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Mediterranean orzo salad

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

  • Author: Melissa-Smith
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-12 servings as a side dish 1x


A tasty little salad perfect for a crowd. Loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and  arugula, it’s more salad than pasta, so no guilt needed! Zesty lemon gives a beautiful lightness to the salad for a perfect springtime side dish.


  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 45 small tomatoes, diced (I like the tomatoes on the vine but any tomatoes will do)
  • 1/2 small red pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, diced
  • 1/2 cup tender herbs, finely chopped (mint, parsley, dill – any combination)
  • 2 handfuls fresh arugula
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 34 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (1 Tablespoon of fresh)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)



  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions in heavily salted water.
  2. Drain the pasta in a fine mesh strainer, then run under cold water until no longer hot. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic clove, oregano, salt and pepper in measuring cup. Using a hand blender, buzz the ingredients until smooth. Alternatively, finely chop the garlic and whisk everything but the olive oil together in a small bowl. Once combined, continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. This will emulsify and prevent the dressing from separating.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, Kalamata olives and herbs. Toss to combine. 
  5. Add the arugula with the vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
  6. Add the feta cheese, lemon zest and black pepper to taste and gently stir together.
  7. Serve immediately with additional black pepper.


The salad is best made a day ahead and allowed to marinate overnight. If you do make it ahead, be sure to hold back on the arugula and cheese and toss it in right before serving.

  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: salad, recipe, spring recipes, summer BBQ, side dish, pasta salad, lemon, olives, vegetables, easy salad recipe, easy side dish, quick lunch