Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta

Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta | Fork Knife Swoon

After some major flight delays, getting rerouted several times due to weather, and missing my last connection, I managed to finagle my way onto a final flight and make it safely to Santa Barbara last night. Needless to say, traveling for some eighteen-odd hours can be exhausting. Between the stress of flight timing, generally subpar dining options, and dehydrating, recirculating air, a full day of flying doesn’t often leave one feeling their best.

Cue this light and refreshing pasta salad. Bright, lemony orzo pasta is tossed with fresh cucumber, herbs and salty feta for an easy summer salad that makes a great barbecue or pot-luck side dish. This is what I should have brought with me on the plane, instead of consuming the limp, tasteless airport salad and bag of peanut butter m&m’s that sufficed for sustenance en route yesterday. This healthy and flavorful pasta dish would be equally delicious alongside some grilled burgers or fish this Memorial Day weekend, or as a mid-flight snack on my return trip!

Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta | Fork Knife Swoon

Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



  • 11/2 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, or just enough to lightly coat the pasta
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large English cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo al dente according to package directions (about 9 minutes). Drain the pasta, let cool for a couple of minutes, and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, cucumber, herbs and feta.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve chilled or at room-temperature. Can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.




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May 23, 2013

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  • Reply
    June 26, 2020 at 11:17 am

    I’ve made this a handful of times and it’s ALWAYS a hit. I’ve added garbanzo beans and sun-dried tomatoes (jarred) a few times…just to mix it up. Yum-o!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    I added a little bit of maple sugar and it’s absolutely perfect! Thanks for the simple, yet tasty recipe!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    June 14, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Can you use small shells instead of orzo

  • Reply
    Chris W.
    May 9, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    This recipe was so far out of my wheelhouse, but very tantalizing, I decided to try it. I was very happy I did. A fantastic balance of herb flavors and the punch of citrus along with the Feta’s saltiness was vey appealing. My 17 year old daughter who must have been a food critic in a previous life came back for seconds and said it was good. That is a very high praise from someone of her caliber. To say the least, my wife and I enjoyed it very much as well.
    There was one item that I didn’t have on hand, a lemon. I substituted dried lemon peel and bottled lemon juice that we had on hand. I use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon peel and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2020 at 11:14 am

    The flavors were sour and flat. Good start but two dimensional.

  