This lemon orzo salad is an easy side dish that you can make with only 8 ingredients! It's full of bright lemony flavor from lemon juice and lemon zest. This is a great summer side for barbecues and picnics!
- 12 ounces (340 g) orzo pasta
- 2/3 cup (80 g) chopped red onion (about 1/2 medium red onion)
- 1 cup (36 g) chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 cups (225 g) grape tomatoes (see note 1)
- 2/3 cup (156 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) lemon juice (from about 2 - 3 lemons, see note 2)
- 2 teaspoons (4 g) finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons (6 g) kosher salt (see note 3)
- 8 ounces (227 g) feta cheese
- Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove. While the pasta water is coming to a boil (and while the pasta is cooking), continue with the remaining steps:
- Prep the vegetables: chop the onion and parsley, and cut the grape tomatoes in half.
- Make the lemon dressing: finely zest the lemons and measure out 2 teaspoons of the zest. Place the lemon zest into a large bowl. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze out 1/2 cup (118 ml) of juice. Add the juice to the bowl. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and kosher salt to the bowl. Whisk the dressing together, set aside.
- When the pasta water begins to boil, add a large pinch of salt. Then, add the pasta and stir. Cook according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta into a colander and rinse it well under cold water. Shake off any excess moisture from the pasta.
- Add the drained, rinsed pasta to the bowl with the lemon dressing.
- Add the chopped onion, parsley, and tomatoes to the bowl. Stir the ingredients together to combine them evenly with the dressing.
- Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl and gently stir to combine.
- Taste the salad and sprinkle in more kosher salt and/or lemon juice if desired.
- Serve immediately, or, for best flavor, cover the orzo salad and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours.
You can also substitute cherry tomatoes for the grape tomatoes. If using cherry tomatoes, cut each one into quarters rather than halves.
The lemon flavor in the dressing is bold, perfect for anyone who loves tangy flavor! But, if you prefer a more subtle lemon flavor, you can reduce the amount of lemon in the dressing. Then, when you taste the finished salad you can add more to taste.
I used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for this recipe, which is lighter and flakier than Morton Kosher salt. To substitute Morton Kosher salt or regular table salt, use only 1 1/4 teaspoons in the dressing. Or, go by the weight measurement (6 g).
If the orzo is ready before all of the remaining steps are finished, drain the pasta, rinse it well under cold water, and set it aside until ready to use.
This salad tastes the best when eaten the day it is made. However, any leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, and will last for 3 - 4 days.
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator; the nutrition counts of your dish will vary based on the brand and exact amounts of ingredients used. This nutrition estimate should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
- Calories: 376
- Sugar: 3.8 g
- Sodium: 660 mg
- Fat: 21.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.9 g
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Protein: 10.2 g
- Cholesterol: 10 mg
Keywords: orzo salad, lemon orzo salad