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 92 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.

93 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Lisa Donoho
    06.16.2021

    We made this Monday night. YUM!!! Our Kroger didn’t have orzo, so we had to substitute ditalini. It worked great! I love the textrues. We did put the olives on the side because our household has some olive eaters and some olive abstainers. 🙂

    • Lisa Donoho
      06.16.2021

      5 stars
      Sorry! I forgot to rate it! I’ll do that in the reply. 🙂

  2. Terri Weiler
    06.15.2021

    5 stars
    Just made this salad – what an excellent addition to my salad repertoire! So quick and since it’s a complete “pantry-pull” for me it’s easily whipped up in just minutes. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a sandwich for an easy lunch. Add some grilled chicken breast or shrimp and a glass of wine and it makes a lovely meal for company sitting out on the patio on a summery evening.

  3. Monica Fleegel
    06.15.2021

    I just made this and had it for my breakfast because I couldn’t wait until lunch 😊 It was so tasty and perfect for our Colorado hot weather.

  4. Brittany Terzakos
    06.14.2021

    5 stars
    We made this last week and we both absolutely loved it! We ate it hot the first night and then the next day had it cold for lunch and it was just as good. We are excited to make this our go-to dish this summer for picnics and beach days. So fresh and so delicious.

  5. Kristin Daniel
    06.13.2021

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Simple and so flavorful.

  6. Emily Salinas
    06.13.2021

    5 stars
    Tried this pasta salad and loved it, first time making orzo. My son argued with me for a few minutes whether or not it was actually rice

  7. Yasmine
    06.13.2021

    Is there a way to find out the carbs, protein, etc. I’m your recipes? They look wonderful but my sister has special dietary needs, that I’m trying to meet. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.13.2021

      I’m sorry, I don’t calculate nutrition facts, but you could plug the ingredients into a site like my fitness pal.

  8. Devon B
    06.12.2021

    Tasty! Thank you for giving me a nudge to make this!

  9. Cristina Camacho
    06.11.2021

    4 stars
    Delicious salad… made it with crispy chickpeas and chicken breast. Added some herbs and it was absolutely amazing!
    The greek salad dressing is a winner too!

  10. Shira Isenberg
    06.11.2021

    5 stars
    Great summer dinner. Super easy and filling!

  11. Lisa D.
    06.11.2021

    Do you recommend using half fresh mint and half basil? I didn’t know if the flavors worked well togehter. Or would it work best to stick with all of one or the other?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.11.2021

      Hi Lisa, you could do half or one or the other – they’d both work great!

      • Lisa D.
        06.11.2021

        Thanks! This will be on our menu next week!

  12. Ally
    06.10.2021

    5 stars
    So yummy and refreshing!! Used a mix of Kalamata & Castelvetrano olives (mostly because I ran out of kalamata but it was delish). I also used fresh mint & added a drizzle of basil infused olive oil at the end!

  13. Christina Felix
    06.10.2021

    5 stars
    I just made this today, so simple and yummy, loved it!

  14. April VanDerwerken
    06.10.2021

    5 stars
    This was really good! I like the addition of chickpeas to add some protein. The Greek Dressing is great. I will be making that again for sure.

  15. Marissa van allen
    06.09.2021

    5 stars
    So yummy!!!! And so easy!!!

  16. Marisa Bohlmann
    06.09.2021

    This salad was deliciously summery! We roasted the tomatoes and chickpeas and it was great.

    • Marisa Bohlmann
      06.09.2021

      5 stars
      Forgot to rate it 😀

  17. Melissa Olin
    06.09.2021

    5 stars
    Super yummy!! Cooking club recipe for this month and it is great. You can hold the orzo for a yummy low carb version as well. I don’t love garbanzo beans in salads, but the texture works well with this recipe.

  18. Laurie Betts
    06.09.2021

    5 stars
    This orzo salad is amazing and healthy! I used whole wheat orzo and a Vidalia onion instead of red! Only two of us but made the full recipe for lunches, and this was still just as good two days later! Thank you!

  19. Cannelle Revault
    06.09.2021

    5 stars
    This salad is perfect for a warm summer day – colorful, refreshing, and nutritious!
    I made this for my family using mint leaves from my garden as well as pieces of mango instead of olives (due to allergies) and it was delicious!
    This recipe was a hit for everyone and I had 6 very empty bowls to show for it at the end of the meal 😉
    Definitely a new quick and convenient staple dish for the summer, I highly recommend it!

  20. Anne Wallace
    06.09.2021

    5 stars
    This is a delicious, light yet filling summer salad! I loved the orzo and will substitute it now for other pasta shapes when making salad.
    I used a pack of multi-colored cherry tomatoes and added some finely diced pepper in red, yellow, orange and green, some finely diced celery for extra crunch, and quartered artichoke hearts. But the recipe is mighty tasty without these extras, making it easy to prep.
    Thanks for sharing this great club recipe!

    Sorry for double posting…forgot to include my last name.

    PS: Can’t wait for next month’s recipe! This is sooooo much fun❣️

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.