Greek Orzo Salad

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In this Greek orzo salad recipe, orzo pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, veggies and fresh herbs are tossed in a delicious homemade dressing for healthy, flavorful side dish. Mediterranean orzo salad is a great dish for a pot luck or barbecue!

Greek Orzo Salad in a serving bowl


It’s no secret that Mediterranean cuisine is my all time favorite. From homemade hummus to pita bread and of course, this Greek Orzo Salad, I could eat mediterranean fare every single day.

This mediterranean orzo salad recipe is fresh and light and bursting with flavor. Orzo pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, veggies and fresh herbs are tossed in a delicious homemade dressing for healthy, flavorful side dish.

This Greek orzo salad is a great dish for a pot luck or barbecue, and to serve alongside our favorite dishes like Greek meatballs, hummus chicken, homemade tzatziki, Greek chicken marinade, etc.

up close photo of Greek Orzo Salad with a serving spoon taking a scoop

Greek Orzo Salad Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead view of the ingredients in this Greek Orzo Salad recipe
  • Orzo. I have used whole wheat orzo with great results. Or, try this Greek pasta salad.
  • Cucumber. I suggest using peeled cucumbers! You can remove the seeds to reduce water content as well.
  • Red Onion. any onion variety works well in this recipe. I’d suggest a sweet white or yellow onion in place of the red if desired.
  • Cherry Tomatoes. You can substitute any tomato variety including heirloom, Roma, etc.
  • Chickpeas. You can use a different bean, if you’d like, or omit the chickpeas. Chickpeas are definitely my favorite choice. You can even roast them and use this crispy roasted chickpea recipe.
  • Fresh Dill. Freeze-dried dill works well too.
  • Kalamata Olives. You can substitute your favorite olive variety, but kalamatas give the most authentic Greek flavor.
  • Feta Cheese. Goat cheese, parmesan cheese, etc. are good substitutes for feta.
  • Olive oil. Avocado oil is a great substitute if you don’t have olive oil.
  • Red wine vinegar. white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are great substitutes.
  • Dijon mustard. Any mustard variety can be used in place of Dijon.
  • Dried oregano. fresh oregano or your favorite Greek spice blend both work well in this recipe.
Greek Orzo Salad in a bowl with a fork

How to Make Greek Orzo Salad

This Greek orzo salad recipe is easy to make! We’ll walk through the process step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Cook the orzo

The first step in making this Greek orzo salad is cooking the orzo. You can do this up to the day before and store it in the refrigerator so you can quickly make the salad on the day you’d like to serve it. I often cook it in the morning and let it cool until I’m ready to make the salad later in the day.

Begin by cooking the orzo in salted water according to the package instructions – which usually takes about 25 minutes.

When the orzo is finished cooking, drain and do not rinse.

two photos showing How to Make Greek Orzo Salad - cooking orzo

While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing by whisking together the ingredients in a small bowl. Alternatively, you can add them in a glass jar and shake to combine.

two photos showing How to Make Greek Orzo Salad - making the dressing

Next, transfer the cooked orzo to a large bowl, add half the dressing and stir to combine.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator until it cools down to at least room temperature. You can stir it occasionally to help it cool faster.

cooked orzo in a bowl

Assemble the Greek Orzo Salad

Once the orzo has cooled, add the cucumber, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, fresh dill, olives, feta cheese (save 1-2 tablespoons for the top), salt, pepper and the rest of the dressing.

two photos showing how to assemble Greek orzo salad

Then, stir to combine the Greek orzo salad ingredients, cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

two photos showing how to assemble greek orzo salad

Serve

Garnish with extra feta, fresh dill, olives, etc and serve cold and serve with your favorite Mediterranean Recipes.

Here are some suggestions of dishes that pair well with this Greek orzo salad:

mediterranean orzo salad in a serving bowl

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

a fork taking a bite of this Greek Orzo Salad Recipe

Greek Orzo Salad Recipe FAQs

Does orzo taste like rice?

No. Orzo is a pasta so it tastes like pasta.

Is orzo pasta healthy?

One, 2 oz serving of orzo pasta contains 7 g protein, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, and 14 g total carbohydrates.

Do you need to rinse orzo?

No. If you rinse the orzo it will soak in water and make it more difficult to absorb the dressing. So, leaving the orzo un-rinsed will ensure it absorbs the dressing very well.

Is orzo eaten hot or cold?

Sometimes orzo is served warm, but in this Greek orzo salad it’s best served cold.

Can I replace orzo with rice?

No, I suggest replacing it with a different small pasta like macaroni, orecchiette, etc.

a wooden spoon taking a scoop of Mediterranean orzo salad

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Greek Orzo Salad Recipe

Laura
In this Greek orzo salad recipe, orzo pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, veggies and fresh herbs are tossed in a delicious homemade dressing for healthy, flavorful side dish. Mediterranean orzo salad is a great dish for a pot luck or barbecue!
5 from 6 votes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 278
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Chilling1 hour
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups orzo dry/uncooked
  • 5 quarts water + 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • ½ cup red onion finely diced
  • 1 pint baby tomatoes halved
  • 15 ounces chickpeas drained and rinsed, about 1 ½ cups.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill or 1 tsp freeze-dried.
  • 6 ounces kalamata olives drained and rinsed.
  • 8 ounces Feta cheese crumbled

Dressing:

Instructions 

  • Cook orzo in salted water according to package instructions.
  • When orzo is finished cooking, drain and do not rinse.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients
  • Put cooked orzo in a large bowl, add half the dressing and stir to combine. Chill in the refrigerator until it cools down to at least room temperature.
  • Once the orzo has cooled, add cucumber, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, fresh dill, olives, feta cheese (save 1-2 TBS for the top), salt, pepper and the rest of the dressing. Stir to combine.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Garnish with extra feta, fresh dill, olives, etc. and serve cold.

Video

Notes

Recipe substitutions 
  • Orzo. I have used whole wheat orzo with great results.
  • Red Onion. any onion variety works well in this recipe. I’d suggest a sweet white or yellow onion in place of the red if desired.
  • Cherry Tomatoes. You can substitute any tomato variety including heirloom, Roma, etc.
  • Chickpeas. You can use a different bean, if you’d like, or omit the chickpeas. Chickpeas are definitely my favorite choice. You can even roast them and use this crispy roasted chickpea recipe.
  • Fresh Dill. Freeze-dried dill works well too.
  • Kalamata Olives. You can substitute your favorite olive variety, but kalamatas give the most authentic Greek flavor.
  • Feta Cheese. Goat cheese, parmesan cheese, etc. are good substitutes for feta.
  • Olive oil. Avocado oil is a great substitute if you don’t have olive oil.
  • Red wine vinegar. white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are great substitutes.
  • Dijon mustard. Any mustard variety can be used in place of Dijon.
  • Dried oregano. fresh oregano or your favorite Greek spice blend both work well in this recipe.
Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 553mg | Potassium: 284mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 495IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe—its become a staple dish in my home. However, since I live in Italy, I wasn’t thinking and I went to the supermarket and bought Italian orzo, which is barley in English. I’ve since made it with risoni (orzo pasta) and I actually like it better with barley!! I’m not sure I’d like it with farro as another reviewer suggested, as it’s quite dense and chewy. But the barley made for a very fortunate mistake!

  2. This looks so good! Do you think, instead of the Orzo, that a grain like Farro would work? Or is it better to stick with the Orzo or another small pasta type? Thanks very much.

  3. 5 stars
    This was SO GOOD!!! Had everything but fresh dill (used dried) and I omitted olives since were not fans. Will definitely make again!!