you who aren’t on the sushi bandwagon, let me give you some basic background on the California Roll.

Sometimes known as the California maki, this is a sushi roll that generally contains cucumber, crab and avocado. There are variations on that recipe, but that’s the basic ingredient list.

This particular sushi roll is made “inside out”, meaning the roll has rice on the outside and seaweed — along with the other ingredients — are on the inside.

Some people argue that this is more “American sushi” than true Japanese food. Do you love California Rolls? I feel like they are kind of the generic version of sushi (I mean, you can go MUCH wilder), but they are still sooooo good. I love getting them, along with all the other wild stuff.

Either way, the ingredients of the California Roll work well together and are generally a good way to introduce someone’s tastebuds to sushi.

White bowl filled with orzo pasta salad recipe topped with white sesame seeds.


Now that we have that settled, let’s talk about this California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad.  So this pasta salad is meant to mimic those flavors. I chose orzo because it is so close in size to rice. And then there is the rice vinegar and the sesame oil in the dressing that make it spot on.

And it’s ridiculously easy to throw together. It would be perfect for a summer picnic!


If you love this Orzo Pasta Salad, you should definitely check out our Crab Pasta Salad as well as some of these other great summer side dishes.

  • Arugula Salad Recipe comes together so quickly and makes the perfectly and goes great with so many dinners. With just a few ingredients you can have the most delicious and easy side salad.
  • Summer Salad Recipe is full of all the best fresh ingredients and topped with this amazing Lemon Poppyseed Dressing. It’s fast. It’s flavorful. And it’s always a hit at potlucks.
  • Shrimp Fajita Pasta Salad comes together perfectly for all your summer barbecues. Splendidly seasoned, it is simply amazing.
  • Spinach Bacon Salad takes the traditional spinach salad to a whole new level. With homemade croutons and hard boiled eggs, this is filling and tasty all in one.

Try these out and let us know what you think.

What are your favorite foods to eat in the summer time? We love hearing comments from readers!

5 from 2 votes

California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad

Serves: 6
(tap # to scale)
This California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad is crazy easy to throw together and makes a perfect dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck!


  • 1 cup of dry orzo cooked to package directions and rinsed with cold water
  • 3 TBSPs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup fake crab pulled apart
  • 1 cup cucumbers cut into small long bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup avocado cut into small long bite sized pieces
  • 1 TBSP sesame seeds


  • Combine the olive oil, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in small bowl and then pour it over the orzo. Then add in the crab, cucumbers, and avocado. Finally, stir in some sesame seeds. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours and serve.
Calories: 173kcal (9%) Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) Protein: 3g (6%) Fat: 13g (20%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 2mg (1%) Sodium: 69mg (3%) Potassium: 242mg (7%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 3IU Vitamin C: 7mg (8%) Calcium: 7mg (1%) Iron: 1mg (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Japanese

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California Roll Orzo Pasta Salad

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. rachelle says

    This is so creative and sounds great! I will definitely make it.

  2. Megan @ Pip and Ebby says

    I’m so much like you when it comes to my boys. I never push anything that signifies getting bigger (unless it’s unhealthy, of course). I kept my boys in a crib till the day they turned three. I never correct their improper usage of words. I want to enjoy all of it and bottle it up! I get it! :)

    This salad looks delicious! I love California Rolls and never thought to turn it into a salad. Yum! Thanks for the great recipe.`

    • Lisa Longley says

      Right?? My 4 year old still says Pampakes. I can’t get enough of it!

  3. Meliss says

    I have a question about how long this keeps. The post says to make a big batch and take for lunch all week, but the directions say serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours. I don’t see why it wouldn’t keep a little longer, but was just curious as to the wording. (Actually my grandma caught it and now I want to know LOL)

    • Lisa Longley says

      Meliss! You are totally right! Tell your grandma that I hope when I’m a grandma I’m as sharp as she is. So here’s the deal: I totally forgot I wrote that in the post when I posted it again on FB. I personally *would* eat it all week. But I feel like I have to be really careful in what I advise people to do in my posts. You know? I say use your best judgement.

  4. Tara says

    How does the avocado not turn brown? Letting it sit for a bbq worries me that it will not look so nice.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Tara! When I made it, there was a little browning, but it was minimal because of the dressing. You could always make it ahead of time and then cut up the avocado and throw it on at the last minute!

  5. Dena says

    5 stars
    I don’t know how I stumbled across your page, but I’m so glad I did!! This recipe is H.E.A.V.E.N.! I made it today for a 4th of July party with my family. I tasted it and immediately threw my spoon clear across the room into the sink! Otherwise, I would have eaten the whole bowl and shown up empty handed. Instead of adding a little salt to it for flavor, I put out Soy Sauce for them to add to their own. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! Happy 4th of July!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much for coming back to tell me this Dena!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners