Orzo pasta salad made with all the traditional Greek flavors you love and is a super easy side dish that you can make ahead of time for your next potluck!

Juicy cherry tomatoes, tangy feta cheese, red onions, roasted chickpeas and black olives all coated in a homemade salad dressing. This pasta salad is so bright and fresh!

We have a traditional Greek pasta salad on the blog, but I’m pretty obsessed with this orzo version. Just like I’m obsessed with our lemon orzo with parmesan and peas! Orzo is just so fun and so versatile!

a photo of a large wooden serving bowl full of Greek orzo pasta salad.

What is Orzo?

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that can be traditionally prepared as pasta or cooked and served in much the same way as rice.

Ingredients Needed to Make Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

In most grocery stores, you walk in and you’re in the produce section. So grab a few plastic produce bags and knock off half this list right there:

Chickpeas

  • Chickpeas: roasting chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, adds a great crunchy texture to the salad and is high in plant-based protein
  • Olive Oil: helps roast the chickpeas
  • Cumin: adds flavor
  • Smoked Paprika: adds flavor and smokiness
  • Salt: adds flavor

Dressing

  • Olive Oil: the base of the dressing
  • Garlic: adds flavor
  • Red Wine Vinegar: adds acid and tanginess to the dressing
  • Lemon Zest and Juice: adds freshness, acidity and flavor
  • Dijon Mustard: adds zesty flavor and acts as an emulsifier for the oil and vinegar
  • Oregano: fresh is highly recommended but if you want to use dried, go with 1 teaspoon
  • Dill: fresh is best, but if you must use dried, go with 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt and Pepper: adds flavor and enhances all the ingredients
a photo of a large wooden serving bowl with all the ingredients for greek orzo pasta salad that haven't been tossed together yet.

Salad

  • Red Onion: adds flavor and crunchy texture
  • Red Wine Vinegar: helps pickle the onions
  • Orzo: You’ll find orzo right next to all your other pastas, and remember that you’re looking for a pasta that looks like rice.
  • Olive Oil: helps toast the orzo and sauté the garlic
  • Garlic: adds flavor
  • Chicken Broth: cooks the orzo
  • Lemon Zest and Juice: adds freshness and flavor
  • Cracked Pepper: adds a little heat
  • Salt: adds flavor
  • Feta: I like to buy a block of feta and then crumble it up myself.
  • Grape Tomatoes: sliced in half
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes: drained from their oil and roughly chopped
  • Spinach: fresh and roughly chopped
  • Cucumber: We prefer English cucumber because you don’t have to peel it and it’s less seedy.
  • Black Olives: if you want to use more classically Greek flavors, use Kalamata olives
  • Calabrese Salami: adds richness and heartiness to the salad
  • Parmesan Cheese: freshly grated is best
  • Parsley: adds bright herby freshness

This is just an overview of all the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe with all the measurements and details is below so keep scrolling!

a photo of a large wooden serving bowl full of a Greek pasta salad containing orzo, roasted chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, red onions, olives, etc.

How to Make Greek Pasta Salad

Scroll down to the recipe card to get all the specifics of how to make the pasta. Here are the basics:

  • Season and roast the chickpeas.
  • Make the dressing.
  • Start the onions pickling.
  • Toast the dry orzo in a little oil on the stove top.
  • Add the garlic and then cook the pasta in chicken broth.
  • Rinse and drain the onion.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients, toss with the dressing to coat and serve.

All the instructions in full detail can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Tips for Making Perfect Orzo Pasta Salad

  1. Toast the pasta: we love the nutty flavor toasting the pasta gives the orzo in this dish!
  2. Cook pasta past al dente: cook the pasta just past al dente. The pasta will soak in the lemon juice and cook a little more after being drained so you don’t want to overcook it and end up with mushy orzo!
  3. Add grilled chicken: this can easily be turned into a main dish if you just add a little grilled chicken to it!
  4. Make ahead: this is a great recipe to make ahead of time. You can make it first thing in the morning and it is perfect for the potluck that evening!
a photo of a serving of greek orzo pasta salad on a wooden plate with a fork in the salad.

