This healthy Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is incredibly easy make (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)Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
Optional Add-ins: Pine nuts, Sundried Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Artichoke Hearts, Arugula, Spinach, Lemon Zest, Fresh Oregano or Parsley
Cook the orzo: Add 3 1/2 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 for 15 seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain again and gently shake the colander to remove as much water as possible. Immediately transfer the cooked orzo to a large bowl. (SEE NOTES)
Season the orzo: While the orzo is still warm, drizzle it with 4 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and scant 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to cool completely. (SEE NOTES)
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the hummus with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until smooth. OPTIONAL: For a thinner dressing, whisk in cool 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.
Serve: Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold. Enjoy!
Orzo: Make sure you drizzle the orzo with oil and lemon juice while the pasta is still warm so it soaks up the flavor!
Prep: 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.
Red Onion: 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!
Lemon Juice: 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.
Salt: 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.
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: 10-12Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 12 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.