Greek Orzo Salad

Our quick Greek Orzo Salad recipe is crafted to delight your taste buds with its vibrant flavours, colourful ingredients, and easy prep work. I adore this orzo pasta salad recipe for side dishes, weeknight dinners, light lunches, or summer entertaining when I need to feed a crowd. 

Greek orzo salad served with fried fish fillets served with a drink

Why You’ll Love Our Greek Orzo Salad Recipe

When your daughter tells you that this is one of her favourite pasta salad recipes, you know you have something pretty good on the table. She even requested it for school lunch the next day! I know she ain’t going to sugarcoat it for me, so it definitely makes my heart sing to have created a recipe that she loves. 

Our orzo salad recipe is not overly complicated; it brings together delicious Mediterranean flavours, just like our classic Greek salad. It combines tender orzo pasta with a medley of fresh cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, salty feta cheese, and briny olives, all tossed in a zesty, earthy oregano lemon dressing.

The flavours are vibrant with colourful ingredients and refreshing in every bite. Orzo pasta adds a satisfying base to the crunchy fresh vegetables with oregano lemon dressing.

I adore this cold pasta salad recipe. It’s an easy side dish, great for packed lunches, and a crowd-pleasing option for potluck parties. Like many of our pasta salad recipes, it’s fantastic for gatherings because you can easily prep ahead and allow the flavours to meld. 

Is Orzo A Rice Or Pasta?

Despite its rice-like shape, orzo is a type of pasta. It is made from wheat semolina and is typically used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. You may also see orzo called risoni and kritharáki. 

I love how versatile orzo is, plus so easy to cook! Orzo can be served in soups, salads, and as a side dish. Great pantry staple to store. 

If you like our Greek orzo pasta recipe, you might also want to try other orzo side dishes like Roasted Butternut Squash with Orzo and Risoni with Hot Smoked Salmon and Crab.

Bowl of uncooked orzo with a packet of orzo in the background

Recipe Overview

Flavour/Texture: The flavours are classic Mediterranean with refreshing combination of cucumber, tomato, bell peppers and red onion together with creamy feta. And orzo is the perfect vehicle to carry all this delicious freshness. 

Ease: The only cooking involved is boiling the orzo, making it an easy option for busy weeknights. It is also fantastic for meal prep as more time allows the Mediterranean flavours to meld together. There is little to do when you are serving this salad. 

Time: This is a super quick side dish to make. It really only takes as long as the pasta to cook to chop up the vegetables. Then toss together for a yummy delicious pasta salad for lunch, dinner, bbq or parties!

Ingredients

These are the main ingredients you need for a Greek orzo salad recipe: 

Individually labelled ingredients for Greek orzo salad
  • Orzo: Small, rice-shaped pasta that cooks quickly and provides a tender base for the salad.
  • Cucumbers: Crisp and refreshing, these cucumbers add a cool crunch to the mix.
  • Cherry tomatoes: I love cherry tomatoes in this recipe as it brings juicy texture and sweet flavours. 
  • Baby bell peppers: Vibrant and crunchy, baby bell peppers add a subtle sweetness and a pop of colour. 
  • Olives: The briny, salty flavour of black olives balances perfectly with the orzo, vegetables and feta. 
  • Red onion: Red onion adds a punchy bite and balances the sweetness of the vegetables.
  • Feta: Creamy and tangy, feta cheese provides a rich, salty contrast to the fresh vegetables. I prefer Greek feta as it creates a delicious, crumbly texture when broken up. 
  • Parsley: Fresh and aromatic, parsley enhances the orzo salad with its bright, herbaceous notes.
  • Olive oil: Always use a quality olive oil for the salad dressing for a luxurious mouthfeel.
  • Red wine vinegar: Tangy and slightly sweet, red wine vinegar adds a vibrant acidity to the dressing.
  • Lemon juice: To help brighten up the salad dressing, lemon juice adds a refreshing citrus note.
  • Dried oregano: Earthy and aromatic, dried oregano infuses the salad with classic Mediterranean flavours.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds a subtle punch of flavour to the oregano dressing.

Variations and Substitutions

Substitute for orzo: If you don’t have orzo, you can substitute with other small pasta shapes short macaroni, small seashells or even pearl couscous. 

Additional ingredients: This is a great recipe to throw in other vegetables and herbs that you might have in your fridge, like large bell peppers, chunky tomatoes, green onion, lentils, chickpeas, mint, dill, or basil. For a complete meal, add extra protein like grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or cannellini beans. 

Different variety of olives: I prefer small black kalamata olives but you can use green olives or have a mix of both green and black olives. 

Vegan option: Substitute the Greek feta for your favourite vegan feta cheese.

Alternative dressing: If you prefer a more tangy creamy salad, try our creamy mustard dressing or go a more classic Greek style, try our oregano vinaigrette. This would work well with this salad as well. 

