Close up photo of a serving bowl of Mediterranean Orzo Salad

The kids and I have been watching Luca on repeat and I’m letting the movie’s Italian Riveria setting take me AWAY! Is it weird that a plate of animated pasta can make me drool?

Don’t answer that question.

Anyway, the seaside village where the story takes place reminds me so much of the town Ben and I stayed in during our Amalfi Coast adventure exactly 14 lifetimes ago, with ancient stone steps, crashing coast lines, and fig, lemon, and olive trees dripping with ripe fruit. Literally Ben almost got nailed in the head by a lemon dropping off a tree in the courtyard of our hotel.

The memory (of Italy, not the head injury) inspired me to share this gorgeous side dish recipe that’s filled with the flavors of the Mediterranean – Mediterranean Orzo Salad!

overhead photo of a serving bowl of Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This simple yet memorable orzo-based side dish recipe is packed with fresh and zesty flavors from tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, capers, and fresh parsley, dressed in a zingy Lemon Dressing. It’s great warm or cold and perfect for serving with a grilled dinner, or taking to a cookout, party, or potluck. Honestly I would just plan on doubling the recipe because you’ll eat half of it out of the mixing bowl – it is so, so good. Simple yet incredible. Let’s do this!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad in a wooden serving bowl

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How to Make Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Start by cooking gluten free orzo (or regular orzo if you don’t need to eat GF) in salted, boiling water until al dente then drain and cool slightly.

Orzo is pasta that looks like rice and is so much fun to use in soups and side dishes like this one. I’ve actually never found gluten free orzo in the grocery store, so I order mine online.

gluten free orzo pasta in a bag

While the pasta is cooking, add all the Mediterranean-inspired toppings into a mixing bowl. We’ve got:

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Kalamata Olives (Mezzetta brand is GF)
  • Capers (Mezzetta brand is GF)
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Chopped parsley

mixing bowl with ingredients for mediterranean orzo salad

Next, shake up the bright and tangy Lemon Dressing that will dress the orzo salad. To a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, add fresh lemon juice, garlic, honey, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper then shake to combine.

homemade lemon dressing in a mason jar

Lastly, add the slightly cooled orzo to the mixing bowl then drizzle with enough dressing to coat and stir to combine. You can absolutely eat this orzo salad warm – it’s actually reeeeally delicious this way! – but I usually stick it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to give all the flavors a chance to meld.

lemon dressing being poured over the ingredients for mediterranean orzo salad

That’s all she wrote! This easy pasta salad recipe is not only absolutely gorgeous but absolutely DELICIOUS! I know you’ll just gobble it up. Enjoy, enjoy!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad in a serving bowl with fresh parsley

More Fresh Side Dish Recipes

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

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Description

Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a simple vegetarian side dish recipe that's packed with fresh and zesty flavors.

Ingredients

serves 4-6 as a side

  • 6oz dry gluten free or regular orzo pasta
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten free capers, drained
  • For the Lemon Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 clove garlic, microplaned or finely minced
    • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Boil pasta according to package directions then drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. For the Lemon Dressing: combine ingredients in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine. Alternatively, you can add lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and garlic to a food processor then process while slowly drizzling in olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Add slightly cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl with tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, parsley, and capers. Drizzle on enough dressing to coat then toss to combine. Chill for 10-15 minutes before serving then add additional dressing if desired.

Notes

  • This recipe was updated on 6/25/21. The original version had 1-1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes so feel free to add more to this updated recipe to your liking.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Video

photo collage of mediterranean orzo salad