Easy Mediterranean orzo salad recipe with feta, loads of crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and a tangy Greek dressing. Make this healthy pasta salad for your next picnic or prepare it ahead for dinner! It’s even better the next day.

Mediterranean orzo salad in a large bowl

Orzo: So many ways to use this tiny pasta! 

Orzo is a tiny pasta that looks like rice, and it’s one of my go-to pantry staples because it takes very little effort to cook and can be served hot or cold! It’s honestly one of my favorite types of pasta. I toast it up with some sun-dried tomatoes for a quick side, bake it with Greek-style chicken, or throw it in a lemony soup when I’m looking for something comforting.

And if we’re talking favorite pasta salad for a summer cookout, it’s orzo salad for the win. This Mediterranean orzo salad recipe with feta, loads of crunchy veggies, and tangy Greek-style dressing is loaded with flavor and goes with nearly any protein of your choice (I like it a lot with souvlaki or grilled chicken breast). And because it keeps well, it’s the perfect make-ahead dish for a picnic or to pack for lunch. 

ingredients for orzo salad including olives, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onion, orzo, parsley, dill, salad dressing, and feta cheese.

Orzo salad recipe ingredients 

These are familiar ingredients that you may find in a Greek orzo salad. Together, they deliver some big bold flavors that I enjoy year-round. Here is what’s in it: 

  • Tomatoes: I like using small tomatoes here like grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. Even though they’re small, it’s a good idea to slice them in half so that they release their juices and add flavor to the salad.
  • Chopped vegetables: Green onions (use both the white and green parts for a more dynamic flavor), green bell pepper with the seeds removed, and cucumber. I recommend only using a cucumber if you’re serving immediately. The water content of the cucumber will not sit well in the fridge if you’re making this salad ahead.
  • Herbs: I use fresh parsley and dill. They add an earthy flavor that brightens the dish. Dill is grassy with a licorice-like taste and parsley has lots of herbaceous notes. 
  • Kalamata olives and capers: These add texture and a nice briny tang.
  • Crumbled feta: Use a little or a lot, but a few crumbles of salty feta will seal the deal on this pasta salad!

The dressing 

The healthy, bright salad dressing is a close version of my go-to ladolemono dressing. All you need is some good extra virgin olive oil, lots of fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and a dash of dried oregano. 

Simply combine the ingredients in a small bowl, season with a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Or, throw all the dressing ingredients  in a Mason jar and shake vigorously!

And if you don’t use all the salad dressing, it will keep in a tight-lid container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks! (But I try to use mine within a week.) 

Greek orzo salad with a side of lemons

How to make orzo salad 

Very little effort required to make this quick pasta salad! Start by cooking the orzo pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. (Mine took about 8 minutes, but follow package instructions.) 

While the tiny pasta cooks, chop up the vegetables and herbs. And when the pasta is ready, drain and allow it to cool a little bit.  

Combine the chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, olives, and capers in a large bowl. Add the drained orzo pasta and stir gently. 

Grab your prepared salad dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano, and pour it over the orzo salad. Toss until all the salad elements are well-coated in the dressing. (Note that, depending on your taste, you may not use all the dressing). Top with chunks of creamy feta cheese, cover, and refrigerate for a while before serving.  

Orzo pasta salad tips for success

While this pasta salad recipe is fairly fuss-free, I have a few tips that make all the difference in flavor!

  • For best flavor, dress the orzo while still somewhat warm. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well and let it cool briefly. But don’t let it cool completely – it’s good if the pasta is still a little bit warm when you toss the salad together. Somewhat warm pasta will drink up the lemony dressing and absorb the flavors well.
  • Chop the tomatoes and vegetables into small chunks of similar size. The smaller bites will distribute better in the pasta and will create the perfect texture.
  • Use fresh herbs. When it comes to parsley, use some of the stems as well as the leaves – they pack huge flavor. . If you need to, you can use dried herbs. Keep in mind that dried dill maintains flavor well while dried parsley is much more muted and best used as a garnish. If you’re swapping dry herbs for fresh, the general rule of thumb is to use ⅓ the amount called for in the recipe.  
  • Use some lemon zest in the dressing for even more zippy lemony flavor. 
  • Allow the salad to rest in the fridge for about an hour before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld. If you don’t have a whole hour, even a few minutes will help. 
Mediterranean orzo salad in a bowl with a spoon to serve

Serving ideas

My favorite thing about this  is how versatile it is. I serve this Greek orzo salad year-round paired with other Greek recipes. But it’s  the perfect side dish with grilled meats like lamb burgers or yogurt-marinated grilled chicken breast. And it’s also great with seafood like seared scallops, trout, salmon, or a fancy but oh-so-easy whole roasted branzino

Leftovers and storage

If properly stored in the fridge in a tightly closed container, this Mediterranean orzo salad will last 3 to 5 days. Keep in mind that if you sprinkle it with feta cheese, you’ll want to refrigerate any leftovers within an hour of serving.

More orzo recipes

Browse all Mediterranean Recipes.

