This vegan Mediterranean orzo salad is easy to make in under 20 minutes for a delicious, flavourful dish that’s perfect for a light main or healthy side.

Overhead view of bowl of Mediterranean orzo salad with tomato, cucumber and olives.

Recipe Features

  • vegan, can be oil-free (gluten-free orzo is available if needed)
  • quick and easy to make in under 20 minutes
  • light, fresh and tangy featuring a Greek-inspired lemon herb vinaigrette
  • perfect recipe spring and summer and great for picnics and potlucks!

Ingredient Notes

Visual of ingredients needed for making an orzo salad labelled with text overlay.
  • orzo – any brand works, though note that it can sometimes be made with egg, so read the label if you need the recipe to be vegan or egg-free
  • tomatoes – cherry or grape tomatoes are best
  • chickpeas – canned is easy but cooked from scratched works too
  • olives – I used canned black olives but kalmata olives also work well
  • olive oil – optional for the dressing but I think it really works well in the salad, you can omit if you need the recipe to be oil-free

Complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the recipe card below.


Step by Step Instructions

Quick Note: If you plan to make the tofu feta, I’d suggest making it the day or a few hours before for the most flavour. If you’re short on time, 30 minutes is fine too so no worries if you didn’t plan ahead! It’s an optional ingredient either way.

Crumbled tofu in a small bowl with a spoon.

Step 1. Prepare the orzo according to package instructions, which should go something like this:

  • bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  • add the orzo and cook for 5-6 minutes until al dente then strain
  • for this recipe, rinse the orzo under cold water until cool
Large pot of cooked orzo.

Step 2. While the orzo is cooking, chop all the veggies and add them to a large mixing or salad bowl with the chickpeas. You’ll need:

  • cherry or grape tomatoes
  • garlic
  • cucumber
  • red onion
  • chickpeas
Chopped tomato, cucumber, olives, onion and chickpeas in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 3. Whisk the dressing ingredient together in a bowl This includes the lemon and lemon zest, dried herbs and olive oil, if using.

Can I make it without oil? Sure! I don’t use much oil in my kitchen but I love the olive oil in this recipe. It’s only 2 tbsp for the whole recipe so it’s not much. However, if you’d like the recipe to be oil-free, it’s totally ok to omit it.

Herb salad dressing mixed in a small bowl with fork.

Step 4. Add the cooked, cooled orzo and dressing to the veggies and chickpeas and mix well.

Mixed Mediterranean-style orzo salad with chickpeas and vegetables in a large pot.

Serve right away topped with an extra squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkle of tofu feta!

Overhead view of bowl of Mediterranean orzo salad with tomato, cucumber and olives.

FAQs

Can I make this with other pasta?

Sure! This would be tasty with any kind of short pasta shape like rotini, bows or macaroni or you can try my Greek pasta salad recipe.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

As written, no, it’s not gluten-free. Orzo is normally made with wheat but if you can find a gluten-free orzo like cassava orzo, then yes, you can make the recipe gluten-free.

How long does this keep?

You can store this salad in the fridge for up to 4 days. It actually holds up quite well! If you’re taking to a gathering, it’s fine out of the fridge for a few hours but try to keep it cool if possible.

What should I serve this with?

This can be enjoyed on its own as a main dish or as a side salad to my chickpea veggie burger, beet burger, grilled lemon tofu or any other main dish.

Close up of a bowl of Mediterranean orzo salad with tomato, cucumber and olives.
Print
Overhead view of bowl of Mediterranean orzo salad with tomato, cucumber and olives.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

A delicious orzo salad recipe featuring chickpeas, veggies and a fresh and flavourful lemon herb dressing! This tasty dish is lovely any time of year but wonderfully refreshing for a light main or side during the spring and summer months.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 400 g uncooked orzo (2.5 cups)
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion (55 g) 
  • 1.5 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes (225 g) 
  • 1 heaping cup diced cucumber, seeds removed (150 g) 
  • 1 19 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (540 ml, 2.5 cups) 
  • 1 6 oz can sliced black olives (200 ml)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (10 g)

For the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (60 ml)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, optional (30 g) 

For the Optional Tofu Feta 

  • 175 g firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed (approx. 1/2 cup crumbled)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. In a large pot cook orzo according to package instructions. 
  2. While the orzo is cooking, add the chickpeas and chopped vegetables to a large mixing bowl and mix throughly. 
  3. Use a citrus planer or fine grater to prepare the lemon zest from the peel of the lemon. If you don’t have a fine grater or planer, cut off some of the peel and very finely chop until you have 2 tbsp. Add the zest and the rest of the dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk together with a fork.
  4. Once the orzo is cooked, drain and rinse well with cold water until cooled.
  5. Mix with the chopped vegetables and dressing.
  6. Serve topped with a sprinkle of the tofu feta.

Notes

Tofu Feta: Press tofu for at least 20 minutes (see instructions on how to press tofu here). Crumble pressed tofu into a container and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle on salad when serving.

Storing: Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 189
  • Sodium: 194 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 5 g

Keywords: mediterranean orzo salad, vegan orzo salad