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

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Beverly Cressey
    06.26.2021

    5 stars
    This salad was easy to make and delicious. I served it with Greek Chicken and it was a big hit.

  2. Heather
    06.25.2021

    5 stars
    So fresh and delicious! Great for cookouts and plenty leftover for lunches.

  3. Jessica Erwin
    06.25.2021

    5 stars
    I switched the tomato for red pepper and it was delicious.

  4. Lacy Fry
    06.25.2021

    4 stars
    I love all the herbs in this, I used fresh mint and basil from my garden 🙂 This is a solid, summer salad that is beautiful and healthy!

  5. Lauren Duncan
    06.24.2021

    I love this recipe! Such a simple and non-stressful dish to make for summer gatherings. It looks and tastes so beautiful too! I’m definitely going to keep this recipe on hand!(:

  6. Andrea Sharoff
    06.23.2021

    5 stars
    A perfect combination of so many delicious things – the Greek dressing is SO simple and SO perfect on this! I made it for meal prep and we are loving having it every single day.

  7. Steph Peterson
    06.23.2021

    This looks like such a versatile recipe! I LOVE me a Greek salad dressing… can’t wait to try!

  8. Morgan Worley
    06.23.2021

    5 stars
    My husband and I loved it! Will definitely keep this in our summer rotation. I even soaked and cooked the chickpeas (first time ever! usually use canned).

  9. VSM
    06.22.2021

    5 stars
    I now eat grain-free and miss Orzo pasta! No worries with this recipe though–I tried Jovial Brand Cassava Orzo instead, and it was delicious! I used fresh oregano and basil from the garden, and look forward to using home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers later in the season. My whole family loved it!

  10. Caroline Arata
    06.22.2021

    5 stars
    I don’t like olives so left those out and used vegan feta—still delicious!

  11. Christine Ernst
    06.21.2021

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! Has wonderful flavor and comes together pretty easily. A perfect combination 🙂

  12. Neema
    06.21.2021

    5 stars
    This orzo salad was absolutely delicious!! Added in marinated artichokes and it worked really well in the salad. It’s perfect to bring to a picnic, the flavors go so well together, and it’s a light meal while still being satisfying. Will definitely make this again!

  13. Daphne Fillebrown
    06.21.2021

    5 stars
    Made it and the family loved it! I used my fresh grown basil too!

  14. Kerry
    06.21.2021

    5 stars
    Perfect summer dish or side! Easy and quick! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  15. Carrie Ullenbruch
    06.21.2021

    5 stars
    This orzo salad was AMAZING!! It will be a staple in our summer menu (and beyond that). I’m not an olive fan so I swapped those out with banana peppers and loved the flavor that they added. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Anna Bartels
    06.19.2021

    5 stars
    Delicious and refreshing. Easy to double it and have a ready-to-go lunch for multiple people!

  17. Laura Sprauer
    06.19.2021

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe. Made in on a night when it was well in the 90’s and it was a hit! And that Greek dressing is really a keeper!

  18. Erika Wycoff
    06.17.2021

    5 stars
    This was my first time cooking orzo ever so I appreciated the tip to drizzle it with EVOO while it cooled so it wouldn’t stick together. I omitted olives because my family does not like them but the salad is still very flavorful without them! Great recipe to add to my rotation. Thank you!!

  19. Tova teitelbaum
    06.17.2021

    5 stars
    Delicious!! I used farfalle pasta, homegrown arugula, sun dried tomatoes, black olives and feta! I’m actually making extra to take on the plane with me 🙂 Thank you!

  20. Joan Kopperud
    06.16.2021

    5 stars
    Great go-to summer salad recipe. I liked the varied flavors, textures, and colors, and it was so easy to make. I also appreciated that the salad keeps well for a couple days in the fridge. I added some leftover salmon the next day–tasted great! I’ll be making this again soon, I’m sure. Thanks!

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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.