Orzo Salad

This orzo salad recipe is perfect for summer picnics and cookouts! Feta cheese, olives, and a zingy Greek dressing fill it with bold flavor.

Orzo salad

If you need a last-minute side dish for a cookout or picnic this weekend, make this orzo salad recipe! It’s fresh and flavorful, easy to put together, and, like any good picnic salad, perfect for making ahead. Toss it together a few hours to a day before a summer gathering, and it’ll still taste great when you’re ready to eat.

But even if you’re not planning a cookout this weekend (or if your menu’s all set to go), stash this orzo salad recipe in your back pocket anyway. Because it keeps so well, it’s a great recipe to pack for lunch. Crispy cucumbers and juicy tomatoes play off briny olives and salty, tangy feta cheese. The orzo pasta and chickpeas make it nice and filling, and a zingy Greek dressing ties it all together. De-licious.

Orzo salad recipe ingredients

Orzo Salad Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this orzo pasta salad recipe:

  • Orzo, of course! I love the way this tiny pasta shape mixes and mingles with the other ingredients.
  • Cherry tomatoes – For sweet, juicy pops of flavor.
  • Persian cucumbers – They add a cool, refreshing crunch.
  • Red onion – Slice these guys as thinly as you can. I recommend using a mandoline if you have one!
  • Kalamata olives – Their salty, briny flavor contrasts with the fresh herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
  • Feta cheese – Skip the pre-crumbled feta for this recipe. Instead, look for feta that comes in a block, preferably in brine. Its flavor and texture are SO much better. You’ll never get the crumbled kind again!
  • Chickpeas – I love garbanzo beans with Mediterranean ingredients like feta and olives, so I couldn’t resist tossing them into this orzo salad. They make it more substantial too.
  • Greek salad dressing – In this orzo salad, I make the dressing extra-bright by whisking in an additional tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a big squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Fresh mint and/or basil – Pick just one, or use a mix.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hand pouring Greek dressing over bowl of pasta, olives, feta, and veggies

Cook the orzo, and dice up the veggies, feta, and olives while it cools.

Then, whisk up the dressing and toss it all together. Making this orzo salad recipe is as simple as that!

Orzo salad recipe ingredients in a large bowl

Orzo Salad Recipe Tips

  • Cook the pasta a little past al dente. Whenever I make a pasta salad, I cook the pasta just past al dente, so that it stays tender after it cools.
  • And let it cool before you add the veggies. If you toss the hot orzo with the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion, they’ll begin to wilt. Instead, drain the cooked orzo, dress it with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking, and spread it in an even layer on a large baking sheet to cool. When it reaches room temperature, proceed with the recipe.
  • Make it ahead. You can make this orzo salad recipe up to a day in advance, but save the herbs to add at the last minute. If they sit in the dressing for too long, they’ll wilt, so it’s best to toss them in right before you eat. The salad may also dry out a bit in the fridge. If you think it needs more moisture, loosen it with a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Hands tossing bowl of orzo pasta salad with wooden spoons

Orzo Salad Serving Suggestions

This orzo salad recipe is a perfect side dish for summer picnics and cookouts. Pair it with other cookout sides like grilled corn on the cob or grilled veggies, broccoli salad, potato salad, and/or coleslaw. If you need a main dish, try making one of these recipes:

If you have any leftovers, save them for lunch the next day. Thanks to the orzo, chickpeas, feta, and olives, the salad makes a light, yet satisfying, meal on its own.

Orzo salad recipe

More Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes

If you love this orzo salad recipe, try one of these fresh pasta salads next:

Orzo Salad

rate this recipe:
4.97 from 86 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 8 mins
Serves 6
This orzo salad recipe is a fresh, delicious side dish or vegetarian lunch! If you make it ahead of time, save the herbs to add at the last minute. I also recommend tossing the salad with a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Ingredients

  • cups orzo pasta
  • 1 recipe Greek Salad Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, halved vertically, and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained, and rinsed
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup fresh basil and/or mint leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, or until slightly past al dente. Drain the orzo and toss it with a little olive oil, so that it doesn’t stick together. Spread onto a baking sheet to cool.
  • Prepare the Greek Salad Dressing and add in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, and sea salt.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the cooked orzo, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, feta, red onion, and olives. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, add half the herbs, season with freshly ground black pepper, and toss to coat. Garnish with the remaining herbs and serve.

