This Greek Orzo Pasta Salad recipes is a family favorite in the summer time. Crunchy veggies, fresh herbs, salty olives and creamy feta cheese are all tossed in a tangy lemony vinaigrette.
Best part, this salad can be mixed up in less than 20 minutes and can be made a day or two in advance! Hooray to stress-free entertaining! Now, who's bringing the drinks?
I'm obsessed with this Greek orzo salad. 😍
And so is everyone else I make it for.
It's colorful, filling and my favorite part, can be made IN ADVANCE!
Let's be honest, when you're entertaining at home, the LAST thing we hosts want to worry about is preparing food the day of the party.
So cold pasta salads and cold appetizers are always the types of food I prefer to prepare! That's why I appreciate this summer pasta salad, along with this potato salad, during the warmer months when I would rather be outside then stuck in the kitchen.
✔️Olive Oil: Do not replace this with any other oil. It's a GREEK orzo salad, olive oil is a must. Use the best olive oil you have!
✔️Herbs: It's important that you do not use dried herbs. FRESH herbs will bring so much more flavor to your salad.
✔️Sugar: I added a bit of sugar to the dressing to balance the acidity from the lemon.
✔️Lemon: I love the brightness of freshly squeezed lemon juice but you can swap this out for red wine vinegar if you wish. Both are Greek staples!
✔️Red Onion: Red onions are the go-to onion on all salads. They offer a crisper, spicier bite to the salad that yellow onions just can't offer.
🥗How To Make Greek Orzo Salad
The most tedious part about making this salad is the CHOPPING. (Read my tips below.)
- Cook the orzo pasta for 10-11 minutes or until al dente. It's important NOT to overcook your pasta or it will be MUSHY in the salad.
- While waiting, get all your chopping done and whisk together your vinaigrette. You want to make sure your veggies are uniform in size.
- When your pasta is ready, strain and rinse quickly with water. This will remove some of the starch and keep your orzo from sticking together.
- While still warm, add your orzo to the dressing along with the veggies, olives and feta cheese and toss well. Adding it warm will allow the flavors to really absorb into the orzo.
- Salt to taste and chill in the fridge for at least one house. Most of the time, a seasoning adjustment is needed. You may need to adjust this the next morning as well.
- Serve cold or at room temperature with more feta sprinkled over top.
📃 NOTE: You can print the FULL recipe with all ingredients & detailed instructions below!
📝Greek Pasta Salad Variations
Here are a few ideas for variations on this Greek pasta salad recipe:
- Swap out the feta cheese for goat cheese or shredded mozzarella.
- Mix in some roasted red peppers instead of sweet raw bell peppers.
- Stir in a spoonful of prepared pesto sauce.
- Add in a handful of toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds.
- Mix in some cooked and cooled shrimp or diced chicken.
- Sprinkle on some chopped fresh mint leaves for a bright pop of flavor.
- Use a different type of pasta, such as farfalle (bow tie), penne or rotini.
- Swap out the olive oil for avocado oil or melted butter.
- Use white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little bit of spice.
- Stir in a spoonful of Greek yogurt for creaminess.
Leftover Greek pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The flavors will continue to develop over time, so if you have the chance to make it a day or two ahead of time, that's even better!
What To Serve With Orzo Salad
Orzo pasta salads are a great side dish for just about ANY meal.
It's also perfect for taking to potlucks and picnics in a large "help yourself" bowl!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes, you can definitely make this Greek orzo salad ahead of time! In fact, the flavors will actually develop more as it sits in the fridge. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container so that it doesn't dry out.
Can I add protein?
Absolutely! Mix in some diced chicken, cooked shrimp or even canned tuna. You could also stir in a spoonful of prepared pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto for an extra boost of flavor.
I hope you enjoy this Greek Orzo Pasta Salad! If you try it out, please be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you have any other questions about the recipe, feel free to ask away. Thanks for reading!
Other Summer Favorites To Serve With Your Orzo:
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1½ cups orzo
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup Roma tomatoes (small dice.)
- ½ yellow bell pepper (small dice)
- ¾ cup English cucumber (small dice (leave skin on))
- ½ red onion (minced)
- ½ cup kalamata olives (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
- 10 oz feta cheese (cut into small chunks (or roughly crumbled))
- Fill a pot of water along with 1 heaping tablespoon of salt. Bring water to a boil and add in the orzo. Stir occasionally. Do not add oil.
- In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
- Chop your veggies and herbs and set aside. Have your feta ready.
- When orzo is al dente, about 11 minutes, drain the pasta well and add it to your bowl with dressing while still warm. Toss well.
- Mix in your chopped herbs, veggies and olives.
- Lastly, gently add in the feta cheese chunks making sure not to break up the feta too much.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Refrigerate for about an hour or overnight to allow flavors to marinate. Serve cold.
- I recommend making this salad a few hours in advance or the night before for the best flavor!
- Feel free to swap out any veggies or herbs you like just make sure to use FRESH herbs!
- Olive oil is a must. Don't use any other oil!