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Smoky grilled shrimp, orzo, and fresh arugula tossed with a garlicky lemon dressing makes a delicious light meal or appetizer.

plate with smoky grilled shrimp on a skewer on a bed of arugula and orzo

I’m a fan of lighter BBQ fare as well as my beloved giant ribeye steaks. As you well know by now, I love me some grilled shrimp.

It’s definitely one of my favorite ways to eat ’em.

black plate with a smoky grilled shrimp skewer, fresh arugula, and orzo

I really like the freshness and different flavors and textures in this salad. It’s smoky, garlicky, lemony, and has a touch of sweetness.

The slight bitterness of the arugula adds even more interest to this recipe. It’s also very easy to make, which is always a plus.

This is a good recipe for enjoying with a glass of white wine outdoors. I consider myself an outdoorsy person if patios count 🙂

More tasty orzo recipes:

close-up of smoky grilled shrimp, orzo, and arugula with garlic lemon dressing on a plate

Will you make this grilled shrimp and orzo salad?

Questions? Ask me in the comments below.

Smoky grilled shrimp, orzo, and fresh arugula tossed with a garlicky lemon dressing makes a delicious light meal or appetizer.
5 from 2 votes

Grilled Shrimp, Orzo, and Arugula Salad

Grilled shrimp, orzo, and arugula salad makes a delicious light meal or appetizer.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 cup orzo uncooked
  • 3/4 pound shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • Fresh basil torn, to taste

Shrimp basting oil:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • If you're grilling the shrimp on wooden skewers, soak them for at least 10 minutes to prevent burning and splintering.
  • If shrimp are frozen, thaw them under cool running water. Peel if desired (it makes eating them a lot easier).
  • Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside to cool. When it's cool to the touch, add about a teaspoon of olive oil to it and mix it (I just used my hands).
  • Prepare the shrimp basting oil by adding olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, and cumin to a small bowl, and stirring until combined. Set aside.
  • Pre-heat grill to high heat.
  • Once your skewers have soaked for 10 minutes, thread the shrimp on them (make a C-shape by poking the top and bottom of the shrimp through the skewer).
  • Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
  • Grill the shrimp skewers on high heat for approximately 90 seconds per side (this is for medium-size shrimp, adjust time accordingly for smaller/larger shrimp). When you first place the skewers on the grill, immediately baste the top of the shrimp skewers with the basting oil, then when you turn them over, baste them again. I recommend a silicone baster as it will withstand the high temperature.
  • Toss the orzo, basil, arugula, and dressing together. Add shrimp skewers on top or remove the shrimp from the skewers using a fork and toss with the salad. Serve immediately.


  • I used a BBQ to make this recipe. Keep in mind that these directions are only a guideline as every BBQ or grill is different.
  • Serves two as an entree or four as an appetizer/side.

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Hi! Iโ€™m Natasha.

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5 from 2 votes

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  1. DiazF says:

    Sooo good! Everyone LOVED this dish. Thank you for sharing. I had to make it with white rice and stove top grilling as it was a spontaneous occasion with guests. Still, it was mostly your basting and dressing ingredients that made it worth wild.๐Ÿ˜‹

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so pleased to hear it!!

  2. Kjersti says:

    I have made this twice now. We absolutely love it. The only difference is that I use maple syrup in the dressing because I donโ€™t really like honey.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great!! Thanks for letting me know. So happy you enjoy it!

  3. Melanie says:

    5 stars
    Any recommendations for things to add to this salad to beef it up a little? Maybe cucumbers or another veggie? It looks delicious and I’m probably going to prep it for lunches to last me a week!

    1. Natasha says:

      I think cucumbers would definitely go well with it. Tomatoes would too. You could also add more orzo – that’s definitely pretty filling. I hope you enjoy it!

      1. Donna De Carlo says:

        5 stars
        Excellent light and easy meal . I added roasted corn to the salad. It added a bit of sweetness to the peppery arugula. For seasoning the shrimp, to the spice mixture I used a tsp. of coriander and garlic powder in place of the garlic and sauteed them in a cast iron skillet! Loved the dressing for the salad. This will be a go to recipe for me! Thanks so much!

        1. Natasha says:

          I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Donna! ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re very welcome!