Lemon Feta Orzo

4.69 from 51 votes

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My lemon feta orzo will blow you away. I served this dish to my mom and she said it’s one of the best recipes I have ever made. Although this is not a traditional 🇬🇷 Greek dish, it uses ingredients that are prominent in Greek cuisine, such as dill, olive oil, feta, and 🍋 lemon juice; the flavors bring me back home!

Why You’ll Love Lemon Feta Orzo

This recipe is perfect topped with any protein, such as grilled chicken, kebabs, or 🦐 shrimp (which is what I use). I reserved a few tablespoons of my incredible dressing and tossed it with shrimp before throwing them on the grill. You can prepare this recipe for meal prep and make it the night before. Every bite transports me to my childhood in Crete, so I hope it makes it to your table too.

Of course, as with all simple dishes, it’s important to use the best quality ingredients you can find and afford. A rich, buttery 🫒 olive oil, super fresh dill, feta purchased in brine (and never pre-crumbled), and fresh juice from plump lemons will make all the difference in this creamy, light, and bright Mediterranean pasta dish. Orzo is the perfect pasta shape here because it cooks quickly and, when combined with this simple dressing, it soaks up all the flavors and creates a silky, smooth texture that slides right off the spoon.

How to Prepare Lemon Feta Orzo

🔥 Cook orzo in salted water until al dente; salt the water after boiling, stir, and then add orzo.

🍋 While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing by adding olive oil, lemon juice/zest, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper in a glass measuring cup. Reserve some of the dressing for the shrimp if you’re using them.

🥣 Add cooked orzo to a large bowl. While warm, pour the dressing over the orzo and stir. Crumble in feta to taste and stir again.

🦐 Thaw, pat dry, and toss jumbo black tiger shrimp in reserved dressing.

♨️ Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Ensure it’s hot before adding the shrimp spaced apart from each other. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side until pink and curled. Avoid overcooking.

⭐ Toss cooked shrimp with lemon orzo. Enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip

The water to cook the orzo should be as salty as the sea 🌊 as it’s your only chance to flavor the orzo!

Variations and Substitutions for Lemon Feta Orzo

Remember to cook with your heart! These variations and substitutions can be adjusted based on your personal preferences and dietary restrictions. Feel free to get creative and make the recipe to suit your taste!

  1. For a vegetarian version, you could omit the shrimp and add roasted vegetables such as cherry 🍅 tomatoes, bell peppers, or asparagus to the orzo.
  2. Add a pinch of 🌶️ red pepper flakes or minced garlic to the dressing.
  3. If you don’t have orzo on hand, you could use pastina, couscous, quinoa, or farro for a different grain texture. Be sure to follow the package directions for your choice.
  4. You can certainly substitute shrimp with grilled 🐔 chicken, salmon, or even tofu for a different protein option.
  5. Experiment with different 🌿 herbs such as parsley, basil, or cilantro could add unique flavors to the dressing.
  6. Enhance the Mediterranean flavors by adding chopped 🫒 olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil to the orzo.

More Seafood Recipes

Whether you’re celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes or you just love seafood, I have you covered!

Best Served With

  • Serve the orzo alongside a medley of grilled or roasted vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant.
  • A simple green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette can add freshness and crunch to the meal.
  • A side of crusty bread (like my no-knead peasant bread) or breadsticks is perfect for soaking up the flavorful dressing from the orzo.
  • You could serve the orzo with a refreshing cucumber tzatziki sauce on the side.
Description Product Image Product Name / Primary Rating / Price Primary Button
Top Kitchen Item
  • Description:

    I use these bowls for everything in my kitchen. I use them to prep my ingredients, to mix batter or dough in them and so much more!

Favorite Salt
  • Description:

    This is the salt that I have used for years in all my cooking!

Nonna's Top Pick!
  • Description:

    This is the perfect medium sauté pot!

Nonna's Set
  • Description:

    This is the exact set that I have and use at home every single day! You have to be SUPER Gentle with it and don's use it on high heat, no cooking spray's on it, gentle wash with a soft sponge, and absolutely no metal utensils.

Top Kitchen Item
Description:

I use these bowls for everything in my kitchen. I use them to prep my ingredients, to mix batter or dough in them and so much more!

4.9
$32.99
Favorite Salt
Description:

This is the salt that I have used for years in all my cooking!

4.9
$20.99 ($0.40 / Ounce)
Nonna's Top Pick!
Description:

This is the perfect medium sauté pot!

4.8
$54.50
Nonna's Set
Description:

This is the exact set that I have and use at home every single day! You have to be SUPER Gentle with it and don's use it on high heat, no cooking spray's on it, gentle wash with a soft sponge, and absolutely no metal utensils.

4.9
$99.99
03/19/2024 04:45 pm GMT

Common Questions

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

This dish is best served warm, but you can make it the night before and enjoy it as cold or at room temperature the next day. 

What Type of Salt Do you use?

I use Redmond Real Salt, please note that depending on the salt you use, your dish may be less or more salty. Salt is to taste, so please always taste and adjust as you cook.

Can I use something other than Shrimp?

Feel free to use any protein of choice, such as chicken or any other seafood.

What could I use instead of orzo?

You can use other types of pastina (rice-sized pasta shapes) if you don’t have orzo on hand. Couscous would be lovely as well. 

What can I use instead of feta?

You can certainly swap the feta for parmesan if you don’t like feta. You can also leave the feta out completely if you’re dairy-free. 

Can I make this recipe Gluten-free?

If you’re gluten-free, you will have to find a gluten-free pastina alternative that you prefer. 

Can I use regular Dijon for the dressing?

Yes, if you don’t have honey Dijon, use regular Dijon and mix some honey into it. 

Can this be served cold?

You can serve this as a pasta salad, but make sure to cool the orzo down completely before adding in the dressing; otherwise, it’s served as a hot dish. 

A bowl of lemon feta orzo

Lemon Feta Orzo

My lemon feta orzo will blow you away. I served this dish to my mom and she said it’s one of the best recipes I have ever made. Although this is not a traditional 🇬🇷 Greek dish, it uses ingredients that are prominent in Greek cuisine, such as dill, olive oil, feta, and 🍋 lemon juice; the flavors bring me back home!
4.69 from 51 votes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 2
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup orzo, 8 ounces
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, + zest from one lemon
  • ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • feta, measured with your heart, (good quality feta sold in brine; not pre-crumbled please)
  • 10 jumbo tiger shrimp , optional

Instructions 

For the Orzo

  • Cook the orzo in salted water until al dente. Note: the water should be as salty as the sea as it's your only chance to flavor the orzo. Salt the water after it comes to a boil, stir, and add in the orzo.
  • In the meantime, work on the dressing by adding olive oil, lemon juice and zest, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper to a glass measuring cup. Stir until fully combined. If you're making shrimp, reserve a few tablespoons of this dressing to coat the shrimp.
  • Add the cooked orzo to a large bowl, and, while still warm, pour the dressing on top and stir. Crumble in some feta (measure with your heart) and stir again.

For the Shrimp

  • I thawed peeled and deveined jumbo black tiger shrimp and patted them dry. I added some of the reserved dressing and tossed them into that dressing.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat. The pan should be hot before adding in the shrimp.
  • Add the shrimp making sure to space them apart. Cook on each side for 1 to 2 minutes. You do not want to overcook them so be sure to take them off the heat as soon as they turn pink and curl up.
  • Toss the shrimp in with the lemon orzo and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 628kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 20g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 126mg, Sodium: 1231mg, Potassium: 359mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 637IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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50 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for the first time tonight. I will make this again. I seasoned the shrimp.
    I’m also going to try your Spinach and Orzo dinner.