When you’re looking for an easy and delicious pasta salad to bring to a summer potluck or backyard barbecue, turn to this crowd-pleasing Greek Orzo Pasta Salad. It easily comes together in just 30 minutes! This chef-tested and taste-tester approved recipe is a winner!

Delicious!! This orzo salad was so fresh and easy to make. My family loved it! Thank you

~Karla B
Orzo Pasta salad in a white bowl on a table.

Why We Love Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

This Greek Orzo Salad recipe is inspired by a traditional Greek Cucumber Salad turned into a pasta salad! It is a delicious side dish for a summer picnic, barbecue or cookout.

Is fast, flavorful and so simple to make this pasta salad: Just stir cooked orzo with a simple lemon and herb vinaigrette, crumbled feta cheese, fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red onion and kalamata olives. It is the perfect side dish for the warmer months!

Ingredients for Greek Orzo Salad

1 ½ cups dry orzo pasta (about 11 ounces) 1/3 cup lemon juice 1 clove garlic, finely minced ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 2 ½ teaspoons dried oregano 1 ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half 1 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably reduced fat ½ cup pitted black Greek olives, roughly chopped ½ cup minced red onion in small glass bowls on a table.
  • Orzo: An Italian rice-shaped pasta commonly used in soups like Italian Wedding Soup or Minestrone, and can be found in the pasta aisle. For this recipe you need 1.5 cups of dry orzo.
  • Fresh Veggies: This recipe uses grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion and European crisp cucumbers, all traditional for a Greek salad. I like to chop the vegetables into small pieces to pair well with the size of the pasta.
  • Feta Cheese: Featuring a salty and tangy taste, feta is a Greek brined curd cheese usually made from sheep’s milk. Feta is traditionally served as a table cheese, in Greek salads, and pastries – like phyllo-based dishes such as Spinach and Feta Filo Pie. Lucky for us, feta is readily available at most grocery stores and can be purchased as a block or already crumbled. If you buy a chunk, just crumble prior to adding to the pasta salad.
  • Black Olives: The mild saltiness of black olives are a no-brainer addition to this dish because of their tasty Greek origin. Look for Greek olives instead of mild California olives. Buying pitted olives will save you a step.
  • Lemon Juice and Olive Oil: Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best, and extra virgin olive oil is a staple for Mediterranean cooking. See my collection of homemade salad dressings for more ideas!
  • Herbs and Seasoning: To amp up the flavors in this Mediterranean Orzo Salad recipe, I used fresh chopped dill and mint. (Feel free to sub in fresh basil for either.) And to give the dressing classic Greek Salad Dressing flavor I used dried oregano. A must in my opinion! Plus the requisite salt and pepper.

How To Make This Orzo Salad Recipe

On the left: Orzo pasta being cooked in a pan with a metal spoon lifting some out of the pan. On the right: Glass bowl with dressing ingredients being whisked.

Step 1: Cook Orzo

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly.

Chef Katie’s Pro Tip: Orzo in pasta salad is best when it is fully cooked and not cooked al dente. Follow the guide on the package directions erring toward the end of the range and taste it before you drain the pasta.

Step 2: Make the Greek dressing

Whisk lemon, garlic, olive oil, dill, mint, oregano, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. 

Left: Orzo pasta with salad dressing in it in a glass bowl and a silver spoon in it. Right: Orzo Pasta salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.

Step 3: Mix Pasta with the Dressing

Add the cooled pasta to the dressing and toss to coat. 

Step 4: Assemble the Pasta Salad

Add tomatoes, cucumber, feta, olives and red onion and toss to combine. Serve immediately at room temperature for the best texture and flavor. Of course, if you prefer a cold pasta salad, you can chill it before serving.

Close up of Orzo Pasta Salad in a white bowl on a table with a slice of lemon and a leafy garnish on top.

Make Ahead, Storage and Leftovers

  • Make Ahead: You can make this delicious Greek pasta salad a day ahead for party prep. Cut and add the cucumber and tomatoes just before serving for the best texture. You can make a little extra dressing and keep it separate in a mason jar, and add to the salad if it is a little dry on the second day. Or simply add additional olive oil.
  • Storage: Keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. Adjust the dressing if necessary if the flavors are muted after a day or two. For the best texture, let it come up to room temperature, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes before serving.

Orzo Pasta Salad Variations

  • Use whole-wheat orzo instead of regular orzo or try another small type of pasta. Weigh out 11 ounces.
  • Substitute cooked quinoa for the orzo to make it gluten-free like our Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.
  • Add in diced cooked grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken and serve as a main course.
  • Use red wine vinegar instead of fresh lemon juice in the homemade Greek dressing. Or try our Red Wine Vinaigrette recipe.
  • Mix up the fresh vegetables: Try adding diced bell peppers instead of tomatoes. Add in artichoke Hearts or chopped roasted red peppers with the other veggies. Or use green onion instead of the red onion.
  • Add garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or mozzarella pearls for more meatless protein.

Serving Suggestions For Greek Orzo Salad

You can eat Greek Orzo Salad on its own for a healthy lunch, or a light dinner. Serve it with other healthy side dishes for a summer picnic, barbecue or cookout. Orso Salad will go with any Mediterranean main dish like lamb, grilled chicken or shrimp.

Additional Recipes To Try

Orzo Pasta salad in a white bowl on a table.

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Close up of Orzo Pasta salad in a white bowl on a table.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad


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5 from 8 reviews

Description

This Orzo Greek Pasta Salad comes together in 30 minutes and has just a couple easy steps. Simply toss together cooked orzo pasta with a tangy lemon garlic vinaigrette and a generous handful of chopped fresh dill and mint. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups dry orzo pasta (about 11 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably reduced fat
  • 1/2 cup pitted black Greek olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain through a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Whisk lemon, garlic, olive oil, dill, mint, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the pasta and toss to coat. 
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, feta, olives and red onion and toss to combine. Serve immediately or chill.

Notes

Cooking The Pasta

Orzo in pasta salad is best when it is fully cooked and not cooked al dente. Follow the guide on the package directions erring toward the end of the range and taste it before you drain the pasta.

Make Ahead

You can make this a day ahead but cut and add the cucumber and tomatoes just before serving for the best texture. You may need to add additional olive oil on the second day so taste it to see if it seems a little dry.

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Greek

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Scant Cup
  • Calories: 262
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 7 g