This Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad is the ultimate summer side dish, and it’s perfect for barbecues and picnics! It’s packed with summer vegetables, creamy feta cheese and fresh basil, and it’s tossed in a bright, refreshing lemon vinaigrette!

Lemon orzo pasta salad in a white bowl with basil on top

When it comes to summer side dishes, you can’t beat pasta salad. It’s so easy to customize with whatever type of pasta and ingredients that you have on hand, and it always pleases a crowd.

Orzo happens to be my favorite pasta to use. It’s light and tender and doesn’t weigh me down the way a lot of pasta can.

My Greek orzo salad is a family favorite, but this Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad just screams summer. It’s packed with juicy cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, fresh basil and feta cheese.

It’s tossed in my zippy lemon salad dressing for a side dish that everyone will love. ๐Ÿ™‚

Orzo pasta salad in a bowl with linen alongside

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This orzo pasta salad recipe is packed with the best summer veggies, creamy feta cheese, fresh basil and a tangy, bright lemon dressing that brings it all together.
  • It’s an easy summer side dish that’s guaranteed to please a crowd.
  • It may be made a few hours in advance, so it’s perfect for barbecues and picnics.
  • This recipe may be customized with your favorite veggies, herbs and dressing.
  • The feta cheese may be omitted to make this recipe vegan.

Recipe ingredients

This lemon orzo pasta salad recipe is easy to customize using your favorite vegetables. Fresh, frozen, canned or leftover cooked vegetables all work.

Pasta salad is one of the best pantry recipes, so feel free to rummage through your pantry if you don’t have any of these specific ingredients on hand. Any type of pasta will do, as well as shelf stable ingredients like salad dressing, olives, artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, beans and so much more!

Orzo pasta salad recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Orzo. Orzo is small rice-shaped pasta. With a little searching you can find whole wheat and gluten-free varieties if your interested. If you don’t have orzo on hand, any type of pasta will do.
  • Cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes may be substituted with chopped, seeded regular tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes in a pinch.
  • Corn. Any type of cooked corn works in this recipe. You can use grilled corn on the cob, air fryer corn on the cob, boiled corn or frozen cooked corn.
  • Zucchini. Chopped raw zucchini may be used, or toss in roasted zucchini or check out my post on grilled vegetables to find out how to grill zucchini. Zucchini may also be substituted with cucumber.
  • Fresh basil. The fresh basil adds plenty of summer flair. If you don’t have any on hand, substitute with chopped parsley or your favorite herbs. For best results, chop the basil just before serving as it will turn black.
  • Feta cheese. The feta cheese adds a creamy, salty element to the orzo pasta salad. It may be substituted with mozzarella balls, goat cheese, parmesan or omitted altogether to make this recipe vegan.
  • Lemon vinaigrette. My lemon vinaigrette is fresh and tangy, and brightens all of the flavors of this pasta salad. Use your favorite store bought variety, or try my homemade Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette dressing if you prefer.

How to make this recipe

This orzo pasta salad is extremely easy to make, and easily customized with your favorite pasta, veggies, cheese and dressing.

Pro tip: Prepare the veggies and dressing in advance to make prep even quicker! If you’re using cooked corn and zucchini, they can be prepped up to 2 days in advance.

How to make orzo pasta salad collage pin
  1. Cook the orzo according to package instructions, then place in a colander. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and drain well and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss with enough dressing to coat.
Orzo pasta salad in a bowl with corn, cherry tomatoes and basil

FAQs

Can I prepare this recipe in advance?

The veggies and dressing for this orzo pasta salad may be prepared in advance to make prep even quicker. For best results, don’t prepare pasta salad more than a few hours in advance as the pasta will absorb the dressing and the veggies can become mushy depending on what you use.

Are there different kinds of orzo?

Yes, orzo pasta comes in traditional, whole wheat and even gluten-free varieties.

Is orzo eaten hot or cold?

Like all pasta, orzo may be eaten hot or cold. It can be served as a main dish or side dish and is great in pasta salads.

Should you rinse pasta for pasta salad?

Always rinse pasta for pasta salad. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then place it in a colander and rinse with cold running water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta down. Drain well and toss with the other ingredients and dressing.

How long will pasta salad last in the fridge?

Pasta salad will keep for up to 3 days in an air tight container in the refrigerator, however it will dry out a bit as the pasta will absorb the dressing. Simply toss with a bit more dressing before serving.

What to serve with this recipe

Lemon orzo pasta salad makes a great lunch, or is the perfect accompaniment for any meal. It’s great for picnics, cookouts and pot lucks!

I love serving this recipe with the following summer dishes:

For more recipe inspiration, check out all of my summer recipes.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: Prepare the veggies and dressing in advance to make prep even quicker! If you’re using cooked corn and zucchini, they can be prepped up to 2 days in advance.
  • Frozen corn may be used as a time saver.
  • This recipe may be customized using your favorite veggies, cheese and herbs!
  • Leftover orzo pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 3-5 days. The pasta will absorb the dressing, so feel free to toss in a bit more before serving.
Summer orzo pasta salad in a bowl with a spoon nestled inside

More summer side dishes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe Iโ€™d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Lemon orzo pasta salad in a white bowl with basil on top

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad is summer in a bowl! It's brimming with summer vegetables, basil, creamy feta cheese and it's tossed in a fresh, tangy lemon salad dressing!
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Ingredients

Instructions 

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Place in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Once drained, place in a large serving bowl.
  • Add the grilled zucchini, corn, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and basil to the orzo pasta. Toss with the desired amount of lemon vinaigrette and toss well to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip: Prepare the veggies and dressing in advance to make prep even quicker! If you’re using cooked corn and zucchini, they can be prepped up to 2 days in advance.
  • Frozen corn may be used as a time saver.
  • This recipe may be customized using your favorite veggies, cheese and herbs!
  • Leftover orzo pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 3 days. The pasta will absorb the dressing, so feel free to toss in a bit more before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 123kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 59mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

**This recipe was originally published in July 2015. I’ve modified the recipe, added additional text to make this post more informative, and updated the photos.

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