Instructions

Step by step instructions for how to make Greek orzo salad:

How to Make The Salad

Cook orzo pasta to al dente as per packaging. Let it cool down. Rinse under water quickly to stop the cooking process and help it cool down. This will also reduce any large clumps in the pasta. 

A spoonful of cooked orzo over a pot of orzo

Chop vegetables and olives into smaller pieces.

Chopping cucumber on a chopping board with a knife
Chopping cherry tomatoes on a chopping board with a knife
Chopping bell peppers on a chopping board with a knife

Finely slice red onion.

Roughly chop parsley.

Chopping avocado on a chopping board with a knife
Slicing red onion on a chopping board

How to Make Oregano Lemon Dressing  

In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined.  

Whisking Greek orzo salad dressing in a stainless steel bowl

How to Assemble the Salad

In a large bowl, add chopped vegetables, cut olives and sliced red onion with orzo pasta. 

Dress salad with oregano lemon dressing and toss together. 

Greek orzo salad ingredients in a bowl
Pouring salad dressing into Greek orzo salad

Add crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

Mix lightly to combine salad together. 

Mixing Greek orzo salad ingredients in a bowl
Mixing a bowl of Greek orzo salad ingredients

Serve.

How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)

Cook pasta until al dente – Do not overcook orzo pasta for the salad. I like my pasta salads to have a little bite but tender enough to absorb the salad dressing.

Rinse orzo under water: After cooking, rinse the orzo under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. This helps prevent it from becoming sticky and clumping together.

Chop vegetables into similar sizes – Chop the vegetables into similar sizes for consistent texture.

Make it ahead – this pasta salad tastes even better as it sits, allowing the flavours to meld together. So, I would say make it at least an hour ahead. The orzo will absorb the oregano lemon dressing and carry the delicious flavours.

Crumble the feta – I prefer to crumble the feta in orzo salad, like our chickpea salad, so the creamy flavours can coat the pasta well. 

Great Mains for This Salad

What to serve with orzo salad? Try these delicious recipes:

A fantastic orzo salad deserves to be served up with mains that have amazing flavour. Try this garlic herb lamb shoulder chops that is pan-seared and then finished off in the oven.

For an al fresco kind of day, these grilled rosemary shrimp or even grilled tomahawk steak would definitely do the trick.

Complete your meal with other easy side dishes like canary melon salad with prosciutto, harissa carrots, watermelon panzanella salad or swede mash

Frequently Asked Questions

Is orzo gluten-free?

Traditional orzo is made from wheat, so it contains gluten. However, you can find gluten-free orzo made from alternative grains like corn or rice.

How do I keep the orzo from sticking together?

To prevent orzo from sticking together, rinse it under cold water after cooking and toss it with a bit of olive oil before mixing it with the other ingredients.

Can I make this salad in advance?

Yes! A great recipe to prep ahead. We actually enjoy this pasta more the next day!

How to store leftover salad?

Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 3-4 days.

Our Greek Orzo Salad is a tasty mix of fresh crunchy vegetables, tangy feta, and a zesty oregano lemon dressing, all tossed with satisfying orzo pasta. Bursting with versatility and so quick to make, you will be sure to add this recipe to your weekly menu and party rotation.

Bowl of Greek orzo pasta with a serving spoon and fork

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Bowl of Greek orzo pasta with a serving spoon and fork
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Greek Orzo Salad

Our quick Greek Orzo Salad recipe is crafted to delight your taste buds with its vibrant flavours, colourful ingredients, and easy prep work. I adore this orzo pasta salad recipe for side dishes, weeknight dinners, light lunches, or summer entertaining when I need to feed a crowd.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: International
Suitable for Diet: Vegetarian
Additional Dietary: Egg Free, Nut Free
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 414kcal
Author: Sammy Eng

Ingredients

Salad

Salad Dressing

Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.

Instructions

Salad

  • Cook orzo pasta to al dente as per packaging. Let it cool down.
  • Chop vegetables and olives into smaller pieces.
  • Finely slice red onion.
  • Roughly chop parsley.

Salad Dressing

  • Put all dressing ingredients in a mason jar or small bowl.
  • Mix well until combined.

Assembly

  • Add chopped vegetables, cut olives and sliced red onion with orzo pasta.
  • Dress salad and toss together.
  • Add crumbled feta and chopped parsley.
  • Mix lightly to combine salad together.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • You can substitute orzo with other small pasta shapes, such as short macaroni, small seashells, or even pearl couscous. 
  • This recipe is great for adding other vegetables or proteins you might have in your fridge, like lentils, chickpeas, beans, mint, basil, grilled chicken, salmon, or even shrimp.
  • For a vegan version, substitute the Greek feta with your favourite vegan feta cheese.
  • Cook the orzo pasta until al dente. Rinse it quickly under water to stop the cooking process and prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  • This salad is perfect for making ahead to allow the flavours to meld.

Nutrition

Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 491mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1.623IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 2mg

*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.

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