Easy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

4.57

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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

4.57 from 16 votes

Easy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

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. 
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

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 recipe | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: orzo salad
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




53 Comments

  1. 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. 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

  2. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 5 stars
    This salad is beyond delicious! I meal prepped it for lunch one week and loved it so much I made it for the next week too. It’s really satisfying- especially when I am craving carbs. It’s part of my regular rotation now. So happy I found the recipe! Thank you, Brittany!!

    1. Woo!! So happy to hear you’ve been loving this salad. Thanks so much for the review, Allie! I really appreciate the feedback :).

    1. Woo! I’m so glad to hear that, Brittany! Thanks for making this recipe and coming back to leave a review! I really appreciate it.

  5. 2 stars
    The maple syrup ruins the whole dish. It over powered all of the other flavors in the salad. Ate 1 scoop and threw away the rest.

  6. Another good one and another keeper. I did nt have sun dried tomatoes so I used cherry tomatoes but I will try it with sun dried next time.

    1. YUM! I am so excited to hear that you are loving this recipe and it came out great for you, Terrie. Thank you for your review + star rating, I appreciate it!

  7. 5 stars
    Just made this with some yogurt marinated chicken breasts, and OMG. The only thing I did different was add a small bit of chopped walnuts for some creaminess – but the salad was absolutely delicious without them anyway!

    1. WOO! This sounds absolutely delicious, Meredith. I am so glad you’re loving this salad and with the yogurt marinated chicken, YUM! Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review & star rating, I really appreciate it!

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