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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Comments

  1. Susan Seidler says:

    5 stars
    This was amazing, I used basil instead of the dill and made the traditional Greek dressing. So many flavors in one bite! Will definitely make again.

  2. Karin Schoen says:

    5 stars
    Excellent salad recipe. Made it last night along with the garlic-spice rubbed grilled chicken thighs. Had hoped for leftovers but our guests loved it so much - kept commenting on how delicious it was - that it was all gone!

  3. Sandra Pemberton says:

    I am making this recipe this weekend. Is it possible to add chickpeas?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Absolutely! Enjoy!

  4. Jean says:

    Can you make this a day ahead of time? I noted that the cucumbers should be left out until just before serving. But with the rest of the salad keep over night to be served the next day at dinner? Thank you

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Jean! You can! I would leave out the cucumbers and the feta until just before serving.

  5. Sue Powis says:

    5 stars
    Hi. I'm new to this site and I'm loving the recipes. But would it be possible to put metric weights as a click tab as I'm constantly having to look up weights in cups! I have made a few dishes from the downloaded booklet and they were well received when we here in UK had two weeks of hot, glorious weather. I made this chicken dish yesterday and it was delicious although I did add more garlic to the marinade...

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Sue. This is something we are hoping to implement as soon as we find a tool that works well with our website.

  6. Judy says:

    5 stars
    This was excellent! Our new go to summer salad. 😊

  7. Cyndi says:

    5 stars
    This was very good -I did not have any tomatoes, so I added red bell pepper. Super good and lots of compliments.

  8. Kate says:

    Love this recipe and, like all your recipes, I tried to save it in my Paprika app, but this one wouldn't save. Have you any idea why? Love your recipes! Thanks, Kate

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Kate. We're not familiar with the Paprika app, so not sure what the issue might be.

    2. Trish says:

      I also use the Paprika app and I didn’t have any trouble downloading it. Have you tried again? Did you try accessing the recipe through the browser function within the app?

  9. DONNA says:

    The Cucumbers were left out of the recipe, how many do you use for a serving of 24?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Donna. So sorry about that. I would use one whole English cucumber here, chopped. As noted, only use the cucumber if serving immediately so that salad doesn't get watered down.

  10. Terry says:

    Looks Wonderful

  11. Marina says:

    This is a delicious Salad! I made it without cheese as I don't eat Feta cheese.
    It's still very tasty but I am wondering if I can use any other kind of cheese?!

    1. Suzy says:

      Sure!

    2. Kaye says:

      Goat cheese is a little milder!

  12. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Delicious !! Will for sure make again

  13. Joni says:

    Made this salad and LOVED it! Your recipes are easy to follow even for me as an inexperienced cook. I watch your videos and you inspire me that "I can do that". Thank you so much Suzy!

    1. Suzy says:

      Oh, wonderful! Thank you, Joni!

  14. Lauren says:

    5 stars
    My family absolutely LOVES this salad!

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome!

  15. Glen says:

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday and we were both impressed. It proved to be a delicious simple veggie accompaniment (filler) to vegetable quiches bought from a local farmer’s market. Well worth repeating and, perhaps next time, I’ll have it down to a fine art. Will have a go at toasting the orzo before simmering.

  16. Steph says:

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipes, it’s so colorful, flavorful, and filling yet light. The only change I personally make is to use 3 lemons in the dressing because I prefer a more citrusy taste, but otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. I also recommend browning your orzo in a bit of olive oil before soaking it, it gives a nice nutty flavor and a little depth of color too. Divine!!!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thank you for sharing, Steph!