Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with crunchy veggies, artichokes, olives, and feta tossed with a fresh Greek dressing. This one bowl flavorful pasta salad is a great addition to your picnic repertoire!
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This Mediterranean orzo pasta salad recipe comes together in one bowl and ready in under 30 minutes. Summer is all about quick and easy recipes which is why I love healthy salads like this one.
And I’ve really loaded this salad with all the Mediterranean flavors and fresh herbs, so it tastes super flavorful right away! No need to let it chill, Mediterranean orzo salad can be served immediately!
Orzo is a short, rice shaped pasta that’s easy to cook, and delicious hot or cold. Its neutral flavor makes it the perfect addition to many Mediterranean recipes, salads, or soups. It really soaks up the lemon-y flavor in lemon chicken orzo soup and tastes Wow!
Ingredients for Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
This Mediterranean orzo pasta salad recipe is full of fresh, wholesome ingredients that really make the bold flavors shine.
- Orzo pasta: 1 1/2 cups uncooked. You can use regular orzo or whole wheat orzo (hard to find).
- Leafy greens: I used arugula this time, I like the peppery taste. You can also use baby spinach or a combination of both.
- Fresh vegetables: Diced cucumber and red pepper for crunch. Red onion adds sweet taste and crisp texture. And grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes make pasta salad with orzo juicy.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh is key in this Mediterranean orzo salad recipe! Fresh parsley and fresh mint add the right amount of earthy flavor.
- Olives: Make sure to buy pitted Kalamata olives or green olives.
- Artichoke hearts: A Mediterranean diet staple. You’ll need a can of artichoke hearts drained.
- Peperoncini peppers: Add a touch of heat. Use more or less, they are so good!
- Feta cheese: Measure with your heart. I always buy a block of feta to crumble into big chunks, I find the crumbled feta from the store to be more dry.
- Salad dressing: High quality extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper make up the tangy salad dressing.
How to Make Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Here’s a quick photo overview of how to make this Mediterranean orzo salad recipe. You can find a full recipe card below.
- Cook orzo pasta: Add cold water, a pinch of salt, and orzo pasta to a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Mine took roughly 6-8 minutes.
- Chop veggies and mix salad dressing: Meanwhile, chop vegetables and herbs into bite size pieces. Add them to a large mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until blended then set aside.
- Assemble the salad: Drain orzo pasta in a colander, rinse with cold water, then drain again. Transfer orzo to the large bowl with other salad ingredients, then add arugula and feta cheese. Pour the dressing on top and stir gently to combine.
- Serve: Mediterranean orzo pasta salad can be served right away or chilled and served cold, it’s super flavorful!
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips that make this the best orzo pasta salad!
- Cook orzo al dente: The orzo pasta will absorb the dressing as it sits. Follow package instructions and cook until al dente so the noodles don’t become mushy.
- Use lots of fresh herbs: Fresh herbs make all the difference in this Mediterranean orzo salad recipe. The salad will taste amazing immediately!
- Don’t have to marinate the salad but you can: Although it’s always a good idea to let any pasta salad marinade you don’t have to. But if you have time let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Chop vegetables small: Smaller bites will yield the perfect salad texture and you’ll enjoy every flavor in each bite.
What to Serve Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with?
Mediterranean orzo pasta salad is incredibly versatile and meal prep friendly! And while it’s the perfect summer salad next to souvlaki skewers or grilled chicken, I make it year round.
My boys love pairing it with Greek chicken kabobs, pita and tzatziki sauce for a full Mediterranean dish.
This salad recipe also pairs wonderfully with any protein. You can dice it up and place it on top or serve it next to Mediterranean chicken, grilled lemon rosemary chicken, yogurt marinated chicken, or pan fried lamb chops.
How to Store
Store: Cover leftover orzo salad and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. I recommend warming it in the microwave for 20 seconds to “melt” olive oil, and stir before serving.
Freeze: I don’t like freezing pasta recipes because pasta and vegetables tend to have a mushy texture when thawed.
Orzo is a type of pasta that is very small and resembles rice.
Italians classify orzo as pastina, which means little pasta. It’s made from semolina flour that comes from durum wheat, it is not a whole grain.
Yes! It is popular in the Mediterranean diet, Italian, and Greek recipes.
Absolutely! This Mediterranean orzo pasta salad recipe is great for meal prep. You can store it with the dressing mixed in or keep the dressing separate until ready to serve.
More Pasta Salad Recipes to Try
- Healthy pasta salad
- Tomato pasta salad
- Italian pasta salad
- Healthy tuna pasta salad
- Healthy macaroni salad
- Caprese pasta salad
Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta uncooked (10 ounces)
- 3 cups arugula or spinach
- 1 long English cucumber diced
- 2 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 large red bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 cup Kalamata olives or green olives pitted
- 8 ounces can artichoke hearts drained & coarsely chopped
- 6 peperoncini peppers sliced
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add orzo pasta. Cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, for about 6-8 minutes.
- While pasta is cooking, chop vegetables and herbs, and add them to a large bowl. In another small bowl, add olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Whisk and set aside.
- Drain orzo pasta in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain completely. Transfer to a bowl with other salad ingredients, add arugula, feta cheese, pour dressing on top and stir gently.
- You can serve Mediterranean orzo salad right away as it is chock full of fresh herbs and flavors. Or let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and serve cold.
- Store: Refrigerate orzo salad covered for up to 2-3 days. Reheat 20 seconds in a microwave warm to “melt” olive oil.
- Freeze: Do not freeze orzo pasta salad.