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Bowl and serving utensils with 15-Minute Orzo Pasta Salad

15-Minute Orzo Pasta Salad

  • Author: Michal Martinek
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Cuisine: American


Quick salad made with tiny orzo pasta and Greek-inspired ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, bell peppers, feta cheese, and fresh mint. Dressed with vibrant, lemon-honey salad dressing.


  • 1 cup (170 g) dry orzo pasta
  • 1½ cup (190 g) diced Persian or English cucumber (halved, quartered, 1/4″ dice; about 3 medium Persian cucumbers, or ½ English cucumber)
  • 1 cup (140 g) cherry or sugar plum grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (140 g) diced orange, yellow, red, or green bell pepper; stemmed (1/4” dice, about 1 pepper)
  • 1 cup (130 g) diced whole feta cheese (1/4” dice)
  • ¾ cup (85 g) small, pitted Niçoise olives
  • ¼ cup (30 g) finely chopped, peeled red onion
  • ¼ cup (5 g) finely chopped fresh mint (leaves only)
  • Salad Dressing
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon) – zest the lemon first, then cut in half, and juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large, covered, pot, bring 2 quarts (2 liters) of water to a boil over high heat. Remove the lid, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and the orzo pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8–10 minutes.
  2. Strain the pasta in a sieve. Rinse under cold running water until no longer hot. Drain well, shaking out any excess water, and place in a large bowl.
  3. (To save time, you can prep the other ingredients while the pasta is cooking).
  4. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl with the cooked orzo.
  5. Prepare the salad dressing by combining the oil, lemon juice, honey, lemon zest, and salt in a small jar. Secure with a lid and vigorously shake, until the dressing emulsifies. (You can also whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified).
  6. Add all the dressing to the bowl and toss until combined.
  7. Serve the salad at room temperature—too cold, straight from the fridge will make the flavors dull.
  8. Store covered and refrigerated, for up to three days. Bring to a room temperature before serving.