I love a quick and easy salad that can also be prepped ahead of time. Mediterranean Orzo Salad checks all of the boxes and is perfect for lunch or dinner!
I have often thought that May is the busiest month of the year, but April has given us a run for our money. It has been a crazy busy few weeks and I am often squeezing in a quick lunch between numerous other commitments. Anyone else in this boat?
Meal Prep Ideas
I love to cook a big pot of grains at the beginning of the week and divide into various portions for different recipes. This easy trick helps me so much with quick meals throughout the week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This week I decided on orzo, since it is one of the kids’ favorite pastas. It is also a great lunchbox option due to the bite-sized noodles. I usually buy whole wheat pasta, but this dish could easily be gluten-free by using a gluten-free orzo.
My children love Greek flavors, so they were the inspiration for this Mediterranean Orzo Salad. We all enjoy this rendition of a classic pasta salad with vinaigrette, yet I think this recipe is different from others we have tried in the past.
I suggest prepping all of your ingredients ahead of time, so once the pasta is cooked and cooled you are not scrambling to measure and chop.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
I buy whole Kalamata olives weekly from either our grocery store’s olive bar or in the jar if there is a good sale. I used the jar variety this time and sliced them before adding to the Mediterranean Orzo Salad.
Tasty Tip: The whole olives also frequently get popped in lunchboxes as a healthy side or served as part of a cheese board during the week.
I have tried all types of tomatoes in various pasta salads and this is my favorite preparation. The flavor and texture of the sundried tomatoes is unique to this dish.
Personally, I do not like raw tomatoes that have been refrigerated. If you do not like sundried tomatoes, you could substitute halved grape tomatoes in this recipe. However, I don’t recommend refrigerating raw tomatoes for a great length of time, as they lose flavor in the refrigerator.
The brininess of the olives and capers combined with the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes is the perfect blend of flavors. I also love the addition of feta for additional saltiness, but this could easily be left out without changing the overall taste of the salad.
If you are meal prepping and do not plan to eat this salad until later, I suggest reserving the feta cheese. I store this salad in an airtight container and add the feta cheese to individual portions when serving.
Tasty Tip: If you are able, take the salad out of the fridge or your lunchbox for at least five-ten minutes before eating to bring to room temperature. The flavors of the salad are much tastier at room temperature!
White Wine Vinaigrette
I’ve tried a similar pasta salad before using a red wine vinaigrette and it was a fail. The kids did not like the strong flavor of the red wine vinegar, so I went with a milder white wine vinegar this time.
This white wine vinaigrette is light and perfect on a simple green salad as well, so you may want to double the recipe if you would like to have it on hand for additional salads.
The vinaigrette will store in the refrigerator for approximately two weeks in an airtight container. I use jelly jars to prepare and store my homemade salad dressings.
I love this vegetarian salad and I hope you will give it a try!
Adaptation for Vegans: Simply omit feta cheese.
Adaptation for Gluten-Free: Substitute a gluten-free orzo.
Enjoy this light and refreshing salad for lunch or dinner! If having for dinner, may I suggest a glass of white wine?
Please tag @restandrelish on social media and/or comment on the post if you try this healthy salad!
Mediterranean Orzo Salad is an easy lunch or dinnertime salad. The combination of flavors in this vegetarian dish is AMAZING and ready in under 30 minutes!
Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar. Tighten lid and shake until blended.
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, cool for 10 minutes and add to large bowl.
Add all prepped vegetables to bowl and combine with orzo. Shake vinaigrette in jar before opening and pour desired amount of vinaigrette on salad. Toss all ingredients with viniagrette to coat. Plate salad and sprinkle ~ 1/2 T. feta cheese crumbles on top of each salad serving.
I always double the vinaigrette ingredients to have extra vinaigrette for other salads, however I have halved for nutritional purposes.