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4.88 from 8 votes

Lemony Orzo Salad

Lemony orzo salad is a light pasta salad loaded with vegetables and chickpeas dressed in a light lemony dressing. This tasty lemony orzo salad recipe is a great side salad, or an entree salad. Add tofu feta cheese for a summery dinner.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 426kcal

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces Uncooked Orzo Pasta or gluten-free orzo pasta
  • 15 ounces Chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • ½ English Cucumber diced
  • ½ Red Onion diced
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes cut in halves
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh mint chopped

Lemony Dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large lemon zested and juiced
  • 5 Tablespoons Tahini
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • ½ cup water

Tofu Feta Cheese (Optional)

Garnish

  • Fresh lemon slices

Instructions

Cooking the Orzo

  • Bring 6 cups of water and 3 Tablespoons salt (yes, 3 Tablespoons; don't worry, you rinse it off) to a boil.
  • Add 12 ounces of orzo pasta and stir.
  • Once boiling again, reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes.
  • Then, transfer the pasta to a colander and rinse with cold water, moving the pasta around to ensure all the pasta is cooled to room temperature and the salt is removed.
  • Shake any excess water out and place cooled pasta into a large bowl.
  • While the pasta cooks, chop the vegetables and blend the dressing.

Lemon Dressing

  • Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender.
  • Tip: Add the tahini last, so it doesn't stick in the bottom of the blender cup.
  • Blend until smooth

Tofu Feta Cheese

  • Crumble the tofu feta cheese and allow to cool before adding to the lemony orzo salad

Assembling the Salad

  • Add the chickpeas, chopped vegetables, and herbs to the orzo pasta.
  • Pour the dressing over the contents of the bowl.
  • Stir and cover.
  • Place them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Add crumbled tofu (optional).
  • Serve with a lemon slice as garnish.

Notes

  • Adding salt to pasta water gives each noodle a chance to absorb some salty taste as it cooks, enhancing the final dish's flavor.
  • Ensure the water is boiling before adding the orzo, stir to combine, and reduce the heat to simmer.
  • Orzo takes 8 minutes to cook al dente, so set a timer. Overcooked pasta is soggy and mushy, and no one likes soggy pasta.
  • Running cold water over cooked pasta in a colander stops the pasta from cooking and cools it quickly for a quick and easy cold pasta salad.
  • Make the dressing first and refrigerate while the pasta cooks, allowing it to chill.
  • Allow this lemony orzo pasta recipe to be served cold; it can also be served warm.
  • For variety, consider roasting the vegetables instead of adding them to the salad raw.
  • Dress the salad beforehand and allow the flavors to develop in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 564mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 592IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg