Greek Orzo Salad
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It’s easy to make this fresh and delicious Greek Orzo Salad recipe, loaded up with a lemon herb dressing, tons of fresh veggies and feta cheese! It’s perfect as a side dish at a picnic or summer bbq. You can also add chickpeas, grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a meal!
Table of contents
Having a go-to fresh and easy salad recipe is key for spring and summer picnics, parties and BBQs. And I guarantee you, this Greek orzo salad will be your new go-to recipe!
Whether you take it to a BBQ, beach picnic or summer gathering, it’s guaranteed to be a hit! So what makes this THE BEST orzo salad recipe? The fresh lemon herb dressing, of course!
Fresh mint and oregano are combined with olive oil and lemon juice to create a fresh, flavorful dressing that sets it apart from other orzo salads. It’s easy to whip up the entire recipe in under 30 minutes and you can prep it ahead of time!
Easy and flavorful? Always a winning combo in my book!
- Orzo pasta – orzo is a short-cut pasta and can be found on the pasta aisle at the grocery store.
- Olive oil
- Red onion
- Green bell pepper – red, orange or yellow bell pepper can also be used, it’s really up to your preference!
- Lemon juice – I always recommend fresh-squeezed for the best flavor!
- Fresh mint
- Fresh oregano
- Black pepper
- Grape tomatoes – cherry tomatoes can be swapped in for grape tomatoes, but they are larger so you might want to quarter them, instead of halving them before adding them to the salad.
- Kalamata olives
- Feta cheese
Step by step instructions
It’s easy to make this Greek orzo pasta salad! Simply cook the orzo according to the package directions, then drain and set aside to cool. Next, follow these 4 simple steps to toss the salad together in no time!
- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mint, oregano, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Saute the onion and bell pepper in olive oil on the stove over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and add to the lemon herb dressing.
- Add the tomatoes to the dressing.
- Add the cooked orzo, olives and cucumber to the bowl. Toss to combine.
Finish the dish by sprinkling some crumbled feta cheese on top and extra fresh chopped herbs, if you’d like!
To turn this side salad into a main course, I recommend adding chickpeas, grilled chicken or shrimp. The extra protein and fiber will help fill you up!
- If adding chickpeas – drain and rinse a 15 ounce can of chickpeas and add them directly to the salad with the cooked orzo, olives and cucumber.
- If adding chicken – check out this recipe for grilled Marinated Greek Chicken. The delicious lemon herb marinade will pair perfectly with this salad!
- If adding shrimp – check out this recipe for Mediterranean shrimp. It’s tossed in a lemon oregano sauce and I guarantee it will be delicious added to this Greek orzo salad!
Some of my other favorite ingredients to add to this salad are capers, zucchini and sun dried tomatoes. The capers and diced zucchini can be added at the end with the orzo and olives. If adding the sun dried tomatoes, I like to toss them on top at the end with the feta cheese!
Frequently asked questions
- Can you make this recipe ahead of time? Yes, this salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat. It’s delicious served warm or cold, so feel free to make it ahead of time or serve it immediately after it’s made.
- Do you rinse orzo before cooking? No, you do not need to rinse orzo before cooking it. Although orzo looks like rice, it’s actually pasta, so you can add it directly to boiling water, just like you would spaghetti.
- Can you make this salad vegan? Absolutely! All you have to do is omit the feta cheese crumbles on top and this salad is vegan.
- Can you make the salad gluten-free? Yes, simply replace traditional orzo pasta with gluten-free orzo, which can be found at some grocery stores, specialty stores or online. You can also substitute in another gluten free pasta, if you can’t find orzo. Gluten free penne, rotini, small shells or elbow pasta would all work in this recipe.
More recipes with fresh herbs
Here are a few more of my favorite fresh and flavorful recipes that I know you’ll love!
- Ground Turkey Gyros – made with fresh oregano and mint, this is the perfect recipe to try after this orzo salad!
- One Pot Vegetarian Pesto Tortellini – made with fresh oregano, this is one of my favorite vegetarian recipes and it just so happens to be really easy to make in only 20 minutes!
- Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint – this recipe, made with fresh mint, is like summer in a bowl! You’ll love how delicious it is and how it only takes 10 minutes to toss together!
- Mint Julep Bourbon Chicken Skewers – inspired by the Kentucky Derby, but delicious anytime of the year, these chicken skewers are made with a delicious bourbon glaze and fresh mint!
- Peach Basil Moscow Mule – fresh basil and peach vodka turn a traditional Moscow Mule into an even more refreshing summer cocktail!
- Pasta Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing – fresh dill adds so much flavor to the creamy dressing in this pasta salad!
Greek Orzo Salad
- 8 ounces dry orzo
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup red onion, minced
- ¼ cup green bell pepper, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
- Cook orzo according to the package directions.
- Drain and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet on the stove over medium high heat, add the onion and bell pepper.
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, mint, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Whisk well, then add the sauteed onion, bell pepper and garlic.
- Add the tomatoes to the dressing.
- Add the cooked orzo, olives and cucumber, toss to combine.
- Top with the feta cheese.
- The serving size for this recipe is for 6 people, when served as a side dish. If serving the recipe as a main dish, it will feed 3-4 people.
- To turn this salad into a main course, I recommend adding chickpeas, grilled chicken or shrimp. Refer to the blog post above for how to add each of these to the salad.
- To make this recipe vegan omit the feta cheese crumbles on top.
- To make this recipe gluten-free replace traditional orzo pasta with gluten-free orzo. You can also substitute in another gluten free pasta, if you can’t find gluten-free orzo. Gluten free penne, rotini, small shells or elbow pasta would all work in this recipe.
- This salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat. It’s delicious served warm or cold, so feel free to make it ahead of time or serve it immediately after it’s made.
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