91 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Karen
    10.22.2021

    5 stars
    Wow, absolutely delicious!! This recipe is a keeper. So simple, and full of great flavor, and healthy, all in one.

  2. kaylie
    09.29.2021

    hi! Do you have the nutrition facts of this recipe?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.30.2021

      Hi Kaylie, I’m sorry, we don’t post nutrition facts but you can plug the ingredients into a site like my fitness pal.

  3. Alyssa Betsy
    09.13.2021

    5 stars
    This recipe was outstanding! So fresh, juicy, and delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.13.2021

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. alison from herchoicetoheal.com
    07.27.2021

    5 stars
    so amazing. took a long time to prep and I even had my husband to help. but it was worth it. though it took a long time, the process was very easy, and it has so much flavor and nutrition, we are extremely pleased with our lunch that has room for leftovers. which definitely helps to make up for the time commitment in making it. also it takes a long time to finish chewing a single bite, because there’s so much to it, loving it!! thanks so much!!

  5. Margie H Rosewater
    07.12.2021

    5 stars
    I made this for a brunch and for a dinner. It was a huge success. This will be a go to salad going forward. Very light and tasty.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2021

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. Becky Maloney
    07.05.2021

    It would be so helpful if you included nutritional information with your recipes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.05.2021

      I’m sorry, I don’t calculate nutritional info, but you can plug the ingredients into a site like my fitness pal.

  7. Kate Kolod
    07.04.2021

    Is the 1 1/2 cups orzo cooked or pre-cooked?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.04.2021

      Hi Kate, it’s pre cooked

  8. Trish
    07.02.2021

    5 stars
    There’s no mango in the recipe even though the picture has them! 🙂

  9. Jackie Rambo
    06.30.2021

    5 stars
    I chose to go with mint instead of basil for this dish, and it was such a nice twist to the usual greek salads I go for. I will a 100% be making this for future lunches!!

  10. Carrie McCormack
    06.30.2021

    5 stars
    This orzo salad is amazing!! I made it gluten free by using GF orzo. We had this as a side for grilled chicken, but honestly I could eat it as a meal on its own! This recipe makes a large quantity, so it’s great for either a cookout or meal prep. This is definitely added to the rotation!

  11. 5 stars
    This orzo salad is packed full of textures and flavors! I loved how the feta and olives added a nice saltiness and bite. I also sauteed the chickpeas with olive oil and cumin seeds, which added a lovely earthiness and intensity. I’ve made this twice in the past couple weeks – for a bbq with friends and a family reunion – and it was a hit both times!

  12. Bridget Cassun
    06.30.2021

    Loved this Orzo salad; was a big hit at our BBQ. The Greek Dressing is so flavorful and fresh!

  13. Mary
    06.29.2021

    5 stars
    Wonderful! Loved the olives in this dish.

  14. Kelsey Berndt
    06.29.2021

    5 stars
    So delicious and fresh!!

  15. Katie Lebow
    06.29.2021

    My family really enjoyed this recipe. We replaced the orzo pasta with farro, since my husband has to watch his blood sugar. It worked great!

  16. Stevie Smith
    06.29.2021

    Yummy and full of flavor! Really liked the combination of the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.

  17. Adrienne
    06.29.2021

    Made a big batch for out on the boat- everyone chowed down on it! Refreshing and filling and all the good flavors

  18. Gillian Bower
    06.28.2021

    Such a good salad for the summer! I loved the contrast of the olives and feta to the cucumber. I added some snap peas I had and it added more crunch.

  19. Marti McDonald
    06.27.2021

    5 stars
    The orzo salad was easy to prepare, delicious and really pretty. It makes plenty for the whole family.

  20. Elizabeth Warren
    06.27.2021

    5 stars
    Another great recipe! I loved the addition of the chickpeas and the fresh feta made a difference. My bf doesn’t really care for cucumbers or tomatoes, but he loved this and asked that I make it again. I made the Greek dressing the day before, so it was easy to through together the next day.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.