Greek Orzo Salad is a great salad dish that works at any time of the year. But it definitely has that summer look to it! Filled with tasty ingredients, it is a simple recipe to make and is perfect for picnics and BBQs.
The classic lemon orzo salad is given a Greek twist with the addition of Kalamata olives and feta cheese. It is also a great dish to make in big batches if you need a potluck recipe or simply have a lot of people to feed.
What Can I Use Instead of Orzo?
If you can’t find orzo in the shops for this recipe, then look for risoni. Risoni and orzo are really the same things, both are small grains of pasta about the size of rice.
Some people use arborio rice, famous for risotto, but it depends on the recipe. I prefer pasta for this.
Ditalini pasta is another good substitute for orzo. It is larger than orzo but is good for cold pasta salads, whereas some of the smaller kinds of pasta recommended are only good in warm dishes. I wouldn’t use anything as small as couscous or acini de pepe.
- Grape tomatoes
- English cucumber
- Kalamata olives
- Red onion
- Fresh parsley,
- Light olive oil, or vegetable oil
- Red wine vinegar
Any light tasting oil can be used but avoid anything with too strong a flavor as it will change how the dish tastes.
If you have white wine vinegar in the cupboard, you can use this in place of the red wine vinegar.
You can also swap the garlic cloves for ½ teaspoon of garlic powder if that’s what you have handy.
Swap the fresh parsley with dried if you need to, use about 2 teaspoons of dried parsley in place of the fresh. But fresh parsley does give the best results!
How to Make Greek Orzo Salad
- Follow the package to cook the orzo as directed then drain and rinse in cold water until it has cooled, usually 2-3 minutes
- Mix the oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, and lemon juice in a bowl. Taste then add salt and pepper as you like, I usually start with ½ teaspoon of each
- In a large bowl, mix the cooked orzo, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, onion, and then toss with the dressing
- Top with feta cheese
What Temperature Should I Serve Orzo Pasta Salad?
This lemon orzo salad can be served at room temperature. Or you can keep it in the fridge and serve it cold. With other versions of orzo pasta salad, always think about the ingredients and if they can go bad quickly at room temperature. If you think there’s a risk, always serve straight from the fridge.
What Can You Serve with Orzo Salad?
This orzo salad is pretty filling on its own but you can also serve it with other dishes. Something simple would be grilled pork chops or smoked chicken breasts. Turkey burgers could be a fun alternative. And if you want to double up on the Greek theme, something like Greek Lemon Chicken would work nicely.
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Greek Orzo Salad
- 12 ounces orzo 2 cups uncooked
- 10 ounces grape tomatoes cut in half, about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 English cucumber peeled, sliced, and quartered
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted and cut into halves
- 1/2 cup red onion finely minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely minced
- 1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 lemon juiced and seeded
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Cook the orzo in boiling water as directed on the package. 10 to 12 minutes.
- Drain the orzo and rinse in cold water until the pasta has cooled, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Combine the oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, and the juice from one lemon, stir to combine.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as desired, I generally start with ½ teaspoon of each.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, onion and the dressing, toss to combine.
- Top with feta cheese.
- Any light-tasting salad oil can be used.
- White wine vinegar is a fine substitution for red wine vinegar.
- Use fresh parsley for best results. It can be omitted, or substituted with about 2 tablespoons of dried parsley.
- Garlic cloves can be substituted with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.