This quick and easy Lemon Orzo Salad recipe is loaded with crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, creamy feta cheese, and a lemony dressing. It is the perfect pasta salad for potlucks, meal prepping, or serving as a side to dish.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
YOUR BODY WILL FEEL GOOD EATING IT: One of the things I love most about this salad is how nourishing and filling it is. Also, don’t be afraid of adding “too many” veggies, there can NEVER be enough in this salad.
GREAT FOR MAKING AHEAD OF TIME: Whether you are preparing for a party or get together, meal prepping lunches, or just want to make weeknight dinners easier… this recipe is for you! My lemon orzo pasta salad recipe lasts up to 7 days in the refrigerator with no problems!
VERSATILE: Other than the lemon dressing and orzo pasta, you can throw pretty much anything in this pasta salad and it will be delicious. Swap out cheeses, veggies, and herbs for whatever is in your refrigerator. You can also add a protein and you have dinner covered!
What is Orzo?
Orzo is a cute, tiny, rice shaped pasta. It can be boiled like traditional pasta or even cooked in a pan with stocks and wine like risotto. Orzo pasta is perfect in cold salads, casseroles, and hot soups. In addition to what you see here, orzo comes in whole wheat and gluten free varieties.
Lemon Orzo Salad Ingredients
These are the ingredients you will need, plus a few notes and potential substitutions.
- Orzo Pasta: a full box makes A LOT of Lemon Orzo Salad. This recipe calls for a half a box but if you are serving a crowd definitely double the recipe for 16-20 servings! Feel free to use gluten free or whole wheat types.
- Scallions: only the green tops
- Cucumber: sliced
- Cherry Tomatoes: halved
- Red Onion: diced small
- Fresh Herbs: all finely chopped and mixed together.
- Feta Cheese: Chopped into small, bite sized crumbles. You can also used pre crumbled feta like I did.
- Lemon Dressing
- Fresh Lemon Juice and Lemons Zest: Always use fresh lemons. And definitely do not forget the lemon zest, it is a sad salad without it.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper: To your taste preferences.
How to Make Lemon Orzo Salad
You are going to love how quick and easy this lemon orzo pasta salad recipe is. Here is a quick overview, the recipe card below will have complete details.
- Cook the orzo pasta. You will want to cook orzo as indicated on the box and rinse with cold water. Rinsing keeps the pasta salad from becoming gummy and sticky. Add orzo to a large bowl.
- Dice the vegetables. I like to cut mine into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Feel free to dice them as you wish. Add them to the orzo.
- Chop the herbs. Be sure to chop them very finely and combine them together well. You want each bite to have all three herbs in it. Add them to orzo and vegetables.
- Crumble the feta cheese. Add to the orzo, vegetables, and herbs.
- Dress and Mix. Top the orzo, vegetables, herbs, and feta cheese with the lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix the salad very well and serve!
Always store leftover orzo pasta salad in the refrigerator, in an airtight container. It will last up to 7 days that way. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Keep in mind, as it chills the orzo pasta will absorb moisture from the lemon juice and olive oil. You may have to add a drizzle of olive oil to give some of the moisture back. Always give it a good toss before serving again.
3 Tips for EVEN BETTER Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
- Wash your fresh produce thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, and potential chemicals.
- Uniformity is key! Chopping your vegetables into small, even sized, pieces not only looks better but it tastes better as you’re eating it. Follow the same rule with your herbs.
- Refrigerate your salad for at least an hour prior to serving. This helps the flavors meld together and amplify.
A Few Fun Recipe Variations
Make it a meal by adding protein: grilled chicken, shrimp, steak, blackened salmon, beans like chickpeas, crispy tofu, or whatever you like. I have also become obsessed with these popcorn chicken bites and this salad. But you’ll love how it transforms from an easy side into a delicious dinner!
Try different small pasta shapes: Elbow macaroni, ditali, or other small shapes. If you are looking for a healthier, gluten free option you could use brown rice or quinoa.
Add other veggies or herbs: Asparagus, tri colored bell pepper, chopped brussels sprouts, zucchini, spinach, fresh basil, chives, and cilantro. Basically any fresh produce that pairs well with lemon would taste delicious in this.
Swap out the feta cheese: Use goat cheese, mozzarella balls, or other soft cheeses. You can also use vegan feta cheese or soft dairy free cheese to fit your dietary needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
Orzo is a cute, tiny rice shaped pasta that can be boiled or cooked in a pan like risotto. It is perfect in cold salads, casseroles, hot soups, and pastas.
I do not recommend doing this, at all. Bottled lemon juice just does not have the same flavor as freshly squeezed. And you do not want to buy all these fresh and beautiful ingredients just to put bottled lemon juice on it.
Yes! This pasta salad is great for making ahead of time no matter the reason. I recommend making it no more than a few days prior to serving. It will last covered and in the refrigerator up to 7 days total.
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Lemon Orzo Salad
- ½ box Orzo pasta
- ⅓ cup scallions; green tops only
- 2 cup cucumber; sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes; halved
- ⅓ cup red onion
- ⅓ cup dill; finely chopped
- ⅓ cup parsley; finely chopped
- ⅓ cup mint; finely chopped
- 3 ounces Feta cheese; crumbles
- 2 lemons; zested and juiced
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Cook the half box of orzo pasta as specified on the packaging. Once fully cooked, rinse with cool water and set aside.
- Dice the scallions, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and red onion into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Finely chop the dill, parsley, and mint. Set aside.
- To a large bowl add the cooked orzo pasta, diced vegetables, chopped herbs, and feta cheese.
- Dress the salad by adding lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss until well combined.
- Refrigerate for an hour prior to serving (to amplify flavors).
- In the refrigerator, covered for up to 4 days.
Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.
If you make my Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad recipe, don’t forget to leave this recipe a rating, comment, or like. Tag me on social media using the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth when sharing your own personal photos making this recipe. I would love to see your version and know your thoughts!