Is Orzo Gluten-Free? 

Many people mistakenly believe orzo is gluten-free because it looks like rice (which is gluten-free). However, because traditional orzo pasta is made with wheat flour it is NOT gluten-free. It’s becoming easier to find gluten-free alternatives though, so I’m sure you can find gluten-free orzo in store or online. Just make sure to double check the label to ensure it’s certified gluten-free! 

How Long Will Greek Orzo Last? 

Because this Greek orzo contains no meat, it will last for up to a week in the fridge. When reheating this easy dinner recipe, you’ll want to do so in a skillet with a little water or chicken broth to prevent the pasta from drying out or becoming gummy. 

a photo of a large bowl full of greek orzo pasta salad topped with a homemade salad dressing and grated parmesan cheese.

What to Eat with Greek Orzo Salad

If you want to serve this is a side dish, here are some ideas for a main dish to go with it…

Can I Freeze Greek Pasta Salad?

Yes this pasta salad can be frozen. Cook the pasta as directed in the instructions, then let it cook completely. Freeze it in an airtight container or we prefer using a food saver. It’s life-changing.

It will last in the freezer for 1-2 weeks.

a photo of a large wooden serving bowl full of greek orzo salad with two serving spoons stuck into it.

I think at least one pasta salad recipe should be enjoyed weekly all summer long! Put this Greek orzo pasta salad on the menu for this week! The crunch chicken peas, toasted orzo and homemade salad dressing knocks it out of the park!

Looking for more delicious ORZO RECIPES?

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

3.10 from 20 votes
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes

Ingredients 

For the Chickpeas

  • 1 Can Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • Salt, to taste

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • Zest of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano, chopped, 1 teaspoon dried* if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon Dill, fresh, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Orzo Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Cup Spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 Cup Feta, cubed
  • 10 oz Grape Tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English Cucumber, chopped
  • 1 Cup Black Olives, or Kalamata
  • 1 Cup Calabrese Salami, cubed
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley, fresh

Instructions

For the Chickpeas

  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place the chickpeas between two paper towels and rub until dried.
    1 Can Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Scatter the chickpeas on a small baking sheet with a little olive oil, salt, smoked paprika and cumin. Toss to coat.
    1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, Salt, 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • Bake for 15- 20 minutes then set aside to cool.

For the Dressing

  • In a small jar, mix together the dressing. Set aside.
    1/2 Cup Olive Oil, 2 Cloves Garlic, 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar, Zest of 1/2 Lemon, 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard, 2 teaspoons Oregano, 1 teaspoon Dill, Salt and Pepper

For the Pasta

  • Mix the red onion with the vinegar and set aside in a bowl. This will cut through the harshness of the onion and add depth of flavor.
    1/2 Cup Red Onion, 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and pasta.
    1 1/2 Cups Orzo Pasta, 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 30-60 seconds.
  • Add garlic and stir it in.
    2 Cloves Garlic
  • Add the broth, a small amount at a time. Then add the lemon juice and zest.
    3 Cups Chicken Broth, Zest of 1 Lemon, 1/2 Lemon
  • Bring to a boil, cover the skillet with a lid and turn down to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed most of the water and is tender.
  • Rinse the onion in cold water and drain well.
  • Add all of the chopped veggies, herbs, chickpeas, cheeses, meat and dressing.
    1 Cup Feta, 10 oz Grape Tomatoes, 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, 1 English Cucumber, 1 Cup Black Olives, 1 Cup Calabrese Salami, 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, 2 Tablespoons Parsley
  • Toss to coat evenly and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Stir again and serve.
    Salt and Pepper

Notes

This Greek Orzo salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1CupCalories: 463kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 14gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 1198mgPotassium: 809mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 784IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 192mgIron: 3mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 Family Favorite Easy Healthy Recipes

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A white bowl of Greek orzo pasta salad with red onion, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers and black olives.

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