This Greek Orzo Salad is packed with fresh vegetables and a ton of flavor. It can be served on its own or with a side of protein.
Why This Recipe Works
- Just like Greek salad but with hearty orzo - Orzo is a type of pasta and it's great in salads because it can hold its shape very well.
- Simple, yet flavorful - Nothing beats a salad made with what's currently in season. Vegetables bursting with flavor, fresh parsley, good feta, and kalamata olives are what make this salad so good!
- There's no lettuce - Don't get me wrong, big green salads are my favorite but sometimes it's nice to have a salad that doesn't have a ton of greens yet still has all the fresh and bright flavors.
- It's versatile - It makes a great meal on its own but it also makes a great side to any protein you like. Roast salmon or shrimp with Greek flavors like garlic, onion, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Cherry tomatoes - Any tomatoes work but I like using cherry tomatoes because they're easy to just cut in half and throw into the salad, and they usually don't release too much liquid.
- Cucumber - I like using mini cucumbers and cutting them into slices. Regular English cucumber can also be used and cut into slices or diced.
- Green bell peppers - Any color of bell peppers work here. Greek bell pepper is what is added to Greek salad so that's what I used. Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are softer and sweeter.
- Red Onion - This is the most often used onion in Greek salad. It has a slightly milder flavor than yellow onion. You can use spring onion if you don't have red onion.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - I use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. I find they have a lot more flavor than the dry version. I drain and rinse them to remove excess oil.
- Feta cheese - I always try to choose sheep or goat feta cheese but any feta works. I recommend staying away from crumbled feta because it usually has unnecessary additives.
- Kalamata olives - These olives are Greek and they're my favorite choice for this salad. If you don't have them, you can use black olives.
- Lemon Vinaigrette - This dressing is the simplest you can make! It's just lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. It's my go-to because it works with most salads.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it vegan - You can skip the feta or add a vegan version to make the salad vegan.
- Orzo - You can use gluten-free pasta or quinoa instead of the orzo to keep this salad gluten-free.
- Roasted or grilled vegetables - Roasted peppers could be a great addition! If you add roasted vegetables, it won't be a Greek salad anymore but it would make for a bigger salad packed with even more flavor! Roasted or grilled zucchini, eggplant, or onion would all be great!
- Tomatoes - Using whatever is currently in season is always best and will result in the best flavor so definitely use any tomatoes you currently have available!
- Start by cooking the orzo. This takes 14-16 minutes. While it's cooking, chop all the other ingredients.
- To make the vinaigrette, mix together lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
- Toss together the cooked orzo, chopped veggies, and the dressing. That's it! It's super simple and one of my go-to salads.
Serving and Storing
- You can serve the salad on its own or with a side of protein. I like adding roasted salmon or shrimp but chicken would work too.
- If you're not planning to eat the salad right away, you can store the dressing separately from the vegetables and add it right before serving. That being said, this salad has no greens so it actually holds up well when stored dressed. I actually prefer it the next day because it soaks up all the flavors really well overnight.
- The salad keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I wouldn't keep it any longer than that because it has feta in it.
No, unfortunately, orzo is made of durum wheat which has gluten.
You can use any other pasta you'd use in a salad or add greens instead. I like adding mixed greens or romaine lettuce.
Yes, it lasts in the fridge for up to 3 days. I wouldn't store it longer than that because there is cheese in it.
Other Mediterranean and Greek Recipes
Fun fact, I had no idea I already had a Mediterranean orzo salad on the blog when creating this recipe! The addition of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh parsley really makes this one feel like the main dish. The one linked below is a great side to a BBQ!
Try this delicious Greek Orzo Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes. It has all the great Greek salad flavors but with hearty orzo pasta.
- 1 cup (170g) dry orzo
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (or 4-5 mini cucumbers)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips and seeds removed
- 1 medium red onion, peeled, ends removed, and thinly sliced root to stem
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, rinsed, and chopped
- ¾ cup feta cheese (100g), cut into cubes
- ½ pitted kalamata olives, halved
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lemon, juiced (2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the orzo according to package instructions as you would pasta. This should take about 14-16 minutes. Drain, rinse, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and fresh parsley, and toss gently.
- In a small jar, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir well or shake and pour over the salad.
- Serve as is or with a choice of protein (I like adding roasted salmon).
If you don’t plan to serve the salad right away, you can mix everything together except for the dressing, and drizzle that over the salad right before serving. That being said, this salad doesn’t have any greens so it handles the dressing well even if you add it right away and store the salad. It keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Gluten-free: Orzo contains gluten so use quinoa or gluten-free pasta instead of the orzo.
Keywords: Greek salad, orzo salad, summer