MEDITERRANEAN ORZO PASTA SALAD


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This Mediterranean orzo pasta salad is the perfect side dish for dinner, something to bring to a gathering or cookout, or even a great meal prep option! The pasta salad features cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and lots of fresh basil. Everything is brought together with a lemony vinaigrette that I’m fully obsessed with. You can make this grain-free like I do! Read my recipe recommendations below to see how.

Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredients

Orzo: If you want to make this recipe grain-free, the grain-free options I recommend are either Jovial Foods grain-free orzo or Banza chickpea rice, which has a very similar shape to orzo. I’ve had success with both and love the flavor! Otherwise, you can of course use regular or gluten-free orzo.

Chopped Veggies: The chopped veggies you’ll need for this recipe include cherry tomatoes, cucumber and Kalamata olives. These are my favorite classic Mediterranean veggies that go perfectly with all things lemon and basil. Feel free to adjust to your taste!

Feta Cheese: In my eyes, a pasta salad is not complete without a little bit of crumbled feta cheese. The feta balances out the oil and vinegar so perfectly, and gives the best flavor all in one bite. If you’re dairy-free, you can of course omit the feta or grab a vegan version to replace it.

Olive Oil: The main component of the dressing is olive oil; the rich and fatty taste of olive oil is everything you want – I recommend some high quality extra virgin olive oil for the best taste.

Red Wine Vinegar: Red wine vinegar is the other big component of the lemony dressing. I love the taste of red wine vinegar, but you could also use white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar as a replacement, with just a slightly different taste.

Lemon: A fresh lemon, juice and zest included, is the recommended ingredient for adding the lemon flavor to the dressing alongside the oil and vinegar. If you don’t have any fresh lemons on hand, it’s totally fine to use lemon juice from a bottle. Just use a bit extra to make up for not having lemon zest.

Garlic, Basil & Spices: The spices you’ll need for this recipe include fresh basil, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. You’ll also need a clove of fresh garlic for the dressing (or substitute ~1 tsp of garlic powder if needed). I definitely recommend using fresh basil, but work with what you have an use dried if needed.


How To Make Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad

Step One: Begin by preparing the orzo based on the instructions on the packaging. For most orzo, grain-free or not, you’ll want to bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook, then drain the orzo.

Step Two: Allow the orzo to cool while chopping up the cucumber, Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. You’ll want to half the cucumber and olives, and dice the cucumber.

Step Three: Add the cooled orzo and chopped veggies to a large bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on top and lightly mix everything and set aside.

Step Four: Make the lemon basil dressing by adding the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, basil and oregano to a jar with a lid. Shake the jar until the ingredients mix together, or use a whisk to combine.

Step Five: Drizzle the dressing over the orzo and veggies, reserving some in order to make sure the pasta salad isn’t too heavily dressed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step Six: For best results, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before enjoying. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

If you try out this recipe, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below if you love it. You can also snap a photo & tag @jenneatsgoood on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support this blog and make it possible for me to continue to create healthier recipes!


MEDITERRANEAN ORZO PASTA SALAD

Recipe by Jenn Lueke
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Diet

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian

This Mediterranean orzo pasta salad is the perfect side dish for dinner, something to bring to a gathering or cookout, or even a great meal prep option! The pasta salad features cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and lots of fresh basil. Everything is brought together with a lemony vinaigrette that I’m fully obsessed with. You can make this grain-free like I do! Read my recipe recommendations below to see how.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked grain-free orzo

  • 1 cucumber

  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Begin by preparing the orzo based on the instructions on the packaging. For most orzo, grain-free or not, you’ll want to bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook, then drain the orzo.
  • Allow the orzo to cool while chopping up the cucumber, Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. You’ll want to half the cucumber and olives, and dice the cucumber.
  • Add the cooled orzo and chopped veggies to a large bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on top and lightly mix everything and set aside.
  • Make the lemon basil dressing by adding the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, basil and oregano to a jar with a lid. Shake the jar until the ingredients mix together, or use a whisk to combine.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the orzo and veggies, reserving some in order to make sure the pasta salad isn’t too heavily dressed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • For best results, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before enjoying. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

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