Soups/Salads

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

For a fun twist on pasta salad, you have to try my Italian Orzo Pasta Salad! It’s made with orzo pasta so you get a perfect bite in every spoonful, along with deli pepperoni, freshly chopped veggies, and feta cheese. To top it off – everything is marinated in a zesty Italian dressing!

A spoon scooping a portion of Italian Orzo Pasta Salad with the remaining in a wooden bowl.

The 2nd installment of my Summer Salads series packs a powerful flavor punch. Italian Orzo Pasta Salad is a great choice when you want something just a little bit different from your standard pasta salad! Plus, everybody loves the classic combo of orzo and feta, right?


Ingredients

  • Orzo PastaOrzo is a small, almost rice-shaped pasta that falls in the pastini category. It holds well in pasta salads, and works great with other finely chopped ingredients.
  • English Cucumber I love English cucumbers (the thinner, longer ones at your local grocery) because they have a slightly sweeter taste and smaller seeds, so it’s less watery.
  • Red Onion – I mention it below, but a trick to taming that kick of red onion flavor? Soak them in water for a few minutes before using!
  • Artichoke Hearts – I honestly just had some artichoke hearts in a jar to use up, but I’m really glad I added them into this recipe. They work perfectly!
  • Castelvetrano olives – I’m normally not much of an olive girl, but these green olives are SO good! Perfectly marinated, they bring a salty/savory goodness to this salad.
  • Deli Pepperoni – I specify the thinly-sliced, deli kind because I don’t want you to accidentally grab the kind you use on pizza! You can also substitute for salami.
  • Feta Cheese – Feta’s savory, cheesy notes lend so well to the overall flavor of orzo pasta salad. Feel free to use a heavier hand!
  • Italian Dressing – Whether you have a favorite brand or make your own, Italian dressing is going to provide much-needed moisture and round everything up.

How to Make Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

This recipe is mainly boiling the orzo and chopping your veggies and meat. So you can have an entire meal ready in less than 20 minutes. How easy!

  1. First, we want to cook the orzo pasta to al dente. I usually do 8 minutes, but be sure to follow your box’s instructions.
  2. Once the pasta is done, immediately drain the orzo and then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set that aside.
  3. Chop up your English cucumber, artichoke hearts, and red onion. This is where you can soak your red onion to get rid of that harsh bite – if you don’t like it!
  4. Slice your pepperoni into thin ribbons. The goal is to make everything a similar size so you have an easy bite.
  5. Finally, add the orzo, your veggies, and the sliced pepperoni to a large salad bowl.
  6. Season with salt and dried oregano.
  7. Toss, pour the Italian dressing on top, and toss once more. That’s it!

You can serve immediately, or make this up to a day in advance. Like most pasta salads, it only gets better in the fridge as the flavors marinate!


A closeup shot of Italian Orzo Pasta Salad with pepperoni, olives, orzo, red onion, feta cheese, and Italian dressing.


Coined Cuisine’s Summer Salad Series

Every year, I try to do a miniseries that’s geared towards the current season to give inspiration and ideas on fun kitchen projects. To catch up on those you’ve missed, try my Popsicle series or Puff Pastry series from prior years.

This summer, it’s all about my Summer Salads! That’s gonna be delicious, summery side dishes that you can bring to the cookout or enjoy at your own backyard BBQ. I’ll continue to update this post with the recipe links as they drop, so it’s easy to navigate throughout them all.


Other Pasta Recipes You’ll Love!

High-Protein Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Seafood Stuffed Shells

Chicken Tetrazzini (Creamy Chicken Spaghetti)

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells

Jerk Chicken Alfredo

 
A large serving of Italian Orzo Pasta Salad in a wooden bowl with Italian dressing on the side.

Italian Orzo Pasta Salad

Shani W.
Perfect for summer cookouts, Italian Orzo Pasta Salad is a perfect myriad of flavors that will have everyone asking for more! Made with salty, savory pepperoni, tender orzo pasta, green olives, red onion, and feta – it's really so delicious!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. orzo pasta
  • ½ ct. English cucumber
  • 1 oz. red onion chopped
  • 2 oz. artichoke hearts chopped
  • 2 ½ oz. pitted castelvetrano olives chopped
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced deli pepperoni julienned
  • 8 oz. feta cheese crumbles
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ cup Italian dressing

Instructions
 

  • Start out by cooking your orzo according to package directions. I recommend cooking in a rolling boil for 7-8 minutes to get it al dente.
  • Immediately drain your pasta and run cool water over it to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Dice your cucumber, red onion, and artichoke hearts into small cubes.
    Tip: soak your red onion pieces in cold water for a few minutes to remove that harsh flavor.
  • Halve the olives, and slice the deli pepperoni into short ribbons.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, all of your veggies, the pepperoni, and the feta cheese crumbles.
  • Sprinkle the salt and dried oregano on top of the entire bowl. Using two spoons, mix well until everything is combined.
  • Finally, pour the Italian dressing on top and mix once more so every bite is covered.
  • You can serve as is, or store in the fridge for up to 24 hours so the flavors can really marinate. Enjoy!
Keyword Italian Orzo Pasta Salad, Italian Orzo Salad, Pasta Salad

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A large serving of Italian Orzo Pasta Salad in a wooden bowl with Italian dressing on the side.

The Coined Breakdown

  • Total Cost per serving: $0.53
  • Total Cost (8 servings): $4.23
  • Those Other Guys: $12.99 per serving

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