Easy Lemon Orzo Salad

DFVGV

This Orzo Pasta Salad is simple to make, light, and refreshing. Serve it as a light meal or as a side to any dish!

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chilling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
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DFVGV
Lemon Orzo Salad with Fresh Cucumbers and Cherry Tomatoes

This easy Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad is simple to make, light, and refreshing. It’s made with fresh produce like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and then seasoned with fresh herbs like basil and dill. The lemon vinaigrette and feta cheese makes this a winning side for any occasion or meal. Its vegetarian, fresh and super flavorful and ya’ll are going to love this mediterranean-inspired pasta salad recipe!

What is Orzo?

Orzo, also known as risoni in Italy, is a small pasta that is shaped like grains of rice. It can be served in various ways and it cooks very quickly. It’s often used in Mediterranean or Greek recipes and our favorite go to is this Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad. It’s vegetarian, simple to make, and packed with a ton of flavor, making it a crowd-pleaser side!

What’s in this Orzo Salad?

  • Orzo Pasta is the key ingredient, but if you don’t have any on hand, couscous would be a great substitute.
  • Fresh Veggies like Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber, Red Onion and Garlic. You can also mix it up and add fresh red bell pepper, shaved asparagus, or zucchini.
  • Fresh Herbs like Dill and Basil
  • A Lemon Vinaigrette made with fresh lemon juice and zest, extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  • Feta Cheese is delicious here, but optional. We also like Havarti cheese as well.

How do you Cook Orzo?

There are 2 ways you can cook orzo pasta. First option is to cook it like pasta in a large amount of salted water and then draining. Second option is to cook it like rice where it simmers in the flavored water and absorbs all the liquid. Our go-to is the first option, because we found that it makes the pasta more tender and less sticky in texture. We noticed that when you cook it like rice, the pasta comes out sticky and generally not good. If you go this route, we recommend rinsing the cooked orzo afterwards to help deplete the extra stickiness.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. We typically add about 8 cups water per 1 cup of orzo.
  • Add the orzo, bring back to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente. If it’s mostly tender with a small amount of “chewiness” in the middle, the pasta is al dente and ready.
  • Drain excess water, and add it to a bowl with dressing and fresh veggies.

How to make Orzo Salad?

  • Cook the orzo. Options noted above.
  • Chop the fresh vegetables and herbs. Dice up the cucumber and red onion, mince the garlic, and halve the cherry tomatoes. Then coarsely chop fresh dill and basil. Add them to a bowl.
  • Make the Lemon Vinaigrette. Add lemon juice, zest, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Whisk until combined.
  • Mix it all together. Add the cooked orzo to the bowl with the fresh veggies and herbs. Add lemon dressing and feta cheese. Give it a toss to combine.
  • Chill in fridge before serving. Chill the pasta salad in the fridge until ready to serve. This allows the flavors to melt together.

This herby and lemon-flavored orzo pasta salad with feta is a crowd favorite. Full of flavor, easy to make, tangy, fresh, and lemony. We hope you enjoy our mediterranean-inspired lemon orzo recipe! ♡

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad served with smoked paprika chicken

FAQs

Ingredient Substitutions:


Different Veggies: Shaved asparagus or red bell peppers
Different Cheese: Havarti cheese
Grains/Pasta: Couscous

How do you make this recipe into a meal?


For protein, I recommend adding grilled chicken flavored with smoked paprika.
For Vegan options, I recommend roasting chickpeas with smoked paprika.

How long does this pasta salad last?

Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. This recipe can easily be made ahead of time too as the flavors develop the longer the salad chills in the fridge. 

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

5 from 4 votes
This Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad is simple to make for a light meal or served as a side to any dish!
Lemon Orzo Salad with Fresh Cucumbers and Cherry Tomatoes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chilling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Yields 4

Ingredients

Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 halved red onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 English cucumber diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • ¼ cup fresh dill coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil coarsely chopped
  • Generous pinch of salt and black pepper plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup feta cheese or leave out if vegan

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinager
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Generous pinch of salt and black pepper plus more to taste

Instructions

  • Make the Orzo Pasta: Fill a medium pot with water, add a generous amount of salt, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook for about 8 – 10 minutes, occasionally stirring, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.
  • Prepare Pasta Salad: Add the diced cucumbers, red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, fresh dill and basil, feta cheese, and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper to the large bowl with the cooked orzo pasta. Toss together to combine.
  • Make the Lemon Dressing: Whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  • Put it all together: Add in the Lemon Dressing to the Pasta Salad and toss everything together to combine. Refrigerate for 1-hour to allow the flavors to develop.

Notes

*Calories are per serving and are an estimation
Ingredient substitutions: If you want to use different vegetables, shaved asparagus or red bell peppers would work really well. If you want to use different cheese, try havarti cheese.
To make this a meal: For protein, I recommend grilled chicken flavored with smoked paprika. For Vegan options, I recommend roasting chickpeas with smoked paprika.
Storage: Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. 
Make it ahead: This recipe can easily be made ahead of time as the flavors develop the longer the salad chills in the fridge. 
Course: sides
Cuisine: New American-Inspired
Diet: Vegetarian
Keyword: lemon herb dressing, lemon orzo pasta salad, lemon orzo salad, Mediterranean orzo salad with lemon vinaigrette

Nutrition Facts

Serving4gCalories304.22kcalCarbohydrates33.27gProtein7.04gFat16.24gSaturated Fat3.24gPolyunsaturated Fat1.73gMonounsaturated Fat10.38gCholesterol8.35mgSodium117.16mgPotassium260.7mgFiber1.9gSugar3.42gVitamin A556.59IUVitamin C20.06mgCalcium76.62mgIron1.26mg
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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was so good, every bite was refreshing. I’m glad I tried it, it was so easy to make. I definatley recommend this recipe.

    Thankyou for the recipe ideas