This Orzo Salad recipe is light, fresh, and filled with veggies, chickpeas, and fresh herbs. It will quickly become a go-to pasta salad in your house! Enjoy for a light lunch, dinner, or take to a potluck!
I love making and taking pasta salads to potlucks, barbecues, and get togethers. They are the perfect side dish for sharing. This Easy Orzo Pasta Salad is a summertime favorite. It’s a versatile and delicious side that everyone loves! I always bring an empty bowl home–no leftovers!
This Orzo Pasta Salad is the MVP of my summer with chickpeas, cucumber, arugula, cherry tomatoes…all coated in a delicious and bright homemade dressing! It’s a summer favorite, but is good all year around. You can’t go wrong with this recipe, anytime of the year.
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What is Orzo?
Orzo is a really tiny, short pasta. It’s shaped like large grains of rice, but a little thicker. It’s easy to cook and is great in salads or with served with pesto or marinara sauce. You can buy orzo at most grocery stores, look for it in the pasta aisle.
I love it for this pasta salad because the pasta is so small you can get it in every single bite!
The ingredients are fresh, simple, and oh so delicious! For this salad, you will need:
- Orzo pasta– if you can’t find orzo, you can use another small pasta. Farro or quinoa would also be good!
- Arugula (can use spinach or chopped kale)
- English cucumber
- Grape tomatoes
- Chickpeas (white beans or shredded chicken would be good too)
- Red onion
- Feta cheese (can use goat cheese or Parmesan cheese)
- Fresh basil (feel free to throw in extra herbs like parsley or mint)
Homemade salad dressings are actually SO simple to make and they really take your home cooking to the next level. Don’t be intimidated–it’s just measuring and whisking!
In a medium bowl (or even a Mason jar!), combine:
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice (make sure you use fresh lemon juice)
- Golden balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
- Honey (can use maple syrup)
- Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Orzo Salad
Just a couple steps to the most delicious Orzo Pasta Salad ever!
- Start with boiling a pan of salty water. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until it’s al dente.
- Drain and rinse! Give the pasta a rinse in cold water and move it into a large bowl.
- Add the arugula (or spinach), cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, feta, and basil to the orzo and stir it gently, then drizzle the dressing over the top and stir it again.
Feel free to customize this pasta salad to your liking!
- Instead of arugula, use spinach, kale, or your favorite greens.
- Add chicken or shrimp!
- Instead of feta cheese, use goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, or even blue cheese. You can also omit the cheese if you need the salad to be dairy-free.
- Toss in almonds, pecans, pistachios, pepitas, or sunflower seeds.
- Bring on the veggies. Feel free to stir in extra veggies!
- Add in fresh mint or Italian parsley.
- My basil vinaigrette and balsamic vinaigrette are also really good with this salad.
Can I Make the Salad in Advance?
Yes! Up to 3 days in the refrigerator. This is a great recipe to make in the morning and have on hand for an easy side dish or even to eat for lunch.
You can make and keep the dressing in the fridge for up to one week. Give it a good whisk before drizzling it over the salad.
What to Serve with Orzo Salad
This simple salad is a great side dish to really any meal, but here are a few of our favorites.
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- Steak Kabobs
- Greek Turkey Meatballs
- Lemon Butter Chicken
- Pistachio Crusted Baked Salmon
- Soy Ginger Chicken
- Greek Chicken Kabobs
More Orzo Salad Recipes
- Roasted Cauliflower Feta and Orzo Salad
- Greek Tortellini Salad
- Orzo Salad with Grapes, Arugula, & Feta
- Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad
- Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumbers, Lemon, Dill, & Feta
For the Orzo Salad:
- 12 ounces orzo pasta
- 2 heaping cups arugula or baby spinach
- 1 English cucumber, chopped
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ small red onion, diced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil and cook the orzo until al dente, according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Drain the orzo in a strainer and rinse well with cold water. Pour the cooked orzo in a large bowl.
- Add the arugula (or spinach), cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, feta, and basil to the orzo and gently stir. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and stir again. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Have you tried this recipe?
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Maria, I really love your pasta salads and am looking forward to making this one.
On a side note: in Europe orzo is also called „kritharaki“ or „greek noodles“ and you can find them at the „from other countries“-aisles.
Good to know! Thanks for sharing!
Made this last night and LOVED it. I used the Arugula and balsamic vinegar (my store did not have the champagne). It was super easy to put together
Thanks for letting us know! I am thrilled you loved it!
Delicious and colorful salad! Thank you.
You are welcome!
Made the orzo salad last night (my stay at home birthday dinner)
Forgot to add feta,but will for tonight!
So glad you like it! It is good with or without the feta:) And happy birthday!
Made this yesterday! Cudn’t stop eating it!
I know the feeling:) It’s so good!
Just loved this easy salad! Have eaten it for 3 days in a row. Added a can of Italian tuna the second day (oil packed) and it was delicious. I will make this often as it is a new summer favorite for ,e!
I could eat it every day too! Glad you loved it!
First time I’ve used golden balsamic very smooth and mild . I did add kalamata olives and the salad was delicious!!
I love golden balsamic. I am glad you tried it and enjoyed it. I love adding olives too!
I accidentally bought goat cheese crumbles and it was still so delicious…I almost never follow recipes to the “T” but I did on this one and it’s amazing. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you share, your site helps me keep motivated to cook. -Angie
Goat cheese would be good too! Glad you liked the salad! I love sharing recipes:)
Really good, thank you for the simple healthy recipe! I made it with garbanzo beans but I also think it might be delicious with smoked salmon. Thanks again!
Two peas is one of my favorite recipe sites. This salad was AWESOME. Some minor edits: we added toasted walnuts and substituted chickpeas for navy beans. My husband would never consider a salad as dinner, but could not get enough of this!!. As always, thank you for another wonderful recipe!!
Can’t wait to make this tonight! What is the serving size for the nutritional info?
So good! Such an easy light salad and simple. I forgot the basil and thought I had planted it so I’ll try that next time but this is a winner!
My family and I loved it! I made it on Monday and it lasted us (almost) the whole week eating it for lunch! It was better as it sat and all the flavors marinated together. Definitely a great summer staple to keep in the fridge! So refreshing and delicious
I am thrilled you are loving our orzo salad. It is a summer favorite at our house!
I’ve made this twice already! So easy and so good! Perfect with a side of Turkey burger.
I’m so glad you love it!
Made this last night for dinner. Didn’t have the feta, which would have been a nice addition (will certainly be sure to have some next time). Used black-eyed peas as no chickpeas in my pantry! End result…delicious, and my husband commented multiple times how good it was! Nice to pick tomatoes, lettuce, and basil from our garden! Keeper recipe for hot Summer evenings for sure!
I literally made this salad over my lunch break. I drove home from the office and had this done and ready to go before my hour was up! This was a quick and easy recipe to make. It is my favorite summer salad. I followed the recipe as written, but added kalamata olives and a little more honey for more sweetness. Next time, I’ll add toasted walnuts or pecans for crunch. I had both goat and feta cheese in the fridge so I added them both. The goat cheese adds a creaminess and the feta adds good saltiness. Fresh summer corn would also be a good addition here. Thank you for this winning recipe!
So awesome! Glad you loved it. It makes a great lunch!