There’s a secret to making the most refreshing summertime orzo pasta salad! My secret ingredient is freshly squeezed orange juice. The orange juice gives this salad the lightest most refreshing taste with a hint of sweetness. For an even more citrusy flavor, I encourage you to also add orange zest to this dish.

This salad has crunch from summery produce, like bell pepper, cucumber, and onion, creaminess from feta, and salt and flavor from olives, fresh parsley, and dried oregano. It is the perfect summer dish. This holds up well in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, and is best when served at room temperature.

Whenever I serve this salad, I’m bombarded with questions on how to make it. Now that you know my secret, please give it a try this summer when you’re hosting or bring it along if you’re being hosted. I promise, this salad will be first to disappear from the table. This recipe is the perfect side for meal-prep and you can make it ahead of time.

Orzo Pasta Salad

The Modern NonnaThe Modern Nonna
This salad has crunch from summery produce, like bell pepper, cucumber, and onion, creaminess from feta, and salt and flavor from olives, fresh parsley, and dried oregano. It is the perfect summer dish.
4.82 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 bag orzo (340 grams or 12 ounces) boiled in salted water to al-dente
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or more or less, to taste)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 mini cucumbers, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, finely diced
  • ½ bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced (I soaked mine in water for 20 minutes to make it milder, then drain)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (or more or less to taste)
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • salt to taste
  • crumbled feta measure with your heart
  • sliced olives (optional)


  • Boil the orzo pasta in boiling salted water as per the package directions.
  • Strain the orzo and let it cool completely. Add the olive oil, orange juice, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, parsley, and oregano to a large bowl. Add the cooled pasta. Stir well and season with salt. Mix in the feta and olives, if using.
  • Enjoy!


You can use any small pasta shape/pastina, tortellini, or even couscous as well.
For a higher-protein alternative, this salad will work beautifully with quinoa too.
Feel free to measure everything with your heart and taste and adjust for flavor and seasoning as you go.
The boiling water should be as salty as the sea as it’s your only chance to flavor the orzo.
Any herbs of choice can be used if you don’t like parsley. Basil, thyme, and mint are all great options. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @themodernnonna or tag #themodernnonna!
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Thank you for bringing me into your kitchen <3

23 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    So refreshing and east to make! This is going to be a staple in my house! Thank you!

  2. 4 stars
    I made this as a side dish for dinner. I opted for no parsley as I don’t care for it. I used the tablespoon of oregano but for my taste it was too much and too bitter. I’ll probably use less next time. I also used 1/8 tsp of fresh thyme, and did put a handful of Callamata olives in mine. Overall it was very tasty and refreshing. I’ll probably just tweak it a little differently next time.

  3. 4 stars
    Light and fun summer salad! Using orange juice was a fun twist. Overall a pretty mild, pleasant flavor.

  4. This is my go to summer recipe for the second year now. It’s such an adaptable recipe and you can substitute or add anything. I love it as is but sometimes I’ll use a different kind of olive or ill a different juice (e.g. lemon) or even a wine vinegar. Modern Nonna has become the first place I go to now when I need a recipe.

  5. Good Morning! I’d love to know the brand of Olive oil you use in this recipe ? Love all your recipes!!

  6. Love this! Easy to make, refreshing and just the right amount of veggies! Will be making this more often. Thank you again for sharing!

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