Mediterranean Orzo Salad – The Cookie Rookie®

Looking for a new and exciting way to enjoy your summer salads? Then you need to try Mediterranean Orzo Salad! This flavorful dish is perfect for a warm summer day, and it’s also packed with healthy ingredients.

mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl with a spoon.

Orzo Salad with Feta

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta is a light and refreshing salad that is perfect for summertime.

This fresh and flavorful orzo pasta salad recipe has all the right ingredients to make the perfect lunch, appetizer, or side dish. If you’re tired of serving the same boring salads over and over, then this healthy recipe is for you. It’s always a hit, and goes well with your summer favorites.

Why You’ll Love This Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe:

  • Easy summer salad: This dish comes together easily with pantry staples like orzo pasta, olives, and feta cheese.
  • A light and healthy dish: This orzo salad is a great option if you’re looking for a lighter dish that is still filling and satisfying.
  • Perfect for a picnic or potluck: This salad can be made ahead of time and transported easily, making it a great option for a potluck or picnic.

The base of the salad is orzo pasta, which is then topped with fresh veggies like tomatoes and olives. Feta cheese and herbs add even more flavor, and the whole thing is tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette. This salad will soon become a new summertime favorite in your family.

mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl.

mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl with a spoon.

How to Make Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Cook the orzo according to package instructions.
  2. Once the orzo is cooked, add it to a large bowl along with the olives, feta cheese, and parsley (and any other herbs you’d like to add). 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Pour this over the salad and stir everything together.
  4. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredient Notes

  • Lemon: Adds freshness and brightness. Use about 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
  • Aromatics: Shallot and garlic add wonderful flavor. 
  • Dijon: Emulsifies the vinaigrette and adds a bit of tang.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme adds an earthy flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Gives the vinaigrette structure and flavor. Make sure to use a high-quality olive oil and add it slowly so it incorporates smoothly.
  • Orzo: A small rice-shaped pasta is the base of this Mediterranean pasta salad.
  • Tomatoes: Add a welcome freshness and pop of color with red or multicolored cherry tomatoes.
  • Olives: Adds a salty crunch. I love using Kalamata olives.
  • Feta: Adds creaminess and tanginess.
  • Pine Nuts: Add richness and crunch. Toast them before adding to the salad for even more flavor.
  • Herbs: Use your favorite combination of fresh herbs. I recommend about 2 tablespoons of basil/parsley and/or 1 teaspoon of thyme/oregano. 
step by step photos for how to make mediterranean orzo salad.
mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl.
What is orzo? How do I cook it?

Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta. Orzo is convenient because it functions similarly to rice, but cooks in half the time and doesn’t dry out as easily. Cook orzo like you would any small pasta shape, following the directions to make it al dente.

What other kind of pasta can I use to make Mediterranean pasta salad?

Instead of orzo, try rotini or ditalini pasta.

What else can I add to this orzo salad?

1 cup of diced cucumbers would be a delicious way to add a refreshing crunch!

Can I use bottled lemon juice in pasta salad?

I don’t recommend it. Fresh lemon juice is best. Use the juice from 1 lemon, about 3 tablespoons.

Should I serve Mediterranean orzo pasta salad at room temperature?

This is totally up to personal preference! It’s delicious at room temperature, or chilled straight from the refrigerator. Many people enjoy pasta salad even more on the second day, after the dressing has had a chance to soak into the orzo a bit, making this a great make ahead recipe!

Serving Suggestions

What can you serve with Mediterranean Orzo Salad? It’s a great appetizer before the entree, side dish, or even a lunch on its own.

  • Grilled chicken:  This salad goes great with grilled chicken breast for a complete meal.
  • Pita bread: Serve this salad with some pita bread on the side for dipping, and don’t forget the homemade hummus!.
  • Vegan option: Leave out the feta cheese to make this dish vegan-friendly.
  • Tomatoes: Add these balsamic roasted tomatoes, either on the side or right in the salad.

This dish is perfect for summer get togethers too on the patio, along with a refreshing cocktail or glass of wine.

mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl with a spoon.
a hand grabbing mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover orzo salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this salad. 

Make Ahead Instructions

  • Vinaigrette: Prepare the lemon vinaigrette up to 1 day in advance. Tightly cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk it well before adding to the orzo.
  • Orzo: Cook the orzo pasta up to 1 day in advance. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to assemble, continue with step 3. 

Orzo Pasta Salad Tip

Let the orzo cool for at least 20 minutes before adding the feta to keep the cheese crumbles intact. The feta will melt if added to warm orzo.

a spoonful of mediterranean orzo salad hovering over mediterranean orzo salad in a white bowl.

This Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a light and refreshing salad that is perfect for summertime.  It is packed with healthy ingredients and has a beautiful flavor. If you are looking for a pasta salad that is both healthy and delicious, this is the perfect recipe for you.

If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy!

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