5 from 4 votes

Orzo Pasta Salad (in 10 minutes) 

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This easy orzo salad includes fresh veggies, pan-fried halloumi, and a tangy homemade dressing. This healthy recipe is perfect as a side or main dish.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
£1.68
Makes: 5
mains
Italian

Watch out summer gatherings, there’s a new healthy orzo pasta salad in town! This yummy recipe is really easy to make, plus it includes delicious fresh veggies, tangy dressing, and protein-rich pan-fried halloumi slices.

A square, glass meal prep container with orzo, salad and golden browned halloumi topped with some dill on a pale green background with other containers in partial view.

Why you’ll love this recipe

It’s fantastic as a side for lunch or dinner and is possibly my favourite vegetarian pasta salad. You can also turn this orzo pasta salad into a make-ahead recipe, even during busy nights, as it only takes 10 minutes to whip up. Serve it during a picnic or cookout!

Easy to make ahead – This orzo recipe lasts for a few days in the fridge, making it a great make-ahead recipe.

Even better as leftovers – As the orzo sits in the fridge, the flavours mingle together, creating an even more delicious dish.

Fast dish – This orzo salad is quick – you only need 10 minutes to create this yummy recipe!

Feeds a crowd – As far as orzo salad recipes UK go, this one is quite filling. It’s also easy to double or triple, so you can feed as many people as needed.

Great for a last-minute dish – This orzo salad recipe is quick and simple, making it a great choice for a last-minute dish.

Satisfy your halloumi cravings and try these other recipes;  Air fryer Halloumi, Sweet Chilli Halloumi Wrap or Halloumi Tacos 

Benefits of using Orzo Pasta

One of the best parts about creating orzo salad is using orzo pasta. This particular type of pasta cooks very quickly, as it’s ready in around eight minutes. It has a mild taste and takes on other flavours easily, making it a great choice for orzo salad recipes.

It’s also customizable because of its mild taste, so you can include any veggies and dressing of your choosing without fear that they won’t mesh well with the taste of the pasta. Orzo is delicious, hot or cold, which opens up the recipe possibilities even more! 

If you have leftover orzo, consider making one of these yummy recipes;  Creamy Sweetcorn Orzo with Paprika Prawns,  Baked Orzo Roasted Med Veg with Halloumi and Broccoli Pesto Orzo

Ingredients

Ingredients to make the halloumi and orzo salad recipe laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Frozen Sweet Corn – I love tossing frozen sweet corn into the orzo salad, as it adds some colour and a summery flavour. You can also use fresh cooked corn, but I would wait to toss it into the recipe until after you’ve drained the pasta.

Halloumi – This yummy cheese adds a salty, savoury taste to the recipe. If you’d prefer another cheese, you can use options like paneer or bread cheese. Both should be able to withstand pan-frying.

Red Wine Vinegar – This vinegar helps create a delicious tanginess to the dish. You can also use fresh lemon juice to create a tangy, lemony dressing.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities. 

Variations/ Adaptations

Here are a few variations you can try to make your orzo salad your own! The easiest way to adapt the flavour of an orzo salad recipe to your preferences is by changing the seasoning/dressing or using other fresh herbs.

You can add Italian, Mediterranean, or Greek dressing to the recipe. Or try my ; Healthy Caesar Salad Dressing

Or, take inspiration and add ingredients associated with each type of cuisine. For example, you can make a Greek orzo salad instead of a summer orzo salad by using feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, fresh mint, and Greek dressing.

Use this idea to make Mediterranean orzo salad with an olive oil dressing. Here are some Greek inspired recipes to try; Greek Chicken Salad, Greek Yogurt Cucumber Dip and Greek Chicken Bowls

You can also use other veggies than those I have listed. Try adding some roasted veg, like squash, to the cooked orzo mix. Ramp up the protein in this recipe to make an even more filling dish.

Or try this orzo pasta with chickpeas, meat, or seafood. Or, make this recipe vegan with one easy swap. Simply leave out the halloumi or find a non-dairy alternative, and you’ve got a tasty vegan recipe.

How to make halloumi and orzo salad

  1. Start by slicing the halloumi into small bite size chunks, and the cucumber into small pieces (Image 1).
  2. Then finely slice the tomatoes and red onion (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with halloumi and cucumber on chopping a board and the second with sliced red onion and tomatoes on the board.

3. Then add your orzo to heavily salted boiling water. Set your timer according to your packet instructions time (Image 3).

4. When there’s 5 minutes left on the timer, add the frozen sweetcorn to cook (Image 4). 

2 step by step photos, the first with a pan with water and orzo submerged and the second withsweetcorn added to the same pan.

5. Meanwhile, fry the halloumi chunks with half of the olive oil (Image 5).

6. Turn the halloumi pieces over until golden brown, this should take around 6 minutes (Image 6). 

2 step by step photos, the first with halloumi cubes frying in a pan and the second with pieces of halloumi now golden browned.

*Drain and rinse the orzo and sweetcorn in cold water until cool. 

7. In a large mixing bowl, add the dressing which is the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, paprika, half of the fresh dill and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Mix to combine, then add all of the elements of the salad (except the halloumi) (Image 7).

8. Serve or divide into meal prep containers and top with the halloumi and fresh dill (Image 8). 

2 step by step photos, the first with a metal bowl full of orzo salad with a wooden spoon and the second with 5 glass square meal prep containers filled with the orzo salad.

If you love meal prepping, try these recipe ideas: Tabbouleh Inspired Chicken Salad,  Chicken Meal Prep and Veggie Burrito Bowl.

