Mediterranean Orzo Salad Recipe is an easy and elevated pasta salad side dish filled with bright flavors and fresh herbs.
There is something about the warmer temps that has me craving fresh Mediterranean flavors! I’ve been making this Mediterranean salad dressing and drizzling it over this Orzo Mediterranean Salad, on my chicken, adding it to marinades and over grilled veggies too.
Orzo salad isn’t a dish you may often think of for summer BBQ’s or picnics so it is one your guests will be pleasantly surprised with! It has the perfect crunch from the cucumbers, plant protein from the garbanzo beans and bound together with a zingy Mediterranean/Greek vinaigrette dressing.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad Recipe is a satisfying side that will soon be a staple worth keeping in your salad rotation!
Plus, who doesn’t love an easy summer salad?!
What is orzo?
Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that is usually made from white flour, but can be made from whole-grain flour too.
Orzo can be easily confused with rice. Rice is simply rice, while orzo is a short-cut pasta that just happens to look a lot like rice because of its petite size.
Is orzo gluten free?
No, orzo is not gluten free because it is made from wheat semolina flour and wheat contains gluten. However, you should be able to find gluten-free orzo on grocery store shelves since the gluten-free diet is increasingly popular.
How do you cook orzo?
For this Orzo Mediterranean Salad recipe you will use the pasta method.
(This blog post is a great reference on a variety of other ways to cook orzo if you are interested in cooking it other ways!)
Bring salted water to boil, add your uncooked orzo to the water and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes (according to package directions). Drain the liquid off using a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking. Toss with a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil to prevent it from clumping.
Since this is a cold salad, you can keep the orzo in the fridge while you prep the veggies and Mediterranean dressing.
Once you have all of your veggies chopped and prepped make the Greek dressing by whisking all of the following ingredients together in a small bowl.
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped (1 tsp. dried)
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
- 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Once the orzo salad is finished, properly store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. That storage life makes this Mediterranean Orzo Salad Recipe a great meal prep option to take for lunch throughout the week.
What will I need to make this easy orzo salad?
- Red Onion
- Kalamata olives
- Quartered Artichoke Hearts
- Cherry tomatoes (or sun-dried tomatoes)
- Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans
- Greek Dressing
- Feta (optional)
How do I make a Mediterranean Orzo Salad Recipe?
Cook the orzo to package directions. In a large bowl, place the cooked and cooled orzo pasta, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, kalamata olives and artichokes together.
In a 2 cup measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the Greek dressing.
Pour the dressing over the Mediterranean Orzo Salad, toss to thoroughly mix in dressing and serve.
Some other delicious additions to this orzo salad to add variety include:
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Feta cheese
- Chopped baby spinach
- Roasted red peppers (jarred)
What do I make with orzo besides salads?
- Put it in soups
- Toss cooked orzo with broccoli
- Salads, like this delicious one!
- Treat it like rice and make stuffed bell peppers
- Use it in rice pilaf or other rice dishes
- Make as a side dish and enjoy with prawns, chicken, roasted vegetables, lamb, salmon, pork or sausage. The possibilities are endless.
This vegetarian Orzo Salad is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and a perfect make-ahead salad for all of the potlucks, picnics, barbecues and parties you have lined up this summer!
Mediterranean Orzo Salad Recipe
- 1 lb. Orzo (2.5 cups dry)
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 13.5 oz. can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes)
- 1/2 cucumber, quartered
- 1 15.5 oz. can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
- 2 cups Greek dressing
- Cook the orzo to package directions (pasta method). In a large bowl, place the cooked and cooled orzo pasta, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, kalamata olives and artichokes together.
- In a 2 cup measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the Greek dressing.Start by pouring 1 cup of the dressing over the Mediterranean Orzo Salad, taste and add more until you get it to the taste you prefer. Toss to thoroughly mix in dressing and serve. You can keep some of the dressing on the side to serve when ready.