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Escape to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean with this easy, vibrant Mediterranean Orzo Salad! Bursting with fresh flavors, it’s an effortless dish that will make your taste buds dance and your kitchen time minimal because it’s ready in just 20 minutes!
Quick And Easy Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Craving a quick, easy and downright delicious meal that doesn’t compromise on flavor? Look no further! This Mediterranean Orzo Salad will sweep you off your feet with its wonderful mix of textures and tantalizing tang. It’s like having the Mediterranean sun on your plate! Plus, it’s made with simple, nutritious ingredients that make this dish just as good for your body as it is for your taste buds.
This salad is perfect as a side dish, or enjoyed on its own. I packed this salad with lots of good for you ingredients like chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and one of my favorite ingredients ever, Kalamata olives. The dressing is really great as well and it couldn’t get any simpler with some super basic lemon juice and olive oil, a little bit of garlic and the perfect touch of seasoning.
Why You’ll Love This Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- Flavor Explosion: This Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a joyride for your taste buds. Briny Kalamata olives, tangy feta, and zesty lemon-garlic dressing all unite to create a delightful burst of Mediterranean flavors that’s irresistible.
- Nutritious and Filling: Packed with protein-rich chickpeas and fiber-loaded orzo, this salad isn’t just delicious, it’s also a well-rounded meal that keeps you satiated and fuels your body with essential nutrients. It’s the perfect blend of healthy and tasty!
- Easy and Quick to Make: Don’t have much time but still want a scrumptious meal? This salad comes to your rescue. It only requires simple ingredients, and you can whip it up in no time. It’s a fuss-free recipe that delivers maximum flavor with minimal effort.
- Lemon – Freshly squeezed juice, each lemon contains about 3 tablespoons of juice.
- Olive oil – We want some nice quality stuff if you have any on hand, we aren’t cooking with our oil today so those flavors will really come through.
- Garlic – Use as much or little as you like.
- Seasoning – Salt and pepper.
- Orzo – We want this small shaped pasta for our dish, you could also substitute it with couscous or any other small pasta shape.
- Chickpeas – This packs some great fiber and protein to our salad. Feel free to substitute any legumes you prefer.
- Tomatoes – I’m using cherry tomatoes halved to pack tons of tomato flavor.
- Olives – My favorite little salad addition, Kalamata olives.
- Onion – I use red onion for this recipe for that bright acidic flavor and vibrant color.
- Cheese – Feta cheese, crumbled up nicely.
- Parsley – Fresh and chopped up fine. If you only have dried parsley on hand keep in mind that 1 teaspoon dried equals 1 tablespoon fresh.
Let’s start by getting that orzo cooking. Follow the package instructions – super easy, right? While the orzo is doing its thing, we can prep the rest.
Now, let’s whisk up our zesty dressing. Grab a medium-sized jar, or a bowl if you prefer, and combine your lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Give it a good shake or whisk – we want everything nice and mixed. Once it’s looking good, just set it aside.
Grab a big bowl and throw in your chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, parsley, and chopped red onion. Pour over that gorgeous dressing we just made, and give it all a good toss. Now that everything is mixed and looking beautiful, top your salad with a bit more feta, parsley, and pepper if you like. And voila! Your Mediterranean Orzo Salad is ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different pasta instead of orzo?
Yes, absolutely! While orzo gives a delightful texture to this salad, you can also use other small pasta shapes such as farfalle, fusilli or penne. The key is to use a shape that will hold up well when tossed with the other ingredients.
Can this salad be made ahead of time?
Absolutely! In fact, this Mediterranean Orzo Salad tastes even better when the flavors have had time to meld together. Just cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. It can be made up to two days in advance.
Can I add other ingredients to this salad?
Of course! This salad is very flexible. You can add cucumbers, bell peppers, or even some grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a more substantial meal.
Is there a vegan option for this salad?
Yes, to make this salad vegan, simply omit the feta cheese or replace it with a vegan cheese of your choice.
- Don’t Overcook the Orzo: You want your orzo to be al dente – firm to the bite. Overcooked orzo becomes mushy and will break down in your salad, making it less appealing.
- Fresh is Best: Freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh parsley, and fresh garlic make a huge difference in the brightness of the flavor in this salad. It’s worth the little extra effort!
- Rest and Refresh: Let your salad sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. This gives the ingredients time to soak up the dressing. Just before serving, give it another quick toss to redistribute the dressing.
- Dress to Impress: Don’t hesitate to adjust the dressing to your taste. If you like it tangier, add more lemon. If you prefer it a bit sweeter, a drizzle of honey will do the trick.
- Get Creative: This salad is a fantastic base to get creative with. Try adding different veggies, cheeses or proteins to really make it your own.
What Can I Pair This Salad With?
This dish pairs well with so many dishes, especially big protein heavy entrees. Definitely play around with different combinations because regardless you can’t go wrong!
- Chicken Shawarma
- Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Legs
- Roast Chicken
- Perfect Pork Tenderloin
- Beef Brisket
You can make this the day before and place it in the fridge in an airtight container. As it sits the flavors of all the ingredients have a chance to develop. This salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend freezing this Mediterranean Salad as the integrity of the veggies will be completely gone when it thaws, resulting in a big bowl of mush.
Other Delicious Salad Recipes To Try
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- California Quinoa Salad
- Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad
- Greek Salad
- Mexican Chicken And Rice Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
For the Dressing
- Cook the orzo pasta according to package instructions.
- In a medium size jar add all the dressing ingredients together, close the lid and shake a few times, to mix well. Alternatively, you could whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl add all the salad ingredients, pour the dressing over and toss well.
- Top with additional feta cheese, parsley and pepper if preferred.
- Serve cold.
- Pasta Choice: Though orzo is my go-to, you can use any small pasta shape you have on hand.
- Veggie Variation: Feel free to swap in any other Mediterranean veggies you like, cucumbers or bell peppers would work great!
- Protein Addition: For a heartier meal, add some grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Make Ahead: This salad tastes even better the next day, making it the perfect dish to prepare ahead of time. Just remember to give it a good stir before serving.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.