Make Ahead

Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad With Cucumbers, Olives & Feta

July 30, 2013
17 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Pair this pasta salad with a simple piece of grilled salmon for an easy and satisfying dinner, or pack it up and share at a picnic! —Sarah Fioritto

Test Kitchen Notes

The flavors in this Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad are mild and subtle -- perfect for complementing grilled salmon or a roasted chicken with pan juices. At first, the grated shallot and Dijon in the vinaigrette may seem like they would overwhelm the dish, but both settle in without a hint of bite. The use of feta and olives also brings a bit of salty flavor with each taste. —viblanco

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium shallot, grated
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, mostly peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Cook the orzo in abundantly salted water according to package instructions or to your taste. Drain and transfer to a large salad bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, make lemon-dill vinaigrette to dress the salad: combine lemon zest and juice, mustard, and grated shallot in a medium bowl. Whisk everything together with a few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking, then stir in the chopped dill. Taste and adjust as needed.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the still-warm pasta and toss. Allow to cool to room temperature, then add the olives and cucumbers. Scatter the crumbled feta cheese over the top and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

19 Reviews

jenngood12 July 4, 2022
So mindlessly easy! Great flavors! A definite keeper.
Debbie S. July 13, 2020
Okay y’all, I made this today and it zings!! I used dried dill, but other than that followed the recipe to a T. If u wanna outdo that other chicks pasta salad at your next potluck, this one rocks!!
jjhabe June 28, 2020
I haven’t made this, but it sounds amazing. Has anyone made it with green olives. I just don’t like the flavor of Kalamatas.
nplante May 25, 2020
I made this exactly as the recipe is written. Delicious as is. It makes a huge salad. I think this recipe could easily serve 12 or more.
Taylor S. August 31, 2019
loved this and i can’t wait to make it again! i omitted the dill since the store didn’t have any and used parsley instead which was equally delicious. was fantastic for leftovers for a few days as well.
Rhetta August 12, 2019
What a brilliant recipe! The flavors just get better after it sits for a bit ~ as instructed I had the cukes, kalamatas and red bell..on the side so some could add what they like! Yeah, it was delectable! I cooked 8 oz. of orzo and made the dressing as written ~ that's all😁
Sara H. July 1, 2019
I used 1 lb. mini penne, a mixture of black and kalamata olives, minced instead of grated the shallot, and used a little bit less feta, and this was perfect. I'll definitely make it again.
Melmo May 28, 2019
Once I had the orzo cooked and dressed and compared it to the amounts of the other ingredients, I thought a pound was way too much. There wasn't enough dressing to really flavor it, and it was kind of dry. I only put in about half the cooked orzo, and it was much more proportionate. I added a little more oil and lemon to compensate, and it was really good.
[email protected] March 31, 2019
Made with ditalini instead of orzo because of choices at the store - it had a tad more bite and I may never buy orzo again. Excellent side for grilled meats.
Karen B. May 20, 2018
made this for tonight's dinner to go with whatever hubby decides to grill. i added some blanched broccoli to the salad and it looks great!
Judith T. July 4, 2016
I loved it! Served it at a 4th of July picnic and it got nice comments.
Maya June 28, 2016
I made this with red quinoa and it turned out great. The olive and lemon juice kind of pickled the cucumber so it was even better the next day
Bertha L. July 16, 2014
How much is a pound of orzo? How many cups?
Janene July 9, 2014
Made this for 4th of July and it was great. I only used 3oz of feta because it's such a strong flavor I didn't want it to overpower the dish. Also next time I will 1.5 the dressing.
Tamara July 8, 2014
I've been eyeing this salad up for the longest time and finally got round to making it today and fortunately it didn't disappoint. It was the perfect light summer lunch - will definitely be making it again.
LauriL June 19, 2014
Made this for guests the other night. Fortunately they had to cancel and there was enough for the rest of us to eat it for a couple of days!!! Fabulous! I made the cucumbers more of a chop as I only had one English on hand and it was nice. Definitely making this many more times this summer! Thank you Sarah!!!
Leslie B. May 29, 2014
the orzo is photo 2 does not look cooked.... or maybe it isn't actually orzo. Orzo expands when cooked, wider, more flat then in the picture --- it absorbs flavours well. It looks like barley (which is the meaning of "orzo"), not rice, when cooked
DAVILCHICK May 4, 2014
Made this last night for a small dinner party and it almost upstaged the yummy grilled lamb. I think this is going to be our new summer salad. So easy. So yummy. I will say that I think my shallots were probably a little larger than the recipe called for so I had to keep playing with it so make sure your shallots are on the smaller side of medium. Otherwise, perfectperfectperfect!
Jason G. August 24, 2013
This was a great salad; however, it needed more dressing. I would suggest for that much pasta to double the dressing. If not doubling the dressing, serve the salad warm so that the cheese melts and becomes a newer dressing.