Orzo pasta salad with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, sweet corn and red onion in a metal bowl.

Love pasta? You’ll enjoy trying these tasty recipes; Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta, Cottage Cheese Pasta and Ground Turkey Pasta

Tips for the best results

Here are five mistakes to avoid when making orzo salad!

Don’t overcook the pasta
Cooking orzo pasta al dente is a no when making pasta salads, as the noodles will become mushy as they sit in the fridge. Instead, be sure to remove the noodles as soon as they’re al dente, so they keep their shape and consistency.

Add dressing while the pasta is still warm
If you add the dressing once the dish is chilled, you won’t get as much flavour. I recommend adding the dressing when the orzo is still warm, as it lets the flavour soak in even more.

Rise the pasta in cold water
This speeds up the cool time, making the dish really quick!

Give it time to marinate
As I mentioned, this salad is best the next day after the ingredients have had time to mingle. If you can’t wait that long, let the salad marinate for at least 1-2 hours for a yummy flavour.

Add a little extra dressing right before serving
There are a few reasons to double-dress the salad. For one, it boosts the flavour. It also helps add moisture to the recipe, as the noodles have likely soaked in all the dressing while sitting in the fridge. This step helps create the best orzo salad ever.

What to Serve with Orzo Pasta Salad

I love serving this orzo salad on its own, as it’s got fibre, protein, and carbs, so you’ll be satisfied after eating a bowl. However, if you want to, you can serve it alongside other sides for a more filling meal. Consider serving it with a fresh green salad, crusty bread, or grilled chicken/salmon.

Pair this yummy orzo pasta with one of these protein-rich Air fryer mains for an even tastier meal; Air Fryer Steak Bites with Garlic Butter, Air Fryer Salmon Bites and Air Fryer Chicken Bites

Orzo pasta salad with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, sweet corn and red onion topped with golden browned halloumi in a meal prep bowl.

Leftover Storage and Reheat Instructions

Refrigerator
If you have leftovers from healthy orzo recipes like this one, let them cool fully. Then, pack them into an airtight container. They will stay good in the fridge for up to three days.

Freezer
This salad does not freeze well because of most of the included ingredients. Be sure to only make the amount that you will need or eat the leftovers within the next few days.

Reheat
There’s no need to reheat this recipe. In fact, I recommend eating it cold as reheating the orzo salad can cause the veggies to go soggy.

FAQs

Is orzo a pasta or a rice?

Orzo is a type of pasta, but it can be confusing because it is similar in size and shape to rice. However, it’s made from semolina or whole grain flour, so it definitely falls into the pasta category.

How do you keep pasta salad from getting soggy?

The best way to prevent orzo salad from getting soggy is to cook it only until it’s al dente. If you cook it longer, it will become mushy as it sits in the fridge. You can also store the dressing separately which will prevent sogginess.

Why does pasta salad taste better the next day?

Often, an orzo pasta salad recipe will taste better the day after you make it because the flavours have had time to mingle together.

Explore More Recipes

If you tried this Halloumi and Orzo Salad recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

Orzo Pasta Salad ( in 10 minutes)

Print
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
£1.68
mains
Italian
Servings: 5
This easy orzo salad includes fresh veggies, pan-fried halloumi, and a tangy homemade dressing. This healthy recipe is perfect as a side or main dish.

Ingredients

  • 350 g orzo (£0.75)
  • 350 g frozen sweet corn (£1.75/3)=(£0.58)
  • 450 g (2 packs) low fat halloumi, sliced into small chunks (£2.40x2)=(£4.50)
  • 6 salad tomatoes, finely diced (£0.95)
  • 1 cucumber, finely diced (£0.89)
  • ½ red onion, finely diced (£0.12)
  • Small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped (£0.60)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Start by adding your orzo to heavily salted boiling water. Set your timer according to your packet instructions time. When there’s 5 minutes left on the timer, add the frozen sweetcorn to cook.
  • Meanwhile, fry the halloumi chunks with half of the olive oil until golden brown, this should take around 6 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the orzo and sweetcorn in cold water until cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the dressing which is the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, paprika, half of the fresh dill and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Mix to combine, then add all of the elements of the salad (except the halloumi).
  • Stir to combine, then serve (or divide into meal prep containers) and top with the halloumi and fresh dill.

Notes

  • Avoid overcooking the pasta; remove it when al dente to maintain shape and consistency.
  • Add dressing while the pasta is still warm to enhance flavour absorption.
  • Do not rinse the pasta, as the starch helps the dressing blend in.
  • Allow the salad to marinate for at least 1-2 hours, preferably overnight, for the best flavor.
  • Add extra dressing right before serving to boost flavour and moisture.

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 7g
Calories: 563kcal
Carbohydrates: 55g
Protein: 10g
5 from 4 votes

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Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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Comments

  1. Made this for me and my partner for this weeks meal prep lunches. Went down a treat! Thank you5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 4 weeks ago

      Ahh I’m so happy you both enjoyed it! Thanks for the lovely message Emilia x

  2. Loving the orzo, saladand halloumi combo!5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 4 weeks ago

      Such a fun combo isn’t it! Thanks Mark 🙂

  3. Loving the orzo and halloumi combo!5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 4 weeks ago

      Thank you Jack!

  4. Jack Marshall | 1 month ago

    Just made this for lunch. Great for meal prep thank you5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 1 month ago

      It’s one of my go-to meal preps too! So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment!

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