This healthy Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is incredibly easy make and ready in 25 minutes or less! It’s filled with fresh flavors and finished with a creamy hummus dressing (NO MAYO)! It is perfect as side dish or a vegetarian main, and easily customizable with your favorite ingredients! (Healthy, vegetarian, vegan-option)
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
This Greek-inspired pasta salad is light, refreshing, full of texture and packed with flavor! Made with a hummus-based dressing instead of mayonnaise, this orzo salad is creamy-dreamy and healthy as well!
Savory, bite-sized orzo pasta tossed with plump chickpeas, juicy tomatoes, cool cucumbers, pungent red onion, rich kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese and aromatic fresh basil. Finished with a silky, creamy hummus based dressing and garnished with crunchy pine nuts, this pasta salad is anything but boring or bland!
This mayo-free Greek pasta salad is easy to make, can be prepared in advance and can be served at cold or room temperature! It’s the perfect packable lunch, healthy weeknight dinner and makes a delicious side for summer picnics, potlucks and outdoor barbecues! Basically, it’s a salad for any and every occasion!
What is orzo pasta salad?
Orzo pasta salad is a colorful mix of orzo pasta, fresh vegetables and herbs tossed with a Greek or Mediterranean inspired dressing.
While orzo resembles a long grain rice, it is actually a short-cut variety or pasta.
Greek orzo pasta salad is a quick and easy dish to prepare which makes it perfect for lunches, light dinners, picnics, potlucks and barbecues!
What is in Greek pasta salad?
The exact ingredients in a Greek pasta salad greatly varies from recipe to recipe.
This Greek inspired orzo salad is made up of orzo, feta cheese and chickpeas as well as variety of fresh vegetables, herbs and a silky hummus based dressing.
There are numerous ways to customize a Greek pasta salad with your favorite add-ins or whatever you have on hand in the kitchen!
Greek pasta salad ingredients:
- Orzo (or any small pasta)
- Chickpeas (or white beans)
- Chery or Grape Tomatoes
- Seedless Cucumber
- Red Onion (or shallot)
- Kalamata Olives
- Crumbled Feta (omit for Vegan)
- Fresh Herbs (Basil, Oregano and/or Parsley)
- Seasonings – Olive Oil, Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- Lemon Juice
- Nuts (Pine nuts or almonds)
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Artichoke Hearts
- Greens (Arugula or spinach)
- Shredded Chicken
Can you make Greek pasta salad in advance?
Greek pasta salad actually tastes best if made a few hours in advance! You can make this salad up to a day in advance, however I would wait to add the tomatoes and cucumbers until just before serving as they will cause the pasta salad to become watery.
How long will Greek pasta salad last?
Greek Orzo pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can Greek pasta salad be frozen?
Greek orzo pasta salad can be frozen!
Follow the below tips to help keep the pasta salad taste fresh:
- Cook the pasta until al dente and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Store the pasta salad and dressing in separate air-tight, freezer-safe bags or containers.
- Wait to add the tomatoes and cucumbers until just before serving. (Do NOT freeze them with the pasta salad)
- Thaw the pasta salad and dressing overnight in the refrigerator. Make sure they are completely defrosted before mixing them together.
What to serve with Greek pasta salad?
This colorful Greek-inspired pasta salad is a great side dish for summer picnics, potlucks and backyard barbecues! Or, it is perfect on its own as a light lunch or vegetarian dinner!
What goes with Greek pasta salad?
- Add grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken to make it a complete meal!
- Mix in grilled shrimp for a healthy main meal!
- Serve it next to grilled or baked salmon.
- Serve alongside lamb kebobs.
- Serve as a side dish with Greek sandwiches or Gyros.
- Pair it with Greek salad.
How to cook Greek pasta salad?
Orzo Pasta salad in incredibly easy to make!
- Cook the orzo. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse the orzo with cold water. Drain again and shake the colander to remove as much water as possible. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
- Season the orzo. Drizzle the cooked orzo with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl or food processor, combine hummus, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and oregano. Whisk or pulse until combined.
- Toss all of the ingredients. Add fresh vegetables and herbs to the bowl of orzo. Toss to combine. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss again.
- Season according to taste. Don’t forget to taste the pasta salad and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice if needed! Always cook and season a dish according to your tastes.
- Serve! Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
If you are a fan of Greek flavors and ingredients, you are going to LOVE this creamy orzo pasta salad! Fresh and full of flavors, this recipe will become a family favorite!
Until next week, friends, cheers – to perfect pasta salad!
The best Greek Pasta Salad👇
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
- 1 ¼ Cup uncooked Orzo Pasta - (about 10 ounces)
- 4 ounces Feta Cheese – cubed or crumbled
- 1 (14.5 ounce) Can Chickpeas – drained, rinsed and dried (You can substitute cooked chicken)
- 8 ounces Grape Tomatoes - halved
- ½ Seedless Cucumber – diced
- 1 Small Red Onion – small diced
- ½ heaping Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives – pitted & halved or sliced
- ¼ Cup Basil Leaves – torn (or Parsley)
- ½ Cup Hummus
- 4 TBS freshly squeezed Lemon Juice - DIVIDED (about 2 lemons)
- 1 clove Garlic – minced
- 5 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil - DIVIDED
- 1 TBS Red Wine Vinegar
- ½ tsp Dried Oregano
- Water – as needed to thin dressing (OPTIONAL)
Cook the orzo: Add 4 quarts of water to a large pot. Bring water to a boil. Season water generously with salt. Cook the orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse the orzo with cold water. Drain again and gently shake the colander to remove as much water as possible. Transfer the cooked orzo to a large bowl.
Season the orzo: Drizzle the orzo with 4 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to cool.*
Make the dressing: In a small bowl or food processor, combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until smooth. OPTIONAL – for a thinner dressing, whisk in water (1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved).
Assemble the salad: Add the feta, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives and basil to the bowl with the orzo. Toss to combine. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and gently toss to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold. Enjoy!
- Make sure you drizzle the orzo with oil and lemon juice while the pasta is still warm so it soaks up the flavor!
- While the seasoned orzo is cooling on the counter, prep all the vegetables. Since the hummus dressing is creamy, you do not want the orzo to be hot when you toss it with the dressing.
- Do not season the assembled pasta salad with too much salt until you are ready to serve. Since salt will draw moisture out of the cucumbers and tomatoes, adding too much will cause the pasta salad to become watery.
- If you don’t like the harsh bite of red onion, run the diced onions under cool water before adding them to the salad. The water will remove the harsh flavor. Just make sure you thoroughly drain the onions before adding them to the salad!
- For the best flavor, make sure you use fresh squeezed lemon juice in this recipe! The bottle variety of lemon juice is lackluster in flavor.
- To make in advance: This pasta salad actually tastes best if made a few hours in advance! You can make this salad up to a day in advance, however I wait to add the tomatoes and cucumbers until just before serving as they will cause the pasta salad to become watery.
- Leftover Pasta Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Recipe Serves: 10-12
Nutritional information based on 12 servings.
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