orzo salad1

All this talk of summer coming to a close and autumn nearly being upon us? Rubbish! It’s barely past mid-August and already everyone’s in a tizzy over warm, comfort food and hoodies and pumpkin cookies and plaid backpacks.

Not that I have anything against those things, but all I’m saying is: bring on the simple summer meals while I still can. Know what I mean? Of course, I do happen to live in the land where winter-lasts-for-nine-months so you can’t blame me too harshly for hanging on to the warmth and all that comes with it as long as I can. I’ll probably still be wearing flip flops come November.

orzo salad3

This light and refreshing orzo salad is the perfect summer dinner to me. I served it alongside one of our favorite marinated and grilled chicken recipes and the combination was absolutely killer.

The flavors are amazing – everything from fresh tomatoes to creamy feta. Fragrant basil to toasted pine nuts. It’s salads like this that make me forget to act like a lady (you know, racing everyone for the last remnants in the bowl and maybe, but not officially confirmed, throwing an elbow while I’m at it). A perfect way to use up those garden fresh tomatoes, this salad is packed with all the flavors I love. Plus, it’s really simple to make and tastes (and looks!) like a million bucks. That’s a winner in my book. Long live summer meals! (Thanks, Jennifer, for the recipe!)

orzo salad2

One Year Ago: Greek Chicken Pita Pockets {Slow Cooker}
Two Years Ago: The Best Zucchini Bread
Three Years Ago: Butter and Garlic Shrimp Penne

Fast and Fresh Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta

Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish

Fast and Fresh Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta

This salad, if refrigerated longer than an hour, will get a bit dry so if you want to make it in advance, consider increasing the dressing ingredients by half and reserving some of that dressing to pour over the salad right before serving (also, wait to add pine nuts right before serving).


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salad:
  • 12 ounces orzo pasta
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup arugula or baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted (heat them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often until golden)


  1. For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and oil. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. For the salad, cook the orzo in the chicken broth until tender according to package directions. Drain well but do not rinse. Let the pasta cool to room temperature, tossing often so it doesn't stick together (stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing if the pasta is overly sticky). Toss the cooled pasta with the tomatoes, chives or green onions, basil, and arugula or spinach.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle the feta and pine nuts over the top and toss lightly. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Jennifer J., an awesome MKC reader who sent me some fabulous recipes (decreased olive oil by a bit, altered orzo amounts so it wasn’t too heavy on the noodles, and a few other minor changes) – thanks, Jennifer!

39 Responses to Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta

  1. Kim in MD says:

    What a gorgeous pasta salad! I love orzo, and I love that this recipe calls for cooking the orzo in chicken broth for extra flavor. I have a party in Septwmber, and I am going to make this. I know everyone will go nuts for it! Have a great weekend, Mel!

  2. I absolutely adore this dish. I love orzo and always make it with fresh vegetables, I like that you used lemon juice and honey that is what I use all the time. Such a refreshing meal. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Definitely need to try this soon! Yum!

  4. Such a great easy recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  5. Oh I love salads like this! I could eat these all year long, they are such a great versatile side dish! Looks delicious!

  6. I have all of these ingredients right now and I just happened to be making my weekend menu as I saw this. Thanks Mel, we’ll be having this right away! 🙂

  7. bluebaker says:

    This looks so easy and cool.I really love the taste of pine nuts but they are so pricey in this area.I’m going to try this w/o the pine nuts and I think it will still be amazing. Our tomatoes are coming on late, so we can enjoy this into September.

  8. Bev says:

    Yum! Making this for supper with your lemon garlic marinated grilled chicken. Thanks!

  9. welp, I know what I’m making to accompany my chicken tonight. Seriously, all of the best things in one dish. So much love.

  10. Sue says:

    My family LOVES this recipe…we got it from Giada D. On fod network. Glad you are sharing here.

  11. Kristin says:

    LOVE all of your recipes! This looks so good – thanks for sharing them ALL!

  12. Michelle says:

    Mel, I saw this yesterday and added it to my son’s birthday dinner menu today! I LOVED it!! It was the first time I had ever eaten feta. I assumed I wouldn’t like it, but I was wrong… It is so fresh tasting and just delicious! I’ll certainly make this again! 🙂

  13. Jennifer G. says:

    I made this tonight with yellow and red cherry tomatoes from my garden as well as chives and basil from my herb garden. We had it as a light dinner since it is very warm tonight. I only made a 1/2 recipe as it was just my daughter and I. Now I wish I had made the entire recipe! Very tasty, will make again.

  14. Quick. Easy. Delicious! We had this for dinner tonight. I served it with some canned wild albacore tuna on the side drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and we LOVED it.

