A bright, fresh, and delicious Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad that makes the perfect side dish or light meal. This dish is packed with fresh vegetables, orzo pasta, and topped off with a homemade lemon-herb dressing for the perfect Greek-inspired salad.
Why I Came Up With and Love This Recipe
When I was working in retail one of my go-to meals was a Greek pasta salad at the mall. I knew once I left that job I would have to try and recreate the salad at home, and I finally nailed it.
I love to make this salad in the summer when I have fresh vegetables from my garden, but it's also easy to make any time of year with basic ingredients. The part of this recipe that took me a while to figure out was the dressing that pulls the whole thing together.
I finally found a delicious combination of herbs, fresh lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil that not only works perfectly in this dish but is also just a great salad dressing to have in your arsenal. Check out my Lemon Herb Salad Dressing or find the link in the recipe card.
Ingredients Needed to Make Lemon Orzo Salad
The photo below is of the salad ingredients as well as the Lemon Herb Salad Dressing ingredients. You really only need a handful of ingredients to make this orzo salad.
Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes add a burst of juicy sweetness and vibrant color to the orzo pasta salad. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
Red Onion: Red onion brings a sharp and slightly sweet flavor to the salad. It adds a crunchy texture and a pop of color.
Green Bell Pepper: Green bell pepper provides a crisp and refreshing element to the salad. It adds a mild, slightly tangy taste.
Cucumber: Cucumber adds a cool and refreshing crunch to the orzo pasta salad. It is hydrating and contributes a subtle, fresh flavor.
Greek Olives: Greek olives add a briny and savory element to the salad. They provide a rich flavor and pleasant saltiness.
Boxed Orzo Pasta: Orzo pasta is a small, rice-shaped pasta that is perfect for salads. It cooks quickly, has a smooth texture, and tastes wonderful cold.
Feta Cheese: Feta cheese adds a tangy and salty taste to the orzo pasta salad. It has a crumbly texture and enhances the overall Mediterranean flavor.
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds a bright and zesty flavor to the salad. It's highly recommended to use freshly squeezed juice since bottled juice has extra additives.
Dried Oregano: Dried oregano contributes an earthy and aromatic flavor to the orzo pasta salad. It is a common herb used in Mediterranean cuisine.
Garlic Clove: Garlic brings a pungent and savory taste to the salad. It adds depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile.
Kosher Salt: Kosher salt enhances the flavors of the ingredients and helps to season the salad properly. I always recommend kosher salt because it dissolves easily and evenly and has a milder saltiness.
Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Black pepper adds mild heat and subtle spiciness to the orzo pasta salad. It complements the other flavors.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is used to dress the salad, providing richness and a smooth texture. It adds a distinct fruity and peppery flavor.
How to Make This Greek Lemon Orzo Salad Recipe
If you haven't made or bought the dressing yet, make the lemon herb salad dressing. Clean and cut the cherry tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, and greek olives.
Cook the orzo pasta according to the box instructions. Give the pasta a quick rinse with cold water and set it aside.
In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and all of the prepared vegetables. Pour in ¼ cup of the dressing and stir to combine. Continue to add the dressing to taste.
Pour in the crumbled feta cheese and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Overnight is best to allow all of the flavors to blend together.
Substitutions and Variations to this Lemony Greek Pasta Salad
Although I highly recommend making your own dressing, you can use store-bought dressing and save yourself a step. And if you don't want the lemon flavor, you can use red wine or balsamic vinegar, just add to taste in place of the lemon juice.
If you don't have or like Greek olives, you can use black olives.
Cherry tomatoes work so well in this salad because they are nice and sweet and the perfect size for slicing. But, you can also use any tomato and still have a delicious salad.
Orzo pasta works well in this dish because of its size. The small pasta makes it possible to get more of the other flavors in each bite. However, you can also make this with other types of pasta like bowtie or elbow to name a few.
Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 large bowl
- plastic wrap or cover for the bowl
- 1 16 ounce box orzo pasta, cooked
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ pound greek olives, halved or quartered
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- lemon herb salad dressing
- Cook the orzo pasta according to the box instructions. Give the pasta a quick rinse with cold water and set it aside to continue to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Prepare the cherry tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, and greek olives. Depending on the size of the tomatoes and olives, you can cut them in half or quarter them. You want everything to be similar in size and small enough to be able to get all of the goodies in one bite.
- If you haven't made or bought the dressing yet, make the lemon herb salad dressing.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and all of the prepared vegetables. Pour in ¼ cup of the dressing and stir to combine. Continue to add the dressing to taste.
- Pour in the crumbled feta cheese and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Overnight is best to allow all of the flavors to blend together.
- Store any leftovers covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Although I highly recommend making your own dressing, you can use store-bought dressing and save yourself a step. And if you don't want the lemon flavor, you can use red wine or balsamic vinegar. Add to taste in place of the lemon juice.
- If you don't have or like greek olives, you can use black olives.
- Cherry tomatoes work so well in this salad because they are nice and sweet and the perfect size for slicing. But, you can also use any tomato and still have a delicious salad.
- Orzo pasta works well in this dish because of its size. The small pasta makes it possible to get more of the other flavors in each bite. However, you can also make this with other types of pasta like bowtie or elbow to name a few.
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Did You Make this Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
If you get a chance to make this Greek Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment below. You can also tag me on Instagram. or Facebook.
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Made this tonight. So good! I omitted the olives (not a fan), and added some homemade pesto. Thanks so much!!
Grace, that sounds delicious, adding pesto is so smart! Thanks for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out!
Rosalind Davis says
Very easy and delicious also l added Broccoli it's my favorite salad thank you
Oooh, love the addition of broccoli, great idea!
Rosalind Davis says
Very easy and delicious
Thanks, Rosalind, I'm glad you liked it!
This orzo pasta salad was the perfect addition to our BBQ today. Will definitely be making this again
So glad to hear it, it's perfect for BBQ's!
Beautiful and easy recipe for summer !
This recipe is absolutely fantastic! Will be making again for sure.
Thanks for trying it out!
Gina Abernathy says
The best dish of the summer is a big pasta salad! All of those veggies and delicious dressing in my mouth in one bite!
I totally agree! Love those summer veggies!
love a pasta salad, making them in advance and enjoy as my meal
Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady says
Oh wow, I need to make this at work! I bet the clients would love this option for a quick cold lunch on a hot day!
Loved the refreshing but light flavor on this! Such a great summer meal.
This is the perfect light lunch for summertime. And that lemon herb dressing is fantastic!
Thanks, Crystal. I put that herb dressing on so many things. Thanks for trying it.
I made this with vegan feta (there are several brands now) and it was amazing!!
So smart, thanks for sharing, Michelle.
I'm going to a cookout this weekend and this salad will be going with me! It's a new favorite!
I hope it's the hit of the party.😎
Such a delicious salad! A wonderful combination of flavours 🙂
Brianna May says