Recipes | Side Dish

Easy Greek Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect summer side dish. Light and lemony flavors make it a big crowd pleaser so keep the recipe on hand because people will be asking for it! Simple and Delicious!

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Easy Greek Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

I really love pasta salad! There are so many different great recipes out there. This Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is one of my absolute favorites so that’s saying a lot! It’s perfect for summer cook outs and potlucks but it also makes a great lunch any time of year.

The tiny orzo pasta combined with artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, salty kalamata olives and fresh parmesan cheese makes such a flavorful dish. Add in the homemade garlic lemon dressing and it’s to die for! 

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect summer side dish. Light and lemony flavors make it a big crowd pleaser so keep the recipe on hand because people will be asking for it! Simple and Delicious! | We Three Shanes

What is Orzo?

Orzo, or Risoni, is a tiny pasta that’s shaped more like rice.  You can usually find it in the pasta aisle at most grocery store or order it online HERE.

You cook orzo like you would any pasta. Just boil it in salted water. Because the grains are so small they cook a lot faster so keep your eye on them.

Orzo is great in soups or pasta salads. It also makes an easy side dish with just a bit of melted butter and parmesan cheese.


Ingredients For Greek Orzo Pasta

The list of ingredients looks a bit long for such an easy dish. Since we’re mixing our own homemade dressing there are more elements. Don’t let the list scare you away. It’s all so simple to make, even the dressing.

  • 1 16 oz Box of Orzo
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts in water
  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives – halved
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes – halved
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • Juice and Zest from 1 Lemon
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 cup Cooking Oil – Canola, Vegetable, Olive
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • Water

Other Orzo Pasta Add-Ins and Swaps

Above are the main ingredients I use to make orzo pasta salad but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ingredients you can use. I don’t like cucumbers so I don’t use them in recipes but I know a ton of other people do.

Chicken or chick peas can be added to make this a complete meal. There are also substitutes you can make like swapping parmesan for feta cheese. I’ve got a list of add-ins and swaps you can make to create you’re own version of this greek pasta salad.

  • Cucumbers
  • Feta Cheese – swap the parmesan
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Grilled Veggies like zucchini, squash or asparagus
  • Tortellini – swap the orzo
  • Chick peas
  • red onion
  • Avocado
  • Spinach

Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect summer side dish but the addition of grilled chicken makes it a meal. The homemade Lemon Garlic dressing is the icing on the cake! | We Three Shanes

How to Make Orzo Pasta Salad

  1. Start by cooking your orzo based on the box directions. It usually takes 8-10 minutes to cook. Drain the pasta and then either rinse in cold water to cool it off faster or pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours. 
  1. While you’re waiting on cooking pasta, start chopping. You’ll need to slice your tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives in half. I do find that the olives rip in half pretty easily but if you’re lucky you can buy them already halved to save time. You can also buy quartered artichoke hearts to save time.
  1. Make the lemon, garlic dressing (directions below) and then combine everything together. This pasta salad really is so quick and easy to make. It will taste great right away but even better after a couple hours in the fridge.

How to Make the Greek Dressing

  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Cup Canola Oil or other oil such as olive or vegetable
  • 1 Lemon – juiced
  • Zest from 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • Water or liquid from the olives and artichokes
  • 1 – 2 tsp salt (only if using water)

This Greek dressing needs to be blended together to combine all the ingredients. I use my hand blender to do this but you can use a blender or food processor if you don’t have an immersion blender. My blender came with the perfect container for mixing this dressing in.

Throw the first 5 ingredients into your blender or container. Now, the next ingredients are up to you. You can go about this step in two ways. First you can use water and salt to get the flavor and consistency you need. This is how I first made the recipe.

The second option is to use liquid from the artichokes and/or kalamata olives instead of the water and salt. This is what I do now only because I find it slightly quicker to grab what’s right in front of me. The liquids from both the olives and artichokes already have tons of sodium in them so I don’t find it necessary to add the salt.

The liquid from the kalamata olives gives this lemon, garlic dressing a hint of pink coloring but you won’t really notice once it’s mixed into the salad. I add about 1/4 cup of liquid to the dressing to thin it out a bit. You want a maple syrup consistency.

Once you’ve decided on salt and water or liquid from the artichokes and/or olives, simply blend all the ingredients together. You should end up with a whiteish or pinkish dressing.


Why Try This Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe:

-It’s just so easy to make!

-Orzo Pasta Salad is great for potlucks, barbecues, and big events when a large side dish is required.

-Greek pasta salad also makes a great lunch. It will last for days in the fridge so you can add it to your meal prep list.

Greek Pasta salad is a great meal prep recipe. You can make it ahead of time and take it for lunch the next couple of days. | We Three Shanes

-It’s easy to customize with swaps and add-ins.

-You can add chicken or chick peas to make it a meal.

-It’s delicious and such a light dish for hot summer days!


Simple and Delicious! Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect summer side dish. Lemon garlic dressing and artichokes make this recipe a big crowd pleaser. | We Three Shanes

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect summer side dish. Lemon garlic dressing and artichokes make this recipe a big crowd pleaser. Make it all Summer long!

Orzo Pasta Salad is an easy dish to put together for a crowd. Lemon and garlic flavors work perfectly with the orzo pasta, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts. Delicious summer flavors!

Orzo Pasta Salad

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is the perfect summer side dish. Light and lemony flavors make it a big crowd pleaser so keep the recipe on hand because people will be asking for it! Simple and Delicious!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:8 mins
Total Time:23 mins

Ingredients

  • 16 oz box Orzo cooked to box directions
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts in salt water quarterd
  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives halved
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 1 Lemon you need the juice and the zest
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup Cooking Oil Canola, Vegetable, or Olive
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano

Instructions

Prepare the Main Ingredients

  • Start by cooking your orzo based on the box directions. It usually takes 8-10 minutes to cook.
  • Drain the pasta and then either rinse in cold water to cool it off faster or pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours. 
  • While your preparing the pasta, start your chopping. You’ll need to slice your tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives in half. I do find that the olives rip in half pretty easily but if you’re lucky you can buy them already halved to save time. You can also buy quartered artichoke hearts to save time too.

To Make the Dressing

  • Throw the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and oregano into your blender or container.
  • Now the next ingredients are up to you. You can go about this step in two ways.
  • First you can use water and salt to get the flavor and consistency you need. This is how I first made the recipe.
  • The second option is to use liquid from the artichokes and/or kalamata olives instead of the water and salt. This is what I do now only because I find it slightly quicker to grab what’s right in front of me. The liquids from both the olives and artichokes already have tons of sodium in them so I don’t find it necessary to add the salt. The liquid from the kalamata olives gives this lemon, garlic dressing a hint of pink coloring but you won’t really notice once it’s mixed into the salad.
  • I add about 1/4 cup of liquid to the dressing to thin it out a bit. You want a maple syrup consistency.
  • Once you’ve decided on salt and water or liquid from the artichokes and/or olives, simply blend all the ingredients together. You should end up with a whiteish or pinkish dressing.

Notes

This orzo pasta salad really is so quick and easy to make. This salad will taste great right away but even better after a couple hours in the fridge.
Servings: 6 people

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