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Orzo pasta salad in a bowl with a spoon.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

For a fresh twist on pasta salad, try my easy make-ahead Mediterranean Orzo Salad. It's packed with delicious roasted vegetables and is one of my favorite grab-and-go lunch ideas.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 servings (1 cup each)
Calories 255kcal


  • 3 bell peppers diced (preferably 1 each red, orange, and yellow, see note 1)
  • 12 asparagus spears ends trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 8 ounces orzo pasta uncooked (see note 2)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 ounces chicken broth (see note 3)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice from 2-3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves chiffonade
  • 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled (see note 4)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine bell peppers, asparagus, and tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast until softened, about 25 minutes. Return to the large bowl. 
  • Meanwhile, add pine nuts to a small dry skillet. Toast over the lowest possible heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium (3.5 quart or larger) saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Add orzo and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until all liquid has been absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon zest and juice and transfer to the bowl with the vegetables. Cool to room temperature.
  • Add basil, feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.


  1. Bell peppers: I love the color and flavor variation that results with a mix of red, orange, and yellow. If you prefer, stick with three peppers of one color.
  2. Orzo: This small cut of pasta looks a bit like supersized grains of rice. It's perfect for this recipe because we cook it pilaf-style, which basically means toasting it lightly in oil. Israeli couscous is a terrific substitute if you can't find orzo.
  3. Chicken broth: A portion of a store-bought carton or can or 1 1/2 cups of homemade chicken broth; either works well. Swap in vegetable stock to make this pasta salad a vegetarian recipe.
  4. Feta cheese: The salty, slightly tangy quality of this crumbly cheese plays nicely with the other pasta salad elements. Goat cheese is a nice alternative.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 10 (1-cup) servings of orzo and vegetables, ideal to enjoy as a side dish.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 383mg | Potassium: 377mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1429IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 2mg