This easy Greek Orzo Salad is the perfect cold summer salad. It is loaded with fresh ingredients including tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, tangy feta cheese, chickpeas, and flavorful herbs. Finished with a vibrant, zesty homemade Greek salad dressing, this simple salad recipe is one that you will want to make again and again!
What is orzo? Orzo, or Risoni, is a short pasta that resembles the shape of rice. It is delicious when coated with olive oil or butter. In the case of this salad, the orzo is tossed with fresh ingredients, crumbled feta cheese, and a homemade Greek dressing. The result is one DELICIOUS salad!
This summertime recipe makes a LOT, enough to feed a crowd. This makes it ideal for barbecues, picnics, and even meal prep. Like my Italian Pasta Salad and my Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, the longer this Greek orzo pasta salad sits in the dressing, the more distinguished the Mediterranean flavors will be.
- Fresh Vegetables - Grape, or Cherry, Tomatoes (halved), Persian Cucumbers (sliced), Red Onion (thinly sliced)
- Kalamata Olives
- Feta Cheese (crumbled)
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Lemon Juice (fresh)
- Dijon Mustard
- Garlic (minced)
- Seasoning - Dried Oregano, Salt, and Black Pepper
- Fresh Herbs - Mint and Basil
See the recipe card for quantities.
COOK THE ORZO - Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook orzo according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and drizzle it with olive oil to prevent sticking. Cool.
Hint: To cool the orzo quickly, transfer it to a sheet tray. Spread the olive oil-coated orzo into an even layer.
MAKE THE GREEK DRESSING - Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and seasoning together. Whisk in the olive oil slowly, until emulsified.
ASSEMBLE THE SALAD - Toss the cooled orzo, tomatoes, olives, onion slices, cucumber, chickpeas, and feta in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the orzo mixture and toss until everything is coated. Finally, toss in the fresh herbs.
This salad is completely customizable. Use what you have on hand or whatever vegetables need to be used up.
- Tomatoes - Sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, or artichoke hearts
- Persian Cucumber - Hothouse, or English, cucumber
- Red Onion - White Onion or scallions
- Kalamata Olives - Canned black olives, green olives, or roasted bell peppers
- Red Wine Vinegar - White wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or extra lemon juice
- Feta Cheese - Goat cheese
- Fresh Herbs - Parsley or Dill
- Vegan - Omit the feta cheese.
- Kid-Friendly - Depending on taste preferences, omit olives and add additional cheese.
- Dairy-Free - Omit the feta cheese or use a dairy-free alternative.
- Meat - Add cooked or grilled chicken slices.
- Add Greens - Serve with spinach or arugula.
For another olive oil-based pasta salad, try my Healthier BLT Pasta Salad.
What to Serve with Orzo Salad
What pairs well with orzo salad? Similar to other salads, this recipe is a delicious side dish for just about any protein. Think grilled chicken, steak, and even burgers. It makes a great make-ahead lunch or dinner too, enough for the whole week. Add sliced or chopped chicken for a complete meal.
While I love this salad alongside grilled meats, here are a few of my other favorite recipes to pair it with.
- Slow-Cooker Greek Chicken
- Slow-Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers
- Cracker-Crusted Chicken Nuggets
- Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Stockpot
- Stainless Steel Colander
- Pyrex Prepware 4-Quart Rimmed Mixing Bowl
- Ytuomzi Chef's Knife with Ergonomic Handle Professional Chef Knife 8 Inch Forged
- HOMWE Kitchen Cutting Board (3-Piece Set)
Another great reason to make this orzo salad recipe is its long shelflife. The flavors only get better as it sits. Transfer the salad to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, portion out the salad into individual containers for easy meal prep.
Can you freeze orzo salad? No, do not freeze this salad.
- Salt the water for the best flavor. Once the water is boiling, add salt before adding orzo.
- Drizzle orzo with olive oil. To prevent the orzo from sticking together as it cools, drizzle it with olive oil. (This process adds extra flavor too.)
- Use a Microplane to mince the garlic. For easy mincing, use a Microplane grater to mince the garlic right into the bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper. After tossing all of the ingredients, taste the salad and season with additional salt and pepper as desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Orzo is pasta, so you will find it in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores.
Orzo salad can be made a day ahead. Making it in advance and allowing the dressing to permeate with the other ingredients actually results in better flavor too.
While orzo is pasta which means carbohydrates, this recipe is full of good-for-you ingredients like tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumbers, and olive oil. For fewer carbohydrates per serving, scoop over fresh greens like spinach or arugula.
Greek Orzo Salad
Greek Salad Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1½ cups orzo pasta uncooked
- 2 persian cucumbers sliced
- 2 cups grape (or cherry) tomatoes halved
- ½ red onion sliced thin
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 15 oz chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ½ cup fresh mint and/or basil leaves chopped or torn; plus more for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, salt the water. Cook orzo according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the orzo and drizzle it with olive oil; toss to coat. Allow it to cool.
- To make the Greek salad dressing, combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, oregano, salt, black pepper, and minced garlic. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified.
- Toss the cooled orzo, grape tomatoes, red onion, olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the mixture and toss until everything is coated.
- Add the fresh herbs and toss just until incorporated.
- For best results, chill the salad for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
- Garnish: Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs, feta cheese, and freshly cracked pepper.
- Store: Transfer the salad to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- For Quick Cooling: Spread the cooked, olive oil-coated orzo onto a baking sheet tray.