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Don’t you just love a budget friendly dish that tastes great too? This Greek Orzo Salad with Lentils is just that! With olives, feta cheese and lots of fresh vegetables too, it’s not only delicious but nutritious. Plus, it can be made ahead!
Why We Love This Recipe
I first came across this Greek Orzo Salad recipe after attending a food blogging conference back in 2013. It was my first conference and I was so excited to meet other food bloggers and brands that worked with us.
Up to that point, I hadn’t really eaten many lentils but it didn’t take long for me to become a fan after tasting several of the samples at the Canadian Lentils booth! Soon after returning home, I made it up this recipe and it was a hit! What appealed to me about this recipe was that it included so many of our favorite flavors: feta cheese, fresh vegetables, orzo pasta, and of course lentils (that part was new!).
The ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store and I also loved that it is a budget friendly option as well. Lentils are budget friendly and full of protein and fiber which makes them a great ingredient for so many recipes.
They blend well with all kinds of flavors and this orzo pasta salad with lentils does not disappoint!
Greek Lentil and Orzo Salad is a satisfying and delicious vegetarian salad that is perfect as a side or light main dish that I hope you will try!
What Ingredients Are Needed To Make This Recipe?
Ten, easy to find ingredients are all you need to make this Greek orzo pasta salad.
If you’ve never tried orzo it’s a tiny, rice-shaped pasta that can be found in the pasta section of your grocery store. I usually find it on a top or bottom shelf with the more popular shapes and varieties in between.
Lentils come in a few different colors and sizes. They’re all small but some are a bit flatter than others. You can find lentils near the rice and dry beans in your grocery store.
I like to buy feta cheese in bulk from a local international foods market in my area. Did you know you can freeze feta cheese? Yep! It totally works.
Freeze it whole and break off what you need when you need it or crumble it (or buy it crumbled) and freeze it that way. Just be sure to freeze it in an airtight container and don’t forget to label (affiliate) it and then freeze.
Red wine vinegar can be found in the same grocery store aisle as salad dressing and condiments. At my store, there are usually at least a half dozen different flavors of vinegar! I like to buy the store brand vinegar as it’s usually a lot less expensive than the name brand varieties and the flavor is just as good.
How to Make This Pasta Salad
This salad is super easy to assemble and can be done in about 10 minutes when the past and lentils are made ahead (or just under a half hour, if not—see below for some extra tips). I like to use my handheld food chopper (affiliate link) to make chopping the vegetables even quicker.
Just combine everything in a large bowl (1).
Then add the red wine vinegar and olive oil (2).
Stir all the ingredients to combine everything(3).
Then chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to let the flavors blend.
Make Ahead Preparation Tips
There are a couple of ways to get even a little bit further ahead on making this orzo salad recipe. You can cook the orzo and lentils up to a day in advance and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Is This Salad Freezer Friendly?
Because this recipe is made with so many fresh ingredients like the vegetables, it doesn’t really freeze very well. But as I mentioned above, the feta cheese can be frozen and you can also freeze cooked lentils to use in recipes later. So those are a couple of freeze friendly recipe tips!
What Are Some Other Healthy Salad or Greek flavor inspired recipe Ideas?
We’re big fans of Greek or Mediterranean flavored foods. Be sure to check out my Fresh Mediterranean Dip, Simple Greek Tacos or Mediterranean Quesadillas if you love these flavors too!
I’m also a big fan of salads, especially if they can be made ahead like this Broccoli Ham & Cheese Pasta Salad or my Copycat Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.
I’d love to know what you think about this Greek Orzo Salad or any of the recipes I mentioned above. Just send me a quick email or leave a comment on this post!
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 ¼ cups orzo pasta
- 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ¾ cup green lentils rinsed, cooked and drained
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup green olives pitted and chopped
- ¾ cup red onion diced (about one small onion)
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes diced
- 1 cup cucumber diced
- 1 ½ cups feta cheese crumbled
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add orzo pasta and cook until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
- Place lentils into a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Combine remaining olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl.
- In bowl with pasta, add cooked lentils, oil mixture and remaining ingredients (olives through feta cheese). Stir until combined well.
- Cover and refrigerate at least two hours. This salad is also really good the next day.
This post was originally published in March 2013 but updated in July 2020 with new photos and content.
Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories
Brenda, that sounds really good. I have to admit I’ve never cooked with lentils before and I’m really intrigued, especially since you mentioned all of their nutritious goodness.
Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)
Definitely give lentils a try! Like I mentioned, I was a bit hesitant but after trying a different variety (and having tried them at the conference) I am definitely a fan. The fact that they are economical and nutritious are an extra bonus!
Lynn H @ Turnips 2 Tangerines
I love Lentils and put them in many soups and stews. They cook fast, which is also a plus~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines
Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)
Yes, I am definitely going to be cooking with them more often now. So many reasons to!
I made a variation of this recipe for Christmas dinner side dish (IMO, it’s a meal of its own). Instead of vinegar, I used lemon juice. I used Kalamata olives. Took out all the seeds from cucumber and tomatoes (so it’s not too watery) and add oregano and lots of parsley. It’s so yummy!
Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)
I totally agree that it can be a meal of it’s own–I’ve had it for lunch many times! I like your additions/substitutions–I will have to give those a try too. Thanks for sharing!