Easy Orzo Salad

I love this easy orzo salad recipe with a simple lemon dressing, fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and herbs. It’s quick to make and always a hit with everyone I share it with!

Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe Video

I know it’s a bold claim to call this the best orzo salad, but it’s always the first dish to disappear whenever I serve it. The homemade dressing is so light and refreshing, making this the perfect salad for summer!

I often enjoy it as a side dish during the warmer months or turn it into my main meal (especially on hot days). It’s a real keeper of a recipe since it can be ready in just 20 minutes! I also recommend trying my orzo pasta with tomatoes and parmesan.

Easy Orzo Salad

Key Ingredients

  • Orzo: I prefer orzo pasta for this recipe, but you can use any small dried pasta like ditalini or small shells. This recipe is also delicious when made with couscous or quinoa. If you need it, here’s our recipe for how to cook quinoa.
  • Veggies: I love the combination of fresh cucumber and tomato in this salad. You can also try other fresh veggies, like bell peppers, radishes, or even zucchini (similar to what I use in my easy pasta salad).
  • Olives and Artichokes: I add sliced olives and drained marinated hearts for a Mediterranean or Greek twist.
  • Fresh herbs: I always add plenty of fresh herbs to my summer salads. I especially love fresh mint, parsley, cilantro, basil, and dill. Use whatever you have on hand or prefer.
  • Lemon salad dressing: My homemade dressing is dairy-free, making this orzo pasta salad perfect for picnics or warm weather. It features a delightful combination of olive oil, mustard, fresh lemon, and a touch of honey (or maple syrup) for balance. I use a similar dressing in this easy couscous salad.

How to Make the Best Orzo Pasta Salad

It’s incredibly easy to make this orzo salad. Start by cooking the orzo, which takes less than 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, you can prepare the rest of the salad. I like to make the lemon dressing in the bottom of a large bowl and then assemble the salad right on top.

Once the orzo is cooked, drain it and then add it directly to the dressing while still warm. Adding the orzo while it’s warm allows it to absorb all the flavors of the lemony dressing.

Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredients

The final step is to add your favorite vegetables and ingredients. We love cucumber and tomato, so those are a must for us. We also enjoy adding plenty of fresh herbs. In the photos, we used lots of chopped fresh mint, but feel free to experiment with your favorite herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, or basil. You can also see in the photo that we added olives and artichoke hearts, both excellent additions to the pasta salad.

You can serve the salad as a side or a main meal. Sometimes, I toss on a bit of extra protein and especially love our grilled chicken, roasted shrimp, or this easy baked tofu.

Orzo Salad with Cucumbers, Olives, and Tomatoes

Easy Orzo Salad

  • PREP
  • COOK

We love this light orzo pasta salad recipe! Use your favorite fresh herbs (we love mint, dill, basil, parsley, or cilantro).

Makes 8 (1 cup) servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ½ cups (226g) dried orzo pasta

1 medium English cucumber, diced

1 large tomato, diced or 8 ounces halved cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, or mint

1/2 cup pitted olives, halved

1 cup canned or jarred artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 to 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, depending on taste

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    1Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes (check the box for the recommended cooking time). Drain.

    2While the orzo cooks, whisk the oil, mustard, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

    3Add the drained orzo to the lemon dressing and mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool down a bit.

    4Stir in the cucumber, tomato, herbs, olives, and artichokes.

    5Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

    6Enjoy warm or cover, then refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Make ahead: This salad is delicious when eaten straight away, but you can also make it, cover it, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. This way, all the flavors marry and mingle, making for an even more delicious salad. If you plan to make it a day or two ahead, keep the tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs separate until you’re ready to serve. This way, they will remain crisp, and the herbs will stay bright green.
  • Artichokes: If you use marinated artichokes sold in oil, you can substitute some of the olive oil called for in the recipe above with the oil in the jar.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 cup / Calories 166 / Protein 4.4g / Carbohydrate 20.5g / Dietary Fiber 2g / Total Sugars 1.8g / Total Fat 8g / Saturated Fat 1.1g / Cholesterol 21mg / Sodium 290mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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19 comments… Leave a Review
  • Talia June 6, 2024, 8:55 am

    This was a delicious side dish (and lunch!). I added a bit of feta cheese when serving and it was well received by everyone!


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