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 211 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.

182 comments

4.99 from 211 votes (124 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. linda k boyle
    02.06.2024

    YUM! Made as directed Forgot how much orzo expanded so I’ll share with a neighbor. As I had a ton of parsley, I added some more and gave the salad an extra squeeze of lemon.

    Good summer side dish for kabobs or Mediterranean main dish. This would pair nicely with garlic potatoes.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  2. Vicki
    02.06.2024

    5 stars
    This is so yummy. Everyone has loved it.
    Just make sure you don’t skip the basil and mint and definitely use both. Your tongue will thank you.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Vicki, I’m so glad you love the salad!

  3. Maria
    01.17.2024

    Hi, How many calories are in this?

  4. Jack
    01.08.2024

    5 stars
    I put the veggies in a large bowl and used the hot pasta to blanch the veggies. Then I used the cold dressing i put in the fridge to stop the blanching process. Once cold enough, I added in the cheese and mint.

  5. deanna
    11.05.2023

    yummy yummy get in my mouth

    • Rachel
      01.13.2024

      5 stars
      Excellent recipe! I added a smidgen more lemon juice and red wine vinegar to the dressing. I also cooled the orzo for an hour in the fridge before adding all the ingredients. I love this because now I can make my own instead of buying it premade, thank you!

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        01.15.2024

        Hi Rachel, I’m glad you loved it!

  6. Tonya from 24hourfamily.com
    11.03.2023

    Thank you for this Orzo Recipe, it looks fantastic! I’m making this for Thanksgiving this year!

  7. Flo
    10.28.2023

    5 stars
    My absolute go to orzo salad that I make all the time for lunch!! Keeps well and takes incredible, thank you for this luscious recipe! 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.31.2023

      I’m so glad it’s been such a hit!

  8. Marcy from theunpopularmom.com
    10.06.2023

    love a great orzo salad!
    ty

  9. Kelly EF
    07.29.2023

    5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for orzo and bowtie pasta salad. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.01.2023

      I’m so glad it’s been a favorite!

  10. Alex Stenning
    07.16.2023

    In the directions it seems to me unclear whether the wine and oil are simply for the dressing or should be added to the orzo as well. Please can you clarify.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.17.2023

      Hi Alex, ignore my previous comment, I didn’t see your entire question. The 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice are in addition to the vinegar that’s in the dressing. Hope that helps!

  11. Ronda
    07.03.2023

    5 stars
    Hi,
    it would be fantastic if you added a slider for servings on your site.

    I have your cookbooks, follow your blog, and subscribe to your newsletter.

    we are a family of 2 – it would be excellent and such a help to have an auto adjust to your recipes so we can scale down servings from 6 to 2 – and when we have company, scale up to 4-6.

    If you can make that happen ….. You’ll be a blogSTAR.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Best to you & your family.
    Ronda

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.03.2023

      Thanks for the suggestion, we’ll look into it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.26.2023

      Hi Diane, yes it’s in the dressing recipe if you click the “Greek Salad Dressing” link.

  12. Angela
    06.22.2023

    5 stars
    Really delicious, thank you. Simple and fresh. I like it best served chilled the day after – yum.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      06.23.2023

      Hi Angela, so glad you love the salad!

  13. Katherine Kilbourne
    06.22.2023

    5 stars
    I made it once and I loved it so now I’m making it again for my daughter’s bridal shower. Thank you for this simple yet beautiful salad.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      06.23.2023

      Hi Katherine, I’m so glad you loved the salad!

  14. Marina
    06.20.2023

    I just made it tonight. It was really really good. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.21.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  15. Marg C
    06.18.2023

    5 stars
    This is a perfect accompaniment to smoked tri-tip or grilled steak/fish. I made it for a large family gathering and everyone loved it. Keeps well for leftovers the next day, too!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.19.2023

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  16. Carly
    06.17.2023

    Hi! I have a question. There is already salt and oregano in the dressing recipe, but are we adding extra on top of what is already in the dressing recipe? Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.19.2023

      Hi Carly, yes, it’s additional. This dressing on a typical Greek salad is great as-is, but the orzo salad all together just needs a bit more seasoning.

      • Heather Kauffman
        07.25.2023

        Is this ok to make ahead? By how many days?

  17. Mysti Miskimins
    06.15.2023

    5 stars
    Super yummy for lunch. I added albacore tuna and subbed in wedged sweet campari tomatoes and parmesan. Was delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.19.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  18. Elena
    06.10.2023

    5 stars
    This was seriously delicious. My husband said it was the best salad I’ve made in a while, and I make some really good stuff. Was looking to shake up our normal hiking lunch food, so I loved how well it held up in our hiking packs. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.11.2023

      Hi Elena, I’m so glad it was a hit!

  19. Cheryl
    05.29.2023

    5 stars
    Yum! You made this vegetarian quite happy with this recipe, thank you so much! I didn’t have basil or mint so used parsley which worked really well but I look forward to trying it again with basil or mint. Love your recipes!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.30.2023

      I’m so glad you loved this one!

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.