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Arugula Orzo Salad

Arugula Orzo Salad is a light salad that mixes together orzo with peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, creamy feta cheese, fresh basil and is mixed with a Greek style dressing. This salad is the perfect addition to a meal or can be a meal on its own. Pair it with grilled salmon, chicken, steak, shrimp or tofu! 

Arugula Orzo Salad with wooden spoons.

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ARUGULA ORZO SALAD 

Two favorite salads on my site are this Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and this Summer Orzo Salad. 

Today’s Arugula Orzo Salad is a combination of those two favorites. 

I love today’s salad because it is so light but also filling.

It is a really easy salad to put together and great for a crowd. 

I suggest if you are bringing this salad to a get together that you wait to put salad dressing on it until you are ready to serve it. 

This Arugula Orzo Salad mixes together orzo, peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, fresh basil and is topped with a Greek style dressing. 

It is also very customizable depending on what you have on hand for example you can add things like chickpeas, white beans, additional fresh vegetables, artichokes or olives.

In my house I make a lot of orzo recipes so I knew this one would be a hit.

Some other orzo recipes we enjoy are this Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Recipe, Tomato Feta Orzo Salad, Greek Orzo Pasta Salad, Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, One Pot Creamy Tomato Herb Orzo and this 4 Ingredient Cheesy Orzo Recipe

Arugula Orzo Salad with wooden spoons.

WHY I LOVE THIS ARUGULA ORZO SALAD:

GREAT AS A SIDE DISH OR A MEAL: This salad is the perfect side dish to any meal but also makes a nice meal itself. When I serve this salad as a meal I like to add grilled salmon, Greek chicken, shrimp, steak or tofu. It really is a great base for so many proteins. 

NICE FOR A CROWD: If you are looking to feed a crowd with a nice, hearty salad this is the answer! I love taking salads like this to parties, bbqs or pool parties. It is so light, fresh and large enough to feed a crowd. {If you are brining it with you I would wait and toss the dressing into the salad when you are arrive so the arugula doesn’t get too soft and wilted. }

USE UP YOUR SUMMER VEGGIES: When I have an abundance of garden veggies I love to make this salad. I add tomatoes and cucumbers along with fresh basil but you could add any veggies you have on hand. 

Arugula Orzo Salad ingredients.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS ARUGULA SALAD?

ORZO: The orzo could be substituted with another variety of short pasta.

ARUGULA: The arugula could be substituted with fresh baby spinach leaves.

CUCUMBER: Use your preferred variety of cucumber.  The cucumber in this recipe was halved lengthways, then sliced into half moons.

CHERRY TOMATOES: If cherry tomatoes are not available, substitute with chopped large tomatoes.

FETA: Greek feta was used in this recipe because of its crumbly texture, however any variety of soft cheese can be used.

RED ONION: Thinly sliced red onion was used in this salad, which could be substituted with thinly sliced green onions.

BASIL: The fresh basil could be substituted with fresh parsley or mint leaves, or omitted all together.

Arugula Orzo Salad dressing in a container.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SALAD DRESSING: 

OLIVE OIL: Use a good quality olive oil, or your preferred salad dressing oil.

RED WINE VINEGAR: The red wine vinegar could be substituted with balsamic or white wine vinegar.

LEMON JUICE: Fresh lemon juice tastes best in the salad dressing, however if fresh lemon isn’t available bottled lemon juice could instead be used.

DIJON MUSTARD: You can skip this if you want but I really like the flavor it adds to salad dressings. 

GARLIC: Use a fresh garlic clove, or substitute with 1 teaspoon of minced jar garlic.

DRIED OREGANO: It’s best to not substitute or omit the dried oregano to give the dressing an authentic Greek style flavor.

Arugula Orzo Salad white plates with salad.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS ARUGULA ORZO SALAD?

COOK THE ORZO: Cook the orzo according to packet directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water until cooled. Set aside.

CREATE THE SALAD DRESSING: To make the dressing, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl.

Whisk with a fork or small whisk until well combined. Taste and add more spices to your liking.

Arugula Orzo Salad salad dressing in a bowl.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: To assemble the salad, add the cooked and cooled orzo, arugula, chopped cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, sliced onion and basil leaves to a large mixing bowl. Gently toss.

Arugula Orzo Salad ingredients in a bowl.

MIX THE DRESSING INTO THE SALAD: Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix gently until everything is well combined and coated in the dressing.

Transfer the salad to a large salad bowl to serve.

Arugula Orzo Salad in a wooden bowl.

WAYS TO MODIFY THIS ARUGULA ORZO SALAD

CHEESE: I love adding feta to this salad but goat cheese would also be a nice option or shaved Parmesan cheese. 

BEANS: Beans are another great addition. Try white beans, chickpeas or black beans. 

PROTEIN: I also really enjoy adding protein to salads for a more filling salad. Grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, tofu are excellent choices. 

VEGETABLES: If you like salads loaded with veggies you can easily add any vegetables you have on hand to this salad. Try bell peppers, zucchini, radish, carrots or celery. 

ROASTED VEGETABLES: Roast vegetables like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, or sweet potatoes for added flavor and warmth.

OLIVES: I am a big fan of olives and love them in salads. Try adding kalamata or green olives.

DRESSING: Experiment with different dressings. A balsamic vinaigrette, lemon-honey dressing, or a tangy mustard-based dressing can work well.

GRAINS: You can leave out the orzo and add a grain or you could use both the orzo and a grain. Some grain additions I like are quinoa, couscous, farro, or bulgur can be cooked and cooled before adding to the salad, providing additional texture and nutrients.

AVOCADO: Sliced or cubed avocado adds creaminess and healthy fats.

SEEDS & NUTS: I love adding pine nuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, sliced almonds or walnuts. 

Arugula Orzo Salad on white plate.

OTHER SALAD RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE: 

MEDITERRANEAN FARRO SALAD

CRISPY CUCUMBER SALAD

EASY TOMATO SALAD

MEDITERRANEAN ZUCCHINI SALAD

MEDITERRANEAN WHITE BEAN SALAD

MEDITERRANEAN EGGPLANT SALAD 

PERSIAN TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD

Arugula Orzo Salad with logo.

Arugula Orzo Salad with wooden spoons.

Arugula Orzo Salad

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Arugula Orzo Salad is a light salad that mixes together orzo with peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, creamy feta cheese, fresh basil and is mixed with a Greek style dressing. This salad is the perfect addition to a meal or can be a meal on its own. Pair it with grilled salmon, chicken, steak, shrimp or tofu! 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta {try whole wheat for a healthier version}, cooked according to package
  • 4 cups arugula, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

    1. Cook the orzo according to packet directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water until cooled. Set aside.
    2. To make the dressing, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl. Whisk with a fork or small whisk until well combined. Taste and add more spices to your liking.
    3. To assemble the salad, add the cooked and cooled orzo, arugula, chopped cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, sliced onion and basil leaves to a large mixing bowl. Gently toss.
    4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix gently until everything is well combined and coated in the dressing.
    5. Transfer the salad to a large salad bowl to serve.

Notes

The cooked orzo can be left to cool on its own, however rinsing it under cold water will cool it far quicker. The cooked orzo could also be spread on a large baking sheet to cool.

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