Orzo lemon salad is an easy, fresh side dish perfect for your next backyard BBQ! Tossed with Kalamata olives and crumbled feta, this 15-minute Greek pasta salad will quickly become your new favorite make-ahead recipe.
There are so many reasons I’m obsessed with this easy lemon orzo salad with feta. It’s super quick, ready in less than 15 minutes from start to finish, plus the leftovers keep well! I usually make too much of this pasta salad on purpose so I can eat the rest throughout the week for a quick lunch or stress-free dinner.
Lemon orzo pasta salad is also perfect for all things summer. It’s fresh, it’s light, and it’s easy. Heading to a backyard BBQ? This dish can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, then it travels super easily in any dish or bowl. Hosting a family potluck? Orzo pasta salad can be made to suit most dietary needs! Make a vegan version without feta cheese, make a protein-packed version with shredded chicken, or even make a gluten-free version with different noodles.
However you choose to enjoy this orzo lemon salad, it’s sure to become a new family favorite in no time!
Why You’ll Love This Orzo Lemon Salad
- No mayo! So many pasta salad recipes call for some kind of mayonnaise. However (and maybe it’s just me), when I’m serving anything at a potluck or backyard BBQ, I just don’t trust anything mayo-based to sit out in the hot summer sun all day long. This pasta salad recipe has an oil base and will keep much better! That being said, you should definitely refrigerate any leftovers.
- Easy meal prep. This pasta salad is a great meal prep or make-ahead recipe. Just drizzle a bit more olive oil and squeeze some fresh lemon juice, then stir together before serving.
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- Perfect for BBQs. This easy side dish recipe is simple, easy to clean up, keeps well, and travels well. Pretty much, this is the best backyard BBQ or potluck dish! Whether you’re hosting your own summer gathering or taking a dish to go, this easy orzo lemon salad is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Tips & Tricks
- Infuse your oil! I love using the Levo Olive oil infuser for fresh herbal recipes like this. I’ve infused the same amount of olive oil I would for a regular recipe with fresh oregano for added flavor. This simple step takes classic dishes to the next level. Use any herbs and clean up on this machine is a breeze!
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- Make it vegan. The great thing about this easy recipe is that it’s easy to customize to suit a variety of dietary preferences and needs. To make this pasta salad vegan or dairy-free, you can simply omit the Feta cheese!
- Add some protein. Alternatively, if you want to make turn this side dish into the main course, you can add your favorite protein. I like to mix in drained beans, sliced avocado, or even grilled chicken or salmon.
Ingredients for Orzo Lemon Salad
- Orzo pasta
- Kalamata olives
- Red onion
- Oregano-infused olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- Crumbled feta cheese
How to make Greek Orzo Lemon Salad
Step 1: Cook the pasta. First, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Then, add the orzo pasta and cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. After that, drain the pasta but do not rinse.
Step 2: Combine ingredients. Next, in a large serving bowl, toss together the pasta, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper until combined.
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Step 3: Add feta. Now, gently toss in freshly chopped basil and crumbled feta cheese. Make sure you give a quick taste test for salt and pepper, too!
Step 4: Serve and enjoy. Finally, top your orzo lemon salad with fresh lemon slices and basil leaves before serving. This dish is best served at room temperature.
- 0.5 lb orzo pasta (8 oz)
- 1 cups Kalamata olives, halved
- 0.5 cups red onion, finely diced
- 2 English cucumbers, diced
- juice of one lemon
- 0.5 cups oregano-infused olive oil
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 0.5 cups basil, chopped
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- lemon slices, for serving
- basil leaves, for serving
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Drain pasta but do not rinse.
- In a large serving bowl, toss together orzo pasta, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper until combined.
- Gently toss in chopped basil and feta cheese. Taste test once more for salt and pepper.
- Salad can be served at room temp or be made the night before and refrigerated. Top with fresh lemon slices and basil leaves before serving.
- Note: for leftovers, squeeze a bit more fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil and toss together before serving.