Greek Orzo Salad is a a refreshing pasta salad perfect for light spring and summer lunches or dinners or even as a side dish all year long. This easy vegetarian recipe features fluffy pasta, fresh herbs and veggies and a bright lemon red wine vinaigrette.
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I struggle with lunch- especially in the warmer months.
We’re outside all the time either in the yard, at the park, or at the pool.
So it’s either I plan ahead, which is definitely not my strong suit, or I wind up eating a box of my kids’ Cheez Its or a whole bag of veggie straws and calling it a day.
Or I skip lunch totally and wind up hangry (emphasis on angry) there and turn into a less than nice version of me.
So I try to come up with things I can make in a batch, that will store well outside in a cooler or lunchbox so we have a lunch option on the go.
And this Greek orzo salad is one of my favorites. No surprise given how much I adore this Lemony Loaded Greek Salad with Hummus.
Not only do I love it, but both my bigger kids eat it (or parts of it) happily. They both enjoy cucumbers, olives, and chickpeas.
So my husband and I get lunch and they get veggies.
For the Greek orzo salad itself, you’ll need:
- Orzo– I use whole wheat orzo when I can find it.
- Veggies– Diced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, and chickpeas.
- Dressing ingredients– See below
That’s it! Super easy!
Greek Orzo Salad Dressing
The dressing is what makes this Greek orzo pasta salad so delicious.
It’s full of bright, fresh flavors and herbs.
To make it you’ll need:
- Olive oil– This is one time you shouldn’t substitute another oil. You really want the fruity olive oil as a base for the dressing.
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice and zest
- Garlic– Fresh pressed garlic
- Honey– Want to keep the dressing vegan? Sub maple syrup or even a little sugar.
- Fresh herbs– Chopped fresh parsley and oregano
- Salt and pepper
How to Make
1. Cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. When the orzo is done cooking, drain it and let it cool.
2. Prep the veggies.
While the pasta cools, prep your veggies. Dice the cucumber into bite sized piece and halve your cherry tomatoes. Add them to the chilled pasta.
3. Make the dressing.
To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse it until the dressing is emulsified or whisk the the ingredients vigorously in a bowl.
4. Assemble the orzo salad.
Gently toss the chopped veggies, cooked and cooled orzo, and the prepared dressing together. Serve or store covered in the fridge.
To store Greek orzo salad, put in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about 4 days.
Is orzo a noodle?
Orzo is a small pasta like pastina. In Italian, orzo means barley. It is similar in size and shape to barley and is common in Greek and Italian cooking.
What is orzo made from?
Most orzo is made from durum wheat.
Is orzo healthier than pasta?
Orzo is a kind of pasta so no not really. However, you can buy whole wheat varieties that add extra nutrients into the mix.
Can I add spinach to Greek orzo salad?
Yes! You can certainly add any veggies you’d like and spinach plays a big part in traditional Greek food. If you do want to add spinach, I recommend baby spinach.
Can I add feta to Greek orzo salad?
Of course! We are not huge fans of feta, but if you are it would work well in this.
Tips and Tricks
- I highly recommend buying the sliced black olives to make your life easier.
- Don’t substitute the fresh herbs in this for dried herbs. The flavors of the fresh herbs really shine through in the dressing.
- You could also add a diced red onion for a bit of extra flavor.
What to Serve with Greek Orzo Salad
We often make this as a meal by itself, but you could certainly pair it with:
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- For the salad
- 8 ounces of orzo
- 1 whole cucumber, diced
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 ounces of black olives
- 1 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- For the Dressing
- 6 tbs of olive oil
- 3 tbs of red wine vinegar
- the juice and zest of 1.5 lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, presse
- 2 tbs honey
- 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook theozo according to the directions on the package.
- Once the orzo is cooked, drain it, set it aside and let it cool in a large bowl.
- While the orzo cools, chop the cucumber and dice the tomatoes. Set them aside while you make the dressing.
- To make the dressing, add all the ingredients for the dressing to a food processor and pulse until emulsified.
- Add the tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, drained can of chickpeas, and drained olives to the cooked, cooled orzo.
- Pour the dressing onto the pasta and veggies and gently toss everything to combine.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
See post for notes.