Orzo Pasta Salad – The Recipe Critic
This Orzo Pasta Salad is filled with fresh veggies and zesty lemon flavor that will excite your tastebuds. It’s perfect for your next potluck, party, or a refreshing and unique meal this summer. You’re going to want to save this recipe for later!
If you are new to the world of orzo pasta, I’ve got you covered! If you are a seasoned pro, I’ve got recipes for you too! You’ve got to try this Italian Orzo and Sausage Skillet, this yummy and refreshing Lemon Parmesan Garlic Orzo with Asparagus, and this Southwest Orzo Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing.
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
This orzo pasta salad is made with NO MAYO! Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta salads with a rich mayo dressing, but sometimes they aren’t the best if you have to transport them or have them outside during a hot day. This pasta salad is perfect for hot summer days because it won’t go bad if it sits out for a little. It is best chilled, but it won’t get bad quickly either! It is a win-win for everyone at your next get-together. I will warn you though, this orzo pasta salad will not last long and everyone will be asking you for the recipe.
This salad makes a great side dish for just about any protein! It’s amazing served next to some grilled honey balsamic chicken or along with a juicy grilled burger. It gets those veggies in (that everyone will gobble up) and it’s full of fresh flavor to break up your meal. It really is my favorite salad right now (sorry cucumber tomato salad, you’re still my close second!). You’ve got to try it, you’ll be hooked too!
This orzo pasta salad is packed with veggies and has a hint of lemon to break things up. The best thing about this salad is that you can really switch up the veggies however you like! Pretty much anything goes in this one. Other veggie ideas include red onion, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and cucumber. You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.
- Orzo: Make this according to the package directions.
- Lemon Zest: Adds an intense amount of flavor with no bitterness.
- Lemon Juice: the citric acid adds a fresh zing.
- Olive Oil: Best for harmonizing, enhancing, and building the flavors together, plus it adds to the body and depth.
- Salt: A dash of extra flavor.
- Garlic: Mince garlic is best for that intense flavor compared to garlic powder.
- Honey: This will be an added sweetener with layers of flavor.
- Corn: Fresh or frozen will work for this pasta salad.
- Red Bell Pepper: Chopped bell pepper adds a sweet and crunchy flavor.
- Zucchini: Subtle and not overpowering that adds just the right amount of taste.
- Salt and Pepper: For added flavor.
- Mozzarella: Cut into chunks and add to the salad for a soft, moist texture that is full of a milky flavor. You could use crumbled feta instead.
- Basil: Associated with a strong, pungent, and sweet smell that tastes a little like pepper. Any fresh herbs like fresh basil or parsley are yummy!
Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe
This orzo pasta salad is perfect for any occasion. It’s light and refreshing, and super simple to make! You will cook the veggies for 20ish minutes, but if you want to take a shortcut and toss them in the air fryer (air fryer veggies), I won’t tell! In fact, sprinkle some air fryer mushrooms in there too, you won’t be disappointed! This recipe is straightforward and simple, but I share some tips below as well.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook Orzo: Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.
- Make Dressing: While orzo cooks, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and honey. Whisk until well combined.
- Prep Veggies: Toss the corn, chopped red pepper, & chopped broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper on a tray.
- Cook Veggies: Cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping every 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven. (Cook until crisp tender)
- Cool: Remove and allow to cool.
- Put It All Together: Toss completely cooled vegetables, completely cooled pasta, cubed mozzarella, and ribboned basil with the dressing and chill in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
- Enjoy: Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Tips for Making Orzo Salad
This simple orzo pasta salad is my go-to for so many reasons. It’s filling, flavorful, and different! Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of this recipe.
- Cooling Orzo: You will want to cool your orzo completely to prevent it from clumping together. Running it under cold water in a colander will quickly help the salad cool. I actually prefer the salad chilled, so you will want to plan ahead of time so that this can sit in the fridge for 4-6 hours first.
- Try New Cheese: If you prefer to use a different cheese other than mozzarella, try goat cheese or feta substitute. I love it both ways! When I’m in a rush, I will actually cut up string cheese, so trust me when I say I’ve tried it all and loved it every way!
- Make It a Meal: Adding some grilled chicken on top, or even some shrimp can make this salad a full meal! It’s got everything you need to fill you up. You can add nuts like cashews too for extra texture and nutrients. When I am making this salad, I often just use what I have on hand to try and use up all of the food in my fridge, and you can do the same!
This orzo pasta salad makes great leftovers too. I know right? It just keeps getting better! Here is how to store your leftovers.
- In the Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Stir before eating.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.
While orzo cooks, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and honey. Whisk until well combined.
Toss the corn, chopped red pepper, & chopped broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper on a tray.
Cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping every 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven. (Cook until crisp tender)
Remove and allow to cool.
Toss completely cooled vegetables, completely cooled pasta, cubed mozzarella, and ribboned basil with the dressing and chill in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
Add salt and pepper to taste!
Updated April 15, 2023
Calories208kcal (10%)Carbohydrates20g (7%)Protein6g (12%)Fat12g (18%)Saturated Fat3g (15%)Cholesterol7mg (2%)Sodium257mg (11%)Potassium196mg (6%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar4g (4%)Vitamin A621IU (12%)Vitamin C26mg (32%)Calcium59mg (6%)Iron1mg (6%)
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.