Summer Orzo Salad


The summery salad of your dreams.

summer orzo salad in a dark blue bowl
Photo: Photographer and Prop stylist: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

This easy summer salad is the perfect main or side dish for warm-weather meals. It's a fresh and bright addition to lunch or dinner, and you'll find yourself making it again and again.

Juicy, plump tomatoes mix with the crunch of pistachio and cucumber and the zest of basil pesto and feta to make the most delicious salad. (The Southern Living Test Kitchen recommends using ripe summer tomatoes at their peak.) The recipe also makes a big batch, so it's great for a crowd. (Summer picnic, anyone?)

It's a great base for all of your preferred additions, too. For a choose-your-own-salad adventure, add in charred corn, grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, or different selections of pastas, greens, or beans. Once prepared, the salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. This salad packed with summery flavors will help you welcome summer with open arms.


  • 1 lb. uncooked orzo

  • 1/3 cup basil pesto

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 2 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 (15-oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup half-moon sliced cucumber (from 1 [8-oz.] cucumber)

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup), divided

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted salted pistachios


  1. Cook orzo according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch.

  2. While pasta cooks, stir together pesto, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl.

  3. Add pasta, beans, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, salt, and 1/2 cup of the feta to pesto mixture; stir to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pistachios and remaining 1/2 cup feta. Serve.

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