Greek Orzo Salad is tossed with a homemade Greek dressing, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onions, olives and feta cheese. It’s the perfect summer potluck, picnic or barbecue salad to make over and over again.
This pasta salad with Greek flavours is absolutely delicious and will be the star of your summer cookout and is a great option for vegetarian guests. It also makes for a great lunch–you can toss in some grilled chicken (here’s my Greek chicken souvlaki) or shrimp for a little extra protein.
Here you can find my family recipe for a traditional Horiatiki (Greek salad) if you’re looking for another Greek salad idea.
Why this recipe works
This truly is one of the best pasta salads. Toss the orzo with an easy homemade dressing and stir in crunchy vegetables. This is the kind of salad you can make a day before serving and the vegetables will hold up well.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Orzo is a small cut pasta about the size of long grain rice. I like to use it mostly in salads like my lemon orzo salad, but it is also great in soups. You can use regular or whole wheat in this recipe.
- Cucumber adds nice crunch and sweetness, I usually like to use Persian cucumbers but regular would work as well.
- Cherry tomatoes add bursts of sweetness and bright colour to the dish.
- Green bell peppers are a staple in Greek salad, but you could leave them out if you’re not a fan.
- Kalamata olives are an ingredient that you can’t skip! They add a briny, salty flavour to the dish that is the perfect contrast with the fresh vegetables. I recommend buying them with the pits in them and removing them yourself.
- Just enough minced red onion to add some bite.
- Feta cheese–you’ll want to buy the feta that comes in a brine and crumble it yourself for the best quality.
- Olive oil is a must in any Greek recipe, because this is a cold salad, you’ll want to use your good extra virgin olive oil.
- Vinegar–I’ve used white wine vinegar in this recipe but you could also swap in red wine vinegar.
- Lemon juice adds a little extra brightness to the salad.
- Dried oregano or dried thyme are the perfect herb for a Greek-inspired pasta salad dish.
- Make it ahead. If you’re prepping this dish ahead of time, you may need to add a little bit more olive oil to loosen it up before serving. You can also jazz it up with some fresh parsley before serving.
- If you’re not a fan of raw red onion, you can rinse it under cold water to remove its initial bite.
- Toss the warm orzo with half of the dressing which means it will absorb all of the delicious flavour. You’ll stir in the rest of the dressing when you add the remaining vegetables.
I love to serve this in the summer as part of a great barbecue spread with grilled Mediterranean salmon, baked sweet potatoes (cooked on the barbecue) and grilled asparagus.
Step by step instructions
- In a measuring cup, whisk the olive oil with vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, dried oregano and salt.
- Meanwhile, cook orzo according to instructions until al dente. Drain and toss with ½ of the prepare dressing. Allow to cool.
- Stir in tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, Kalamata olives and feta. Toss with remaining dressing.
Other summer salads you might like
- Pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes
- Pasta salad with lemon herb vinaigrette
- Grilled zucchini and white bean salad
Greek Orzo Salad
For salad dressing:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
For pasta salad
- 1 ½ cups orzo
- 3 Persian cucumbers, or half a regular cucumber, chopped
- 1 225g package cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp minced red onion
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a measuring cup, whisk all ingredients for the dressing together.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, add orzo and cook according to package directions. Drain and toss, while still warm, with half of the prepared dressing. Allow to cool.
- Stir in cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, minced red onion, Kalamata olives, and feta followed by remaining dressing.
- If you’re prepping this dish ahead of time, you may need to add a little bit more olive oil to loosen it up before serving.
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