In this recipe, your favourite Greek Salad ingredients – we’re talking cucumber, tomato, red onion, olives and feta – are combined with orzo pasta to make the tastiest Greek Orzo Salad! This orzo pasta salad recipe can be a quick side dish to whip up for your Summer BBQ or you can meal prep a batch and save it for grab and go lunches!
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- Why you should make Greek Orzo Salad
- Ingredients and Substitutions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to store Greek Orzo Salad
- What to serve with Greek Salad and Orzo?
- Is orzo gluten-free?
- Can you cook orzo ahead of time?
- Which olives are best for Greek Salad?
- Watch the Video
- You May Also Like…
- How to Make Greek Orzo Salad
So it’s decided. If I cannot take myself to the Greek Isles, I’ll bring the Greek Isles to me instead!
I mean, a girl can dream right?!
While moving literal mountains might be a bit tricky, cooking up some of my favourite Mediterranean dishes can at least make me feel like I’m a little closer to the sunshine. Hopefully, this Greek Orzo Salad recipe will have us both feeling like we’re splashing around in the Aegean sea 🤞
Greek Salad (also known as horiatiki salad) combines diced cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives and feta cheese with a dressing of olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar. The veggies add lots of freshness and a little sweetness while the feta adds both creaminess and briney goodness. It’s a simple mix of ingredients that packs in lots of fresh, delicious flavours!
In this recipe we’re adding my favourite pasta, orzo (which is called kritharaki in Greek FYI) to make the whole thing a little more filling. Plus, what food isn’t improved with the addition of pasta?!
You can eat this Greek orzo salad on its own and I promise you’ll feel wholeheartedly satisfied. But if you were looking for more, it is the perfect pasta side dish for things like lamb, chicken, salmon or mackerel.
This is also a fab little recipe to make for a BBQ or buffet. To make this orzo pasta salad recipe all you need to do is prep your veg and dressing while the pasta cooks, stir it all together and it’s good to go in 15 minutes tops. You can make it ahead of time too, which means you have more time for the important stuff like socialising and schmoozing. Cheers to that!
Why you should make Greek Orzo Salad
Do you still need a little convincing in order to make this recipe? Let me see if I can do that for you.
- It stores really well, making it the ideal make-in-advance side dish or meal-prep lunch.
- It is a great side dish for meats like lamb, chicken, pork or beef or with fish such as salmon or mackerel. You could also throw some prawns in there for good measure!
- But it is also substantial enough to eat alone. The addition of that orzo pasta means you will be fuller for longer, so it’s the perfect fuel for a workday.
- We’re using less than 10 ingredients! And half of them (olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, orzo and a lil salt and pep) are already in your store cupboard right now.
- If you grow your own veg you’re likely to have tomatoes, cucumber and red onions growing in the Summer months, poised and ready to dive straight into this salad!
- It’s ready in like, 15 minutes! In the time your pasta is cooking, make your dressing and chop your other ingredients. Simply drain and rinse the pasta when it’s done then mix it all together et voila!
Would you believe me if I told you that it’s the feta cheese in this recipe that’s providing some of the most nutrition? Believe it or not, feta is high in calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Calcium is needed for several bodily functions including blood clotting, muscle contraction and normal heart and nerve function. We also need it for healthy bones and teeth.
Riboflavin helps release energy from the food we eat and is important for healthy skin and eyes as well as the nervous system. Meanwhile, Vitamin B12 helps make red blood cells and is important for the normal functioning of the nervous system. It also helps release energy from food.
Feta also contains gut-friendly bacteria that are important for gut health and immune health.
Both the tomatoes and cucumber provide us with vitamin K which is important for normal blood clotting. The tomatoes specifically are a great source of vitamin C – an antioxidant that is also needed to make collagen.
To make the dressing we’ve used extra virgin olive oil, which not only provides us with flavour but is also packed with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Dietary fat provides us with energy and also helps the body absorb certain vitamins. Monounsaturated fats in particular have several health benefits and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
The orzo pasta also provides us with carbohydrates and some protein. Carbohydrates provide us with glucose, which the body uses as a source of energy while protein makes up all of our organs and body tissues. In this recipe, I’ve used refined pasta which contains less fibre than its wholegrain counterpart. You could always use whole grain pasta if you prefer.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Orzo – For this recipe, I’ve used orzo pasta, mainly because it’s my fave, but also because all of those little grains are a great carrier for that oregano & red wine vinegar dressing. Really, you could use any pasta that you’ve got to hand. If you wanted something gluten-free try basmati or wholegrain rice instead.
Tomatoes – When it comes to the fresh ingredients, go with the best quality you can afford. Better quality means better flavour and they will uplift the whole pasta salad. I like to use plum tomatoes or tomatoes grown on the vine. You could also use cherry tomatoes if you wanted something a little sweeter.
Cucumber – Again, go with the best quality you can afford for the best flavour.
Olives – Kalamata olives are typically used in Greek Salad recipes for their briney, tangy flavour and meaty texture. Their rich flavour complements the feta while contrasting with the freshness of the veggies. Aim to go with fresh olives instead of jarred olives as they tend to have better flavour and a firmer texture. If you can’t get Kalamata olives, substitute for any black olive you can find.
Red onion – Red onions have a mild, sweet flavour which makes them ideal for salads. Not to mention their beautiful purple hue which makes any dish look beautiful. If you need a substitute for red onion you could try a white onion which also has a mild onion flavour. Spring onions (scallions) are also perfect for salads so you could substitute 2-3 of them in for the red onion.
Feta – Feta is a delicious brined cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is tangy, salty and creamy and adds a funky flavour to any recipe it graces. Should you need to substitute feta you have a few options. Goats cheese has a similar tangy taste to feta although you will want to try and get a more crumbly goats cheese to match feta’s texture. Halloumi is another option. While halloumi is milder in flavour it is also a brined cheese so will add that salty flavour. Cut the halloumi into cubes and pan-fry it for a few minutes before adding it into the pasta salad.
Extra virgin olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil adds a delicious, rich flavour to any salad dressing. You could use regular olive oil although this will be milder in flavour. Both avocado oil and walnut oil are flavoursome oils that work well as substitutes for extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings.
Red Wine Vinegar – Red wine vinegar has a pretty pink hue and a tangy, sweet flavour that makes it perfect for salad dressings. If you need a substitute for red wine vinegar you could try white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar.
Oregano – Oregano adds a delicate, almost floral flavour to this dish. I use dried oregano but you could use fresh if you have it to hand. This recipe uses 1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano, which equals about 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh oregano. You could substitute the oregano for basil if that’s what you have to hand. Oregano is also part of Italian seasoning, so feel free to use that if it’s hiding in the back of your cupboard! Alternatively, you can omit the oregano entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to store Greek Orzo Salad
Store this pasta salad in Tupperware containers, in the fridge for 3-4 days.
What to serve with Greek Salad and Orzo?
Some things that go really well with this dish are:
- Some good crusty bread!
Is orzo gluten-free?
Orzo isn’t gluten-free, but you can get gluten-free versions of this little pasta. Alternatively, you could use your favourite gluten-free pasta or substitute rice.
Can you cook orzo ahead of time?
Yes! Once the orzo it’s cooked drain the water and drizzle with oil to stop it from all sticking together. You could even toss the cooked orzo with the salad dressing to let it absorb some of those flavours. Ideally, cook the orzo within 24 hours of when you plan to eat it.
Which olives are best for Greek Salad?
Kalamata olives are a type of Greek olive that are perfect for Greek salads. They have a meaty texture and a salty, tangy flavour that compliments the other ingredients really well. If you can’t get Kalamata olives black olives are the next best substitute. Aim to go for fresh olives instead of jarred for better flavour and texture.
Watch the Video
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How to Make Greek Orzo Salad
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The Best Greek Orzo Salad Recipe
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: Greek
- Diet: Vegetarian
Greek salad is combined with orzo pasta to make this delicious Greek Orzo Salad! Ready in just 15 minutes, this dish can be served as a main meal or as a simple side dish for meat or fish.
- 250 grams orzo
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 2/3 cucumber, diced
- 16 Kalamata black olives, halved and stones removed
- 1 red onion, diced
- 150 grams feta, crumbled
- Cook the orzo in salted water as per packet instructions.
- Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisk together.
- Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese to the dressing.
- Once cooked, drain the orzo and rinse under cold water. Add the orzo to the bowl. Toss everything together. Serve and enjoy!
This recipe serves 4 people as a main dish or up to 6 people as a side dish.
Keywords: Greek Salad, Pasta Salad, Orzo Pasta Salad, Salad, Greek Orzo Salad,
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