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4.85 from 80 votes

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
Greek orzo salad with a side of lemons
You'll love this easy orzo salad loaded with chopped veggies, fresh herbs and other Mediterranean favorites. Tossed in a bold lemony dressing. For the best flavor, dress the Mediterranean orzo salad while the orzo is still a little warm. Pasta that hasn't cooled completely will drink up the dressing really well. And allow the salad to sit for at least a few minutes (or up to an hour in the fridge) for the flavors to meld before serving.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 10 minutes
Cuisine:
Greek, Mediterranean
Serves – 6 people
Course:
Salad

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cup dry orzo pasta
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and chopped (both white and green parts)
  • ½ green bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 cup packed chopped fresh parsley, about 1 ½ ounces
  • ½ cup packed chopped fresh dill, about 0.5 ounces
  • ¼ cup sliced pitted kalamata olives, about 1 ounce
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • Feta cheese, to your liking

For the Dressing

Instructions
 

  • Cook the orzo pasta according package instructions (mine took about 8 minutes). Drain and cool briefly.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the grape tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, parsley, dill, olives and capers (hold the feta for now). Add the orzo pasta.
  • Make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano and a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined and the orzo pasta is well coated with the dressing.
  • Top with pieces of creamy feta cheese. Cover and refrigerate for a bit before serving.

Video

Notes

  • For best flavor, mix the orzo salad while the pasta is still somewhat warm so it will absorb as much of the dressing flavors as possible. Cover and refrigerate for a bit (up to an hour) before serving to allow flavors to meld. 
  • Serving suggestions: This Mediterranean orzo salad pairs well with a variety of dishes, from lamb and chicken to scallops and salmon
  • How to store leftovers: Leftover orzo salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. If sprinkled with feta, be sure to refrigerate leftovers within an hour of serving. 
  • Visit our online shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and spices

Nutrition

Calories: 111.1kcalCarbohydrates: 6.9gProtein: 1.7gSaturated Fat: 1.4gCholesterol: 0.4mgSodium: 39.4mgPotassium: 324.4mgFiber: 2.3gVitamin A: 1878.2IUVitamin C: 45.9mgCalcium: 42.7mgIron: 1.5mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2020 and has recently been updated with new information and media of readers' benefit.  

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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4.85 from 80 votes (54 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. robin says:

    5 stars
    So delighted with another wonderful Mediterranean Dish recipe! We will enjoy this one today with veggie/chicken kabobs.
    I look forward to each week's suggestions for meals.
    I have one question though - would it be possible to add a serving size to recipes? When the notes say 'serves six' I always wonder if that's six people being careful with amounts or 3 very hungry people. Perhaps something like 'makes 6 1-cup servings'?
    Many thanks for creating such delicious recipes for us each week - absolutely the best food site online -

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Robin. Thanks for the kind words and feedback! The nutrition info here is a best estimate as we use a very simple program that calculates it for us based on the ingredient list. The exact serving size measurement is another layer that's harder for us to precisely calculate at this time. We'll keep working to find a good solution, though!

  2. Jim says:

    5 stars
    Followed recipe as written. Great flavors; a hit! Wife did it for a pot luck picnic & made a double batch. Again a hit. Keeps well in fridge, too.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Jim!

  3. Suzanne says:

    5 stars
    delicious salad! It was a hit! I used lentils instead of orzo for dietary reasons.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for sharing, Suzanne!

  4. Maya says:

    5 stars
    Yum! This was a great salad, loved all the flavors!

    1. Suzy says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Maya!

  5. Eva says:

    5 stars
    Suzy....
    this is one of my favorite recipes
    I have made this 4 times within the last month
    Love it

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks, Eva!

  6. Noelle Simpson says:

    5 stars
    Yum! This was perfect for dinner last night on the side of our grilled chicken and veggies! Perfect combo 🙂

  7. Sydnie says:

    5 stars
    This is perfect for a side dish I am needing for a dinner this week! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome!! Hope you love it

  8. Debbie A OBrien says:

    5 stars
    Hi I just tried this and its great, so light but filling i made enough to have some left over for dinner

    1. Suzy says:

      Thank you, Debbie! So glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Lisalia says:

    5 stars
    My kids loved this. I served it with the orzo still warm and they loved all the goodies in the salad. Thanks for always posting such delicious recipes!! Family friendly and healthy.

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome!!! Thanks, Lisalia!

  10. Kellie H says:

    5 stars
    By far, our favorite salad ever! Super easy to make and the fresh flavors are totally refreshing.

    1. Suzy says:

      Yay! Thank you so much, Kellie!

  11. Toni Dash says:

    5 stars
    This is packed full of amazing flavors!! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Suzy says:

      My pleasure, Toni!! So glad you gave it a try!

  12. Beth says:

    5 stars
    This sounds so delicious and tasty! I can't wait to give this a try! My daughter is going to love this recipe!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Beth!

  13. Charla says:

    5 stars
    This salad looks and sounds so flavoursome and love that I can pair it with your harissa chicken,

    1. Suzy says:

      Oooo! Great combo idea! Thanks, Charla!

  14. Michele Larocque says:

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night. My husband loved it. It was easy to make and so delicious. We have lots of leftovers and I will be taking it to work for lunch, all next week. Thank you! I will certainly be making it again.

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks, Michele!

  15. Carol says:

    This salad looks delicious. Can you suggest substitutions for the green bell pepper. My grandkids like every other vegetable. Love your videos and recipes!

    1. Suzy says:

      How about yellow peppers? A little milder, but still adds some crunch.

    2. Terri says:

      We used cucumber..

  16. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    I am about to make the baked chicken drumsticks and was looking for a side to go along. This is perfection! Thanks so much!

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome, Amanda! Thanks so much