  15. Jamie says:

    We had this tonight for dinner with guests and everyone loved it! I didn’t plan very well and didn’t have as many tomatoes as I would have liked and I forgot to buy pine nuts, so I added some sauteed red onion, some fresh cooked corn, and some chopped pecans. The salad looked beautiful and tasted wonderful.

  16. Carrie says:

    I made this yesterday for a family dinner and it was great! Everyone loved it.

  17. Jenny J says:

    I’m so glad you liked this recipe! We seriously have this weekly. My favorite recipe I have!

  18. Abbie says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Amanda says:

    Made this pasta salad on Sunday for lunches this week, and my family LOVED it! Like LOOOOVED it. And bonus that we had almost all of the ingredients on hand or growing in our garden! Thanks Mel!

  20. Debbie says:

    made this for dinner last night with grilled chicken – divine! so so yummy! Even my kids liked it!

  21. I made this for dinner and loved it! Since we’re only two people, I’ve been loving the leftovers for lunch. Thanks for another great one 🙂

  22. Kristin says:

    just made this along with your kabobs – yum yum yum. Thanks Mel!

  23. Suzanne says:

    I originally thought this might be too plain or boring but I made it and was blown away with how delicious it is, we all LOVED it!

  24. marina hernandez says:

    First time my family taste orzo, and we loveeeed this recipe,
    it was the perfect side for our diner, in this hot night in tijuana.

  25. Mamalala says:

    This salad was to die for. Made with veggies and herbs from our garden, and served for a picnic lunch with lemon marinaded tuna on top. A regular now!

  26. Lien says:

    I made this today and it was spectacular! I added chopped cilantro, avocado, fresh parsley, cucumber, and used toasted sesame seeds instead of pine nuts in addition to the other ingredients. Oh my word was it delicious!

  27. Tracie Gusola says:

    This is my new fav! Love it. Took it to a neighbor’s dinner party and it was a hit. So I am making it tonight for my dinner event. Yum Yum Yumminie good!

  28. […] No Brasil, ela se encontra pelo nome de Risoni (como neste link). A receita que eu segui é do blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (só não coloquei o pinólis porque não achei que combinava). Na receita, a autora diz que a […]

  29. […] 14. Fast and Fresh Orzo Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  30. […] Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta (bringing to teacher appreciation lunch at Gabe’s Preschool) […]

  31. TJ says:

    Do you have nutrition info on “fast and fresh orzo salad with tomatoes, basil and feta”

    Calories n carbs????

    • Mel says:

      TJ – I don’t provide the nutritional info for the recipes but there are a lot of online calculators you can plug the recipe into. Good luck!

  32. TJ says:

    Anyone have nutrition info (calories n carbs) in “fast and Fresh Orzo salad with tomatoes, basil and feta”??


  33. Mark says:

    I wonder if prepare this recipe so I checked full nutritional info. Here are ESTIMATED data you are asking:
    Calories: 83 kcal / 100g or 372 kcal / serving (446g)
    Carbs: 5.83 g / 100g or 25.98 g / serving
    Protein: 2.43 g / 100g or 10.84 g / serving
    Fat: 5.83 g / 100g or 25.99 g / serving

    Source: http://happyforks.com/analyzer

    There are no orzo in HappyForks database, so I used macaroni instead. Is it allowed, Mel?

  34. Barbara says:

    I’d love this as is (well, minus the feta), but if Hubs ever figured out that orzo is pasta he would refuse to eat it. I love pasta salads of all kinds, but he won’t come to the table unless it is hot and covered in marinara sauce! Sooooo, I’m wondering how this might work with quinoa instead of orzo. He will eat quinoa happily, and I like it too, so I may give this a tryout. If he doesn’t like it, so much the better, ’cause there will be more for me! We have nearly perennial summer here in Florida, complete with a 12-month farm stand for locally grown tomatoes, so this works really well for me and my year-round flip flops! I’m also thinking lime instead of lemon……I’ll let you know!

  35. Stephanie says:

    I love this recipe and make it quite frequently along with grilled chicken. I came across a recipe for a Greek/Mediterranean-inspired quinoa “salad” and the ingredients and dressing were similar enough that it made me think of this recipe. So, for dinner tonight I made your Orzo Salad recipe, but used quinoa instead of the orzo, added chopped red onion, Kalamata olives, and diced grilled chicken (which I marinated similarly to your lemon chicken marinade), and it turned out amazing! So tasty and I feel like the quinoa base is more healthful than the Orzo. I’ll definitely be making both the quinoa version and your Orzo Salad recipe again. Thanks for the recipe!

  36. Stephanie says:

    LOL! Loved the comment about winter – I feel the same way – 9 months of cold, white hell! I will make this salad this weekend. Thanks for the recipe and love your blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *