Why we love this lemon orzo salad recipe
- Cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Summer produce that we can’t get enough of, and if we can manage to grow them at home, they’re even better.
- We serve ours we the feta on the side so we can both – dairy free for him and regular for me. It’s an easy way to cater to a variety of needs and still get the same great flavor. Don’t want to use feta? Try salty, briny kalamata olives or some capers instead.
- This salad is great to prep ahead of time and travels really well, making it perfect for all those summer get togethers you still have on your calendar.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it
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Ingredients & Substitutions
- Shallots – I’ve made this salad with shallots and red onion. Both work, but I prefer the mellow flavor of shallots. If you don’t have them, swap any onion you want.
- Cucumber – you could swap zucchini for the cucumber and it would be a really delicious way to use up your grown harvest.
- Basil – if you don’t have basil, you can substitute another herb like mint, cilantro or even chives. Really any combination of herbs will work, too. We just happen to like the basil best.
How to make lemon orzo salad
Prep the veggies. Chop your cucumbers, tomatoes and shallots. Then finely chop the basil. This can be done a day in advance. Just store the veggies and herbs separately to prevent them from getting soggy.
Cook the orzo. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.
Make your dressing. Combine the lemon juice and zest, vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.
If you’re not serving the salad immediately, hold off on adding the dressing to the salad. You could also just add a tiny bit of the dressing for now (about 2 tablespoons) to prevent the orzo from clumping, then add the remaining dressing just before serving.
Assemble the salad. When the pasta is drained and cool, add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped veggies and basil to the bowl. Pour in the dressing and stir until the salad is evenly coated. If you need to, adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.
* Dairy free recipe tip
Top your salad with dairy free feta. Or don’t. The salad is good with or without the addition of feta. We like to serve ours on the side, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the feta, try sliced olives, capers or even toasted sliced almonds.
FAQs about lemon orzo salad
Even though it looks similar to rice when cooked, orzo is a pasta made from wheat or semolina flour. This means it contains gluten and wheat.
While it’s commonly used in Greek cuisine, orzo pasta originated in Italy. This rice shaped pasta is often used in a variety Greek dishes like soups, salads, pilafs, and casseroles.
More pasta salad recipes you will love
- Dill pickle pasta salad
- Pesto pasta salad recipe
- Dairy free BLT pasta salad
- Roasted vegetable pasta salad
More dairy free lemon recipes to try
- Lemon rosemary olive oil cookies
- Caramelized shallot pasta
- Rose lemonade
- Lemon rosemary broiled chicken breast
For the salad:
- 1 1-pound package orzo
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced
- 1/4 cup diced shallots
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
For the dressing:
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/4 cup juiced)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add the cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl along with the vegetables and dressing. Stir until evenly coated in dressing.
- Before serving, adjust seasoning to taste with salt & pepper.
- Category: Salads
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian/American
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 295
- Sugar: 4.3 g
- Sodium: 298 mg
- Fat: 8.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 48.4 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Protein: 8.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: lemon orzo salad, lemon pasta salad, orzo pasta salad, orzo salad, lemon orzo pasta salad, dairy free pasta salad, dairy free orzo salad, dairy free lemon pasta salad
Published: July 18, 2022. Updated: June 26, 2023.
This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I will never recommend a product I don’t use or trust.