This delicious lemony orzo salad is one of the best ways to use up fresh veggies and herbs from your garden or farmers' market. A great side dish for anything grilled or can stand alone as a simple summer meal.
Here we are in the middle of summer when gardens are yielding plenty of produce, and today I'm sharing one of my favorite ways to use up some of that garden goodness. This lemony orzo salad is bursting with bright summer flavors and will be a hit with your family.
Not only can this serve as a simple summer salad, it's also a great side dish to take to any BBQ or social gathering.
And since school will be starting back soon, it'll make a great lunch since it's loaded with veggies and protein.
Another great thing about this orzo salad is its versatility. I'm going to show you what I put in mine, but you can adapt it to suit your family's tastes and preferences.
Steps in Making Orzo Salad
First, you will need a box of orzo pasta. I used this one pound box which makes a lot, but this salad keeps very well in the refrigerator for several days.
To make this dish even healthier, you can use whole wheat orzo but this is the only kind that my local grocery had.
Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain but do not rinse and then put the drained pasta into a large bowl. Some of it may stick together but when you add the dressing, it will break apart.
Next, make the dressing that gives this salad its bright lemony flavor. Mince one clove of garlic and place in a small bowl along with ½ cup lemon juice.
Slowly whisk in ½ cup of olive oil. This California Olive Ranch Olive Oil is the one I use and recommend.
Pour the dressing over the warm pasta and stir to evenly distribute.
While the orzo pasta is absorbing the dressing, add the other ingredients to the bowl.
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 small cucumbers, peeled and chopped
- 2 small (2.25 ounce) cans black olives, drained
- 1 (7 ounce) jar of pitted kalamata olives
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 (6 ounce) package feta cheese crumbles
- 3 medium green peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
I almost forgot to add these green peppers from the garden!
Glad I remembered to add them because they gave the orzo salad such a nice crunch!
Add some chopped fresh basil and parsley and stir all the ingredients together.
Can be served warm but it is better when it has been chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours.
There are many other add-in and substitutions that you could use and make to accommodate personal tastes and picky eaters. Some ideas are: Parmesan cheese, mozzarella pearls, capers, garbanzo beans, baby spinach or arugula, cooked asparagus or broccoli, and slivered almonds.
To make it more of a main dish, toss in some grilled shrimp or roasted chicken.
This pasta salad would make a great tailgating dish, too. Just put it in these little individual containers and pass it around! Can't get much easier!
No matter who you serve it to, it's sure to be a hit! Check out my top pick of grape tomato recipes for you to make at home.
Lemony Garden Fresh Orzo Salad
This lemony orzo salad is great any time of the year but it really shines when garden fresh veggies are so abundant.
- 1 16 ounce box of orzo
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
- 3 small cucumbers (peeled and chopped)
- 2 2.25 ounce cans sliced black olives (drained)
- 1 7 ounce jar pitted kalamata olives (drained)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 6 ounce package feta cheese crumbles
- 3 medium green peppers (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil (minced)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (minced)
for the dressing
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse. Put the drained orzo into a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, add the minced garlic and the lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil.
Pour the dressing over the warm orzo and stir to evenly coat the orzo with the dressing.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl with the orzo and mix thoroughly.
Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
If you make this recipe and you like it, please come back and give it a rating.
Jane, as I said when I saw your post Leo shared I am a big fan of orzo. I cannot wait to fix this yummy recipe. Thank you for sharing your recipe. Love you Jean
I’ve made this several times. Outstanding!
This looks so delicious, Jane! I love the combination of flavors and textures.
I love anything lemon, I can't wait to try this!
Christy @ Our Southern Home
This looks so good!!! I love things that I can make ahead and not have to heat up the kitchen!
This salad is exactly what I love to eat in the summer. Putting it on the menu for this week. Thanks for the recipe.
Patti @ Pandora's Box
This looks so delish and refreshing!! Great photos. too