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:

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Orzo Salad

rate this recipe:
4.99 from 208 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
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

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.

178 comments

4.99 from 208 votes (124 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. ChrisP from Loveandlemons
    06.14.2024

    5 stars
    Love this salad. I have been making it for a while, and it is my favourite pasta salad..
    Would be helpful if a link/URL was added for the Greek Salad Dressing. Thank you

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      06.14.2024

      Hi Chris, I’m so glad you love the salad! Just added the link to the recipe instructions.

  2. Shilpa
    06.14.2024

    5 stars
    Very healthy salad. Easy to prepate. Thanks for the steps.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      06.14.2024

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Jackie Muller
    06.12.2024

    5 stars
    Best Orzo salad recipe by far. Fresh and delicious – definitely a favorite at parties this year so far.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.12.2024

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  4. Karen Tuttle
    06.11.2024

    Is there to be additional red wine vinegar, oregano ,lemon juice and sea salt added to the Greek salad dressing. Those items are already in it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.12.2024

      Hi Karen, yep, it’s additional.

  5. Joedylynn from Loveandlemons%20com
    05.20.2024

    5 stars
    This is fantastic! I love the use of Orzo pasta in this as often times larger pasta overshadows the texture & flavor of the vegetables & other salad additions . Only updates I make is I often change up the vegetables to what I have which is mainly the addition of some red/yellow/orange peppers chopped small, occasionally add some Arugula and always sprinkle grated parmesan / Romano cheese in it. Perfect as side dish for most dinners & keeps well for weeks lunches. Thank you

  6. Carol Riley
    03.27.2024

    I haven’t made this recipe yet because I need to know how many it feeds.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.28.2024

      Hi Carol, it serves 6

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.