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Greek Orzo Salad

Greek Orzo Salad is fresh and bright, perfect for summer! Made with feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olive, and plenty of herbs and lemon, this pasta salad is delicious on its own or alongside grilled chicken.

White plate of greek orzo salad garnished with wedges of lemon

As the temperature heats up here in Ohio, we’re starting to crave lighter dinners like this simple Greek Orzo Salad. We can pull it out of the fridge and top it with grilled chicken breast or even leftover pulled rotisserie chicken.

Not only is it perfect for a quick weeknight meal, it’s also great for a potluck or backyard barbecue.

Once you give this Greek Orzo Salad, I’m pretty sure it will become one of your new summer favorites.

Ingredients for greek orzo salad arranged on a blue countertop

WHAT IS ORZO

If you’ve ever eaten orzo at a restaurant, you might think it’s a type of rice because of the shape. It looks a lot like rice, after all!

But orzo is actually pasta! You can find it in the grocery store with the other small, shaped pasta.

Orzo is great in pasta salad recipes like this Greek Orzo Salad, but is also delicious in soups and even in risotto-like dishes like Parmesan and Spinach Orzo.

Just like most pastas, you can often find whole wheat orzos in addition to regular orzo. Feel free to use the whole wheat version in this recipe if you’d like to up the fiber and protein content.

Orzo cooking in vegetable stock in a sauce pot

HOW TO COOK ORZO

Again, don’t get distracted by the fact that orzo looks like rice. Orzo is cooked up just like any other type of pasta!

Cook as much orzo as you like in a pot of boiling, salted water for 8-10 minutes. Once the orzo is al dente, drain the pasta.

In this recipe, I like to cook the orzo in a mixture of vegetable stock and water to add more flavor to the orzo itself before mixing up the pasta salad. You could also use chicken stock if you prefer!

Cooked orzo pasta being stirred with a wooden spoon in a metal mixing bowl

HOW TO MAKE THIS GREEK ORZO SALAD RECIPE

I love using orzo to make this Greek Orzo Salad. It’s similar to my Greek Pasta Salad, but there’s something about eating a salad made with orzo that feels extra special.

To make this summery salad, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound Orzo 
  • 1 (32oz) carton vegetable stock 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic 
  • 1 medium-large shallot, finely diced
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered 
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into half moon shapes 
  • ⅓ to ½ cup olives, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon 
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh basil, mint, and parsley, finely chopped
  • A splash of red wine vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
Vegetables and herbs for greek orzo salad in a mixing bowl, about to be mixed with cooked orzo

I like to use a mix of green and black olives, but you can use whichever you prefer. I know some people have strong opinions on green versus black olives!

If you really don’t like olives, you can leave them out altogether, although I think they add a nice briney flavor to the salad.

Start by cooking the orzo in the vegetable stock and water. Drain the orzo, rinse it in cold water, and toss it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Dressing being poured over greek orzo salad in a metal mixing bowl

Mix the cooked orzo with all of the remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. It’s important to give the salad a taste before salting it – feta and olives are both really salty, so you don’t want to add too much salt on accident.

I recommend covering the salad and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving it. The flavors will really start to pop after a few hours or even the next day, but you can definitely serve it right away if you like.

Wooden spoon stirring together greek orzo salad in a metal bowl

WHAT TO SERVE WITH GREEK ORZO SALAD

I think this salad is totally delicious all on its own, but you can pair it with your favorite protein to make it a full meal.

It is a delicious side dish alongside Greek Chicken Kebabs or Salmon Kebabs

Overhead view of greek orzo salad in a serving bowl on a blue countertop

You could even whip it up for your next cookout alongside staples like Ambrosia Salad or Old Fashioned Baked Beans.

If you are looking for a pasta salad full of bright flavors, you’ll definitely want to try this Greek Orzo Salad this summer.

Greek orzo salad in two small white bowls surrounded by olives, feta, and slices of baguette
White plate of greek orzo salad garnished with wedges of lemon

Greek Orzo Salad

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Greek Orzo Salad is fresh and bright, perfect for summer! Made with feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olive, and plenty of herbs and lemon, this pasta salad is delicious on its own or alongside grilled chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Orzo
  • 1 (32oz) carton vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 medium-large shallot, finely diced
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into half moon shapes
  • ⅓ to ½ cup olives (use a mix of your favorite green or black olives: Kalamata, manzanella, castelvetrano, etc), roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh basil, mint, and parsley, finely chopped
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring vegetable stock and water to a boil in a medium pot. Cook orzo to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water then place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. To the orzo, add the feta cheese and all of the herbs and vegetables, then mix in the lemon zest and juice, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. For the best flavor, cover and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving, though it can be served immediately.

Notes

Finely diced pickled red onion and sun-dried tomato are good subs and/or additions. Couscous is also a good substitute for orzo.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6
Amount Per Serving Calories 342Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 25mgSodium 533mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 3gSugar 10gProtein 11g

Did you make this recipe?

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Lorie Vance-Castaneda

Tuesday 19th of March 2013

Made this tonight...minus the bell peppers and it was soo yummy! Thanks for a great recipe! We eat another orzo salad every week that is one of our favs (with spinach, garlic and feta) and now I'm so excited to add another one in our menu lineup!

Heather

Thursday 14th of June 2012

I know this is an older recipe. I have made it many times and everyone loves it! I am thinking about making it for a house boat trip and wonder how far in advance it can be made? How long will it stay good for?

Thanks!

Jamie

Thursday 14th of June 2012

Heather- Thanks for stopping by! I will typically make this night before I plan on serving it. It allows the flavors to meld a bit - I'll add a bit more dressing right before serving. Have a great night. -Jamie

Karen Peterson

Sunday 27th of May 2012

So good....made this tonight before my boys (husband and son) head to Florida with the Greek Chicken Kabobs and all was inhaled; thanks for sharing a recipe that is now a favorite of my whole family!!

Angela

Friday 29th of July 2011

Looks good! How many servings does this make?

Jamie

Saturday 30th of July 2011

Angela- This makes about 4-6 servings. Thanks for stopping by. Jamie

Sarah

Monday 18th of July 2011

This salad was so good. It was light and fresh with all the crunchy veggies. Perfect side for the greek chicken kabobs!

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