Easy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This healthy and hearty orzo salad is loaded with mediterranean flavors like sun-dried tomatoes, olives and feta. It’s a total crowd-pleaser that you’ll want to bring to every summer cookout and potluck.

Oh my goodness, I’ve found the perfect side salad for summer cookouts, barbecues or backyard dinners. It’s a hearty, healthy mediterranean salad with orzo, cannellini beans, olives, feta and sun-dried tomatoes. I love the fact that it’s super flavorful and delicious, but also loaded with nutrient-rich toppings.

Most pasta salads aren’t the healthiest, but this salad actually does a good job of packing a ton of nutrition into one dish!

Bowl of orzo pasta salad with feta, olives, spinach, cucumber and white beans. Wood spoon and bowls of cucumber and feta on a dish towel next to the bowl.

What is Orzo?

Orzo looks kind of like rice, but it’s actually pasta! It is made from wheat so steer clear if you have a gluten intolerance or allergy. You can cook it like rice (where the orzo absorbs the liquid) or more like a pasta where you boil the orzo and drain the extra liquid after cooking. It can be eaten hot or cold and is a super versatile ingredient!

Ingredients for orzo pasta salad in a bowl. White beans, sun dried tomato, kalamata olives, cucumber, spinach and seasoning.

Ingredients in Orzo Salad

  • orzo pasta – I like to buy whole wheat orzo because it contains more fiber than regular.
  • baby spinach – baby spinach has a mild flavor and texture that works perfectly in this orzo salad.
  • sun-dried tomatoes – these are a must! They add a ton of flavor.
  • cucumber – for some added crunch.
  • Kalamata olives – make sure you’re buying pitted olives so you can easily chop them up.
  • cannellini beans – the perfect ingredient to add bulk protein. I used canned cannellini beans but you can cook your own if you want.
  • dried oregano, salt and black pepper – to really bring all the flavors together!
  • feta cheese – this adds such a good flavor to the salad so I wouldn’t recommend omitting it. If needed you can use a vegan feta.
  • balsamic dressing – a super simple dressing made with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic, sea salt, and olive oil.

Orzo pasta salad in a bowl, topped with feta.

Notes & Substitutions

Cannellini – Like I mentioned, I used canned cannellini beans because they’re super easy to use! If you don’t like cannellini beans you can substitute for another white bean like chickpeas or Northern beans.

Avocado – Want to add a little creaminess and healthy fats to your salad? Add in some chopped avocado!

Dressing – I love the balsamic dressing paired with this salad but any dressing would work if you’re in a pinch. Some options: Greek Salad Dressingwhite balsamic vinaigrette or lemon vinaigrette.

Orzo pasta salad tossed with a balsamic dressing. Orzo mixed with spinach, cucumber, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and seasoning.

Serving and Storing Orzo Salad

I love that this salad pairs well with just about any protein. It’s delicious served with my grilled apple cider vinegar chicken. I think the flavors go really well together. It’s also a perfect side for cookouts and potlucks.

To make it in advance: You can prep the salad the night before and let it chill in the fridge until serving. I recommend serving at room temperature.

To store leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

More Summer Salads to Try:

More Mediterranean-Inspired Recipes to Try:

If you make this easy Mediterranean orzo salad, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers.

Orzo pasta salad tossed with a balsamic dressing. Orzo mixed with spinach, cucumber, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and seasoning. Bowls of cucumber, feta and balsamic dressing in the background.

Easy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Brittany Mullins
This healthy and hearty orzo salad is loaded with mediterranean flavors like sun-dried tomatoes and feta. A total crowd-pleaser that you'll want to bring to every summer cookout and potluck. 
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 255 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 10 Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans or other white bean
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoon olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Cook orzo: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and cook according to the package directions until just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until the pasta cools to room temp. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Prep dressing: While orzo cooks make the dressing by using a blender or whisk to combine all ingredients.
  • Mix ingredients: Add the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, beans and oregano to the orzo and toss to combine.
  • Add dressing: Add half of the balsamic dressing and toss again. Taste it and add more dressing if needed. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Serve: Serve at room temperature, sprinkled with feta.

Notes

Cannellini – If you don’t like cannellini beans you can substitute for another white bean like chickpeas or Northern beans.
Avocado – Want to add a little creaminess and healthy fats to your salad? Add in some chopped avocado!
Dressing – I love the balsamic dressing I created for this salad but any dressing would work if you’re in a pinch. Some options: Greek Salad Dressingwhite balsamic vinaigrette or lemon vinaigrette.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of recipeCalories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 7gFat: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 7g
Keyword orzo salad
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Recipe Rating




    42 comments
    1. Jasmine
      December 2, 2020 AT 4:34 pm

      I just made this recipe for lunch, it was delicious! Easy to follow and a bit more hearty because of the orzo. It does not take too long to make, which is nice for work from home. Flavorful and healthy! Thank you, Brittany.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 3, 2020 AT 12:26 am

        So glad you enjoyed this salad, Jasmine!

    2. Sheena M.
      July 11, 2020 AT 1:09 am

      5 stars
      This is so good! I love the homemade dressing with it as well. I’ve made it multiple times to share with others and it’s always a hit. It’s also a forgiving recipe if you don’t have the exact ingredients or want to sub something else in. Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 13, 2020 AT 12:39 pm

        Ahh yay! That makes me so happy to hear, Sheena. I’m glad you enjoyed this salad. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    3. Isabella H
      May 22, 2020 AT 8:54 am

      5 stars
      Me and my family loved this salad so much.. we are on batch #3 (and we doubled it!). We couldn’t find orzo so we made it with quinoa (thanks COVID-19) but it was still fabulous. I’m making it again in the coming days and plan to try it with ether Banza rice or brown rice. It goes great with really any grain you throw in! The dressing is amazing as well. We keep the dressing and salad in different bowls/Masson jars and the salad lasts all through the week which is wonderful when we don’t know what to have for lunch or dinner.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 22, 2020 AT 7:57 pm

        Yay!! I’m so glad this salad has been a hit with your family. Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I really appreciate it. <3

    4. Nicole Morris
      February 29, 2020 AT 8:47 am

      5 stars
      Seriously amazing!!

    5. Kathryn
      June 5, 2019 AT 9:19 pm

      5 stars
      Love this recipe! Made it once for myself and it was so good, I decided to make it again for a potluck. It was a hit with my friends, too! I got lots of compliments and people assumed it took much more work than it actually did 🙂 I couldn’t find the orzo for some reason at my usual grocery store the first time I wanted to make it so I used pearl couscous and that also worked well, just in case that is helpful to know!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

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