Bocce Pasta Salad

I know, I know—sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese is so 1989. I hope you trust me because this barbecue side is worth the trip down memory lane. It doesn't suffer from the same dry pasta affliction so many other non-mayo based sauced pasta salads fall victim to.

This salad pairs well with many kinds of grilled protein, but where it really shines is supporting grilled chicken. In Napa Valley, we bring this to our weekly bocce games at least twice a season.

Bocce Pasta Salad

About This Recipe

Active time:15 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in: Serious Entertaining: How to Make 'Thoughtful Guest' Sides for a Labor Day Cookout


  • 1 pound dried orzo pasta
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 15 sundried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 40 basil leaves (one bunch basil)
  • 7 ounces feta cheese (solid, not crumbled)
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper


  1. 1

    Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo for 10 minutes in boiling, salted water.

  2. 2

    While orzo is cooking, chop the red onion as fine as you can. Chop the tomatoes into slightly larger pieces and chop the feta cheese into similarly sized chunks.

  3. 3

    When the pasta has finished cooking, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.

  4. 4

    Dump the pasta from your colander into a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, onions and feta. Don’t stir yet, although you will be tempted.

  5. 5

    Sprinkle salt and pepper over the bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the bowl.

  6. 6

    Drizzle the olive oil over the bowl as well. Now, you may toss, gently.


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