This Orzo Salad is a fresh, light, and flavorful pasta salad. It’s packed with fresh and zesty flavors perfect for summer menus or any time of the year.
Why You’ll Love This
This orzo salad recipe is super simple yet full of delicious fresh flavors.
It’s quick and easy to make yet makes a gorgeous salad.
There is no dairy in the orzo salad dressing so it’s perfect for potlucks, BBQs, and picnics.
It’s a healthy and hearty side dish or main dish.
This recipe is easy to modify with your favorite ingredients.
A few of our other favorite side dish recipes are Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad, Melon Salad with Honey Lime Dressing, Greek Salad with Pepperoncini, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, and Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for a full list of ingredients and recipe instructions.
- Orzo Pasta – Choose your favorite brand of Orzo.
- Add-Inns – For this orzo pasta salad recipe, we are using fresh baby spinach, fresh basil, roasted red peppers, toasted pine nuts, and crumbled feta cheese.
- Dressing – Fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, kosher salt, and pepper.
How to Make Orzo Salad
In a large pot, cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions in 4 cups of chicken broth, or vegetable broth, and 2 cups of boiling water until al dente.
When the pasta is done, drain well in a fine mesh strainer. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil over it, and toss to coat. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the lemon vinaigrette.
In a measuring cup, mason jar, or small bowl, combine the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly.
Toasted the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often until they are golden and fragrant.
Once the cooked orzo is cooled, add the chopped spinach, basil, roasted red peppers, and green onions and toss to incorporate.
Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to coat evenly. Add the pine nuts and feta cheese over the top of the salad and gently toss to incorporate.
This Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a perfect side dish for any protein. It also makes a great light lunch or snack.
- Purchase block feta cheese that’s in brine and crumble it yourself. The feta cheese will be much creamier and more flavorful.
- Cook the orzo al dente according to package instructions. You will not be rinsing the orzo, so there will be some carry-over cooking.
- Cooking the pasta in chicken or vegetable stock adds additional flavor, but if you prefer, you can boil the pasta in water.
- You can use red onions for a stronger onion flavor.
- Replace the roasted red peppers with halved grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
- Switch the feta for Pecorino Romano cheese.
- You can use other fresh herbs instead of basil, such as fresh parsley, but it will change the flavor of the salad.
- Substitute the expensive pine nuts with roasted sunflower seeds or slivered almonds.
- Add some chopped Kalamata olives.
- Add some diced cucumbers for more crunch.
- Toss in some grilled chicken or shrimp and make it a protein-rich meal.
- You can also substitute the lemon vinaigrette for your favorite Greek salad dressing, Italian salad dressing, or balsamic dressing.
Orzo is a pasta that is shaped like rice or grains. It’s also called Risoni.
Yes. Cool the pasta to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate. Make the dressing and refrigerate until ready to use. One hour before serving, assemble the salad as instructed in the recipe.
You can also chop the peppers and spinach ahead, but don’t chop the fresh basil ahead. It will turn brown pretty quickly. Toast the pine nuts (if using) and set aside.
Place the salad in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. The pasta will absorb most of the dressing, so you might want to add a little more olive oil and lemon juice to moisten and loosen the salad.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
Spinach and Feta Orzo Salad
- 2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Red Wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
- 1/3 cup Olive oil
- 2 cups Orzo pasta
- 6 cups Chicken broth or vegetable broth You can also use water
- 1 tbsp Olive oil up to 2 tablespoons, if needed
- 1 cup Fresh spinach chopped
- 1/3 cup Fresh basil chopped
- 3/4 cup Roasted red peppers dried and chopped
- 2 or 3 Green onions tops only diced
- 1/2 cup Pine nuts toasted
- 1 cup Feta cheese crumbled
- In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly.2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup Red Wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Honey, 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, 1/4 tsp Black pepper, 1/3 cup Olive oil
- Cook the orzo to al dente in 6 cups of broth or water according to the package instructions. DO NOT RINSE.2 cups Orzo pasta, 6 cups Chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Drain in a fine mesh strainer, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cool to room temperature.1 tbsp Olive oil
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often until they are golden and fragrant.1/2 cup Pine nuts
- When the pasta is cooled add the chopped spinach, basil, roasted red peppers, and green onions and toss to incorporate.1 cup Fresh spinach, 1/3 cup Fresh basil, 3/4 cup Roasted red peppers, 2 or 3 Green onions
- Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to coat evenly. Add the pine nuts and feta cheese over the top of the salad and gently toss to incorporate.1 cup Feta cheese
- Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.