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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This Mediterranean Pasta Salad is perfect for your next cookout, backyard BBQ or meal-prep for the week. Your favorite Mediterranean inspired ingredients are mixed together to create a hearty, delicious orzo pasta salad. It mixes together fresh veggies, roasted red peppers, spinach, olives, orzo pasta, feta cheese, fresh herbs and a zesty Greek dressing to create the perfect summer side!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad in a white bowl

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MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD

By now you probably know my love for orzo pasta salads.

Along with my love for any sort of mediterranean flavors.

Today’s salad is the marriage of both of those and it is hands down one of my favorites.

I know some of you might be ready to scroll past this recipe because of the olives, but you can easily leaves those out and it still tastes great!

I personally love the salty olives!

This easy mediterranean pasta salad mixes orzo with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, roasted red peppers, red onion, kalamata olives, Castelvetrano olives, fresh herbs, creamy feta cheese and a Greek dressing.

The pairing of all of those flavors is just so good.

It would be perfect to bring to a backyard barbecue, summer parties, a picnic or make it for meal-prep and eat it for lunches or dinners. Nothing beats a cold pasta salad on a hot day.

If you like orzo pasta salads you also have to try my Summer Orzo Pasta Salad, Greek Orzo Pasta Salad, Caprese Orzo Salad or my Mexican Street Corn Orzo Salad.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • orzo: I love using orzo in pasta salads but you can honestly use any pasta you like. I find the small to medium sized works best. If you want a healthier version try whole wheat orzo or you can use gluten-free if you need to.
  • spinach: fresh baby spinach is added to this salad to add nutrition and color. If you don’t like greens in your pasta salad, leave it out or you could use arugula. You can chop the spinach if you don’t want the large leaves in the salad.
  • vegetables: vegetables add crunch and nutrition to the salad. I added english cucumber, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes and red onion. This salad works great with almost any veggies you have on hand.
  • olives: in my house we love olives. I added kalamata olives and Castelvetrano green olives but you could leave them out or use a different variety of olives if you want like black olives.
  • cheese: creamy feta cheese is a great addition to Mediterranean style pasta salads. If you can find a block of feta and crumble it yourself that is an even better option. Goat cheese also works nicely in this salad.
  • fresh herbs: fresh basil, mint and fresh parsley add great flavor to salads. I would try not to use dried herbs unless you absolutely have to. The fresh herbs add so much flavor and freshness to the salad. I would not substitute dry herbs here unless absolutely necessary.
  • olive oil: extra virgin olive oil is always my go-to in homemade salad dressings. I suggest using the best one you can for that robust, earthy flavor. If your salad sits in the fridge I suggest adding in another few drizzles of olive oil before serving.
  • red wine vinegar: the red wine vinegar compliments the olive oil to create that Greek dressing we all love. You could use white wine vinegar if that is what you have.
  • garlic: fresh garlic is one of my favorite additions to a fresh salad dressing. If you don’t have fresh garlic you can use garlic powder.
  • honey dijon mustard: the mustard adds a little zest to the dressing but isn’t necessary if you want to skip it.
  • lemon juice: the citrus from the lemon juice balances out the olive oil and red wine vinegar. It goes great in this salad! Once again I suggest fresh lemon juice but if you only have bottled that is fine.
  • honey: the sweetness of the honey offsets the sourness of the lemon juice.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with spoon

How Do You Make a Mediterranean Pasta Salad?

1. COOK ORZO: Cook the orzo according to the package to al dente. Remove, drain and rinse under cold water too keep it from cooking any longer. Drain the water completely and set aside.

2. MIX TOGETHER THE SALAD INGREDIENTS: In a large mixing bowl add the spinach, roasted red pepper, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, Castelvetrano green olives, basil, mint and parsley and mix well.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

3. CREATE THE DRESSING: In a mason jar or salad dressing container mix together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad dressing being made

4. ADD ORZO: Add the orzo to the large bowl with the salad ingredients and mix well.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad orzo in the bowl

5. ADD DRESSING: Pour half of the dressing over the salad and mix well. Taste and add more dressing to your liking or save the remaining dressing for when you serve the salad.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad dressing being poured

6. ADD CHEESE: Add in the feta cheese and gently too.

7. REFRIGERATE: Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. When you are ready to eat taste the salad and add the remaining salad dressing. Gently toss.

8. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad will last up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad with wooden spoon

Recipe Modifications

BEANS: Beans are a great addition to this salad. I love adding chickpeas, white beans, red beans or black beans to this salad.

CHEESE: Feta cheese is my go-to in this salad but goat cheese could also work or even mozzarella cheese.

VEGETABLES: This is the type of salad that you can add almost any veggies. Some other great options are carrots, bell peppers, radish, celery, artichoke hearts or sun-dried tomatoes.

NUTS & SEEDS: I like adding nuts and seeds into these types of salads for crunch. Try adding sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, pine nuts, walnuts or cashews.

PROTEIN: Protein is also a great addition to this salad and can create a complete meal. Some options to add are shrimp, rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, canned tuna, salmon, steak or even tofu.

GREENS: Spinach was my choice but I also really like adding fresh arugula to this salad.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad with large spoon

Tips For Making This Mediterranean Pasta Salad

MARINATING: The simple vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor to the salad. Allow the salad to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. This also gives the orzo time to absorb the dressing.

CHILLED: This salad is best served cold, so make sure to refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve.

RINSE ORZO IN COLD WATER: Make sure to rinse the al dente pasta with cold water to stop it from cooking.

ADJUST SEASONING: Taste the salad as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may need to add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or vinegar to balance the flavors.

STORAGE: This salad holds up really well and makes a great leftover salad. It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I like to add a bit more dressing when I eat it again because it often gets soaked up by the chickpeas and vegetables.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad two bowls.

Other Pasta Salad Recipes You Might Like:

Italian Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad

Italian Tortellini Salad

Chickpea Salad Recipe

Arugula Orzo Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad in a white bowl

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This Mediterranean Pasta Salad is perfect for your next cookout, backyard BBQ or meal-prep for the week. Your favorite Mediterranean inspired ingredients are mixed together to create a hearty, delicious orzo pasta salad. It mixes together fresh veggies, roasted red peppers, spinach, olives, orzo pasta, feta cheese, fresh herbs and a zesty Greek dressing to create the perfect summer side!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salads
Keyword: dinner, greek food, healthy, mediterranean diet, vegetables, vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
6

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package to al dente
  • 3 cups baby spinach, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained, chopped
  • 1/2 of an english cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 ounces pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 6 ounces pitted Castelvetrano green olives, halved
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons honey dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the orzo according to the package to al dente. Remove, drain and rinse under cold water too keep it from cooking any longer. Drain the water completely and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the spinach, roasted red pepper, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, Castelvetrano green olives, basil, mint and parsley and mix well.
  • In a mason jar or salad dressing container mix together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
  • Add the orzo to the large bowl with the salad ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour half of the dressing over the salad and mix well. Taste and add more dressing to your liking or save the remaining dressing for when you serve the salad.
  • Add in the feta cheese and gently too.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. When you are ready to eat taste the salad and add the remaining salad dressing. Gently toss.
  • Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad will last up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Notes

Feel free to add other ingredients like bell peppers, radish, carrots, celery, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes or banana peppers. 
If you are making this salad ahead of time I suggest adding half of the dressing and mixing well then adding the remaining dressing before serving the salad. 
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