This easy Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad recipe is made with hearty chickpeas, sweet grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, green onions, and a creamy dressing made with nonfat Greek yogurt. It is ready to go in 25 minutes!
Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad is a dish that’s like a burst of sunshine on your plate. Made with hearty chickpeas, sweet grape tomatoes, zesty Kalamata olives, and creamy Feta cheese. The whole dish is lusciously dressed in a tangy, dreamy, nonfat Greek yogurt dressing.
I love this recipe, and it’s my go-to potluck dish! A healthy, vibrant, and oh-so-satisfying Mediterranean recipe.
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- Orzo pasta salad is incredibly versatile.
- It offers a nutritionally balanced meal, combining orzo with vegetables rich in essential nutrients.
- The dish is convenient and quick to prepare, making it suitable for busy schedules.
- Orzo’s unique texture absorbs flavors wonderfully.
- Orzo pasta salad is excellent for picnics or packed lunches.
- Orzo: Orzo is like tiny pasta. It’s a bit nutty and a little firm when you bite it. If you enjoy orzo, consider exploring my Roman Chicken with Cheesy Orzo recipe for another delightful dish.
- Kalamata Olives: These olives add a tangy, salty, and a bit fruity taste. They give the dish a Mediterranean touch with extra layers of flavor.
- Greek Yogurt: Gives a creamy, tangy richness to the dressing. Infuses a zesty contrast to the salad.
- Grape or Cherry Tomatoes: Bring a burst of sweet juiciness. It balances the dish’s richness and offers a refreshing, vibrant quality.
- Feta Cheese: Feta introduces a creamy, tangy, and slightly salty bite. It contributes to the salad’s savory depth.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Vegan: Remove the feta cheese or use a vegan cheese alternative. Substitute Greek yogurt with a plant-based yogurt. Add more veggies and herbs like bell pepper, cucumbers, red onion, parsley, and fresh basil for enhanced flavor.
- Protein-Enriched: Boost the protein content by adding grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Flavor Enhancers: Consider adding lemon zest or Dijon mustard for a zesty flavor twist.
- Nuts and Herbs: Incorporate pine nuts for a crunchy texture, and fresh dill or other herbs for added freshness and flavor.
- Gluten-Free: Substitute regular orzo with gluten-free orzo or another gluten-free pasta like quinoa pasta. Ensure that all other added ingredients are gluten-free as well.
How to Make Orzo Pasta Salad
Step #1: Cook the orzo in a large pot of salted, boiling water until it’s al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then, set it aside to cool.
Step #2: Combine the lemon juice, Greek yogurt, honey, garlic, and olive oil in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until well combined. You can also use a whisk to mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
Step #3: In a large bowl, place the tomatoes, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, green onions, and cooked orzo. Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients and ensure it’s well combined. Don’t forget to taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
- Cooking Orzo: Ensure you cook the orzo al dente in salted, boiling water for the perfect texture. You can add a splash of olive oil to the boiling water to prevent the orzo from sticking together.
- Cooling Orzo: After draining, rinsing the orzo under cold water helps stop the cooking process.
- Dressing Consistency: Achieve a smoother, well-emulsified dressing by using a food processor or whisk. This will make the ingredients thoroughly combined for a rich, harmonious flavor.
- Seasoning and Serving: Allow the salad to rest for a short while before serving; this helps the flavors to blend together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Toss in some toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds before serving.
Of course, adjust the lemon juice to suit your taste for extra zing.
It pairs well as a side dish with grilled meats or roasted vegetables.
Absolutely, it’s easy to double or triple the recipe for larger gatherings.
To store Orzo Pasta Salad, make sure it’s tightly sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is to prevent moisture loss and maintain flavors. Before serving leftover salad, give it a quick stir to refresh the dressing. Enjoy it at its best within 2-3 days of preparation.
Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe
- 6 ounces uncooked orzo
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes - halved
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives - chopped
- 1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
- 2 green onions - sliced (green parts only)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook the orzo in a large pot of salted, boiling water until it's al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then, set it aside to cool.
- Combine the lemon juice, Greek yogurt, honey, garlic, and olive oil in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until well combined. You can also use a whisk to mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
- In a large bowl, place the tomatoes, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, green onions, and cooked orzo. Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients and ensure it's well combined. Don't forget to taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.