Lemon Orzo Salad features fresh ingredients like bell peppers, cucumbers, fresh herbs and more! Freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey add just the right touch of vibrant flavor to this easy summer salad. Make this summer salad for your next picnic or potluck and watch it disappear!
Lemon Orzo Salad
Hello, summer! I’m greeting this sunny season like an old friend and I’m so excited to start whipping up all of my favorite fresh recipes again. One of my favorites is of course this quick and easy orzo salad! It checks all the right boxes – it’s filling, flavorful, and fresh as can be. The orzo itself is so tender and filling and is all dressed up with the veggies, feta cheese, and plenty of lemony flavor. Serve it as a light lunch or as a side dish on a warm summer’s day! Oh, and the very best part? This orzo salad recipe is SO easy to make.
I’m a pretty big fan of filling salads, especially when it’s hot outside. Recipes like Tuna Pasta Salad, easy Spaghetti Salad and Italian Tortellini Salad are all fantastic during the summer because they’ll fill you up without weighing you down!
How to Make Orzo Salad
Cook the orzo. Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse the orzo and reserve about ¼ cup of the water it was cooked in.
Prep the fresh ingredients. While the orzo’s cooking, cut/chop/chiffonade all the veggies and herbs.
Make the dressing. In a mixing bowl add the lemon juice, oil, lemon zest, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined.
Toss the orzo. Add the drained, cold orzo to the bowl. Give everything a good mix. If the orzo is too dry, mix in a splash of the reserved pasta water.
Add the veggies. Add the tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, feta, basil, and parsley to the bowl. Stir to combine.
Serve. You can serve the orzo salad immediately or store it for later. Enjoy!
What Does Chiffonade Mean?
You’ll need to chiffonade your basil. But what exactly does that mean?! Simply put, chiffonade is a French cooking technique where you take the basil leaves and cut them into long strips. This is accomplished by taking your basil and stacking the leaves. Roll them tightly and slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll so you will end up with long strips.
Storing Lemon Orzo Salad
You can store your orzo salad in an airtight container in the fridge. Properly stored, it’ll stay fresh for about 3-4 days. If you notice that your salad has dried out a little bit while in the fridge, you can stir in a drizzle of olive oil before serving again to add some moisture back to it. I don’t recommend freezing this fresh summer salad!
Ingredients Notes for Lemon Orzo Salad
Orzo – If you can’t find orzo pasta you can replace it with any small pasta, or even quinoa. Also, make sure you rinse your orzo with cold water! Cold water stops the cooking process, so your orzo won’t overcook and turn mushy.
Honey – Try to use good quality honey. Sometimes, the cheaper stuff lends sugary sweetness but not real deep honey flavor. Look for honey that’s a rich golden color and has words like “organic” and “local” on the label!
Olive Oil – If preferred, avocado oil can certainly be used instead. If you do use olive oil, make sure it’s extra virgin and good quality for the best flavor.
Garlic- You can use 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder instead if that’s what you have.
Additional Ingredients – There’s so much more you can toss into this versatile salad recipe! You can add sliced Castelvetrano green olives, baby spinach, or chickpeas, or fresh/dried dill. You can even add grilled chicken, shrimp, and salmon to the salad to added protein.
Lemon Orzo Salad
- 1 ½ Cups Orzo
- ⅓ Cup Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Olive oil or Avocado Oil
- 1 teaspoon Garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
- ½ teaspoon Honey
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes sliced
- ¾ Cup Red and Yellow Bell Peppers chopped
- ¾ Cup English Cucumber chopped
- 5 Ounces Feta Cheese crumbled
- ¼ Cup Basil chiffonade
- ¼ Cup Parsley finely chopped
- Cook the orzo following the directions on the package.
- While your orzo is cooking cut your vegetables and herbs.
- Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
- Rinse the pasta immediately with cold water.
- In a medium bowl add the lemon juice, oil, garlic, lemon zest, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix until fully combined.
- Add the drained cold pasta to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined. If it is too dry add the pasta water a tablespoon at a time.
- To the bowl add the tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, feta, basil, and parsley. Stir to combine.
- Serve the salad immediately or place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- If the salad becomes dry you can add a drizzle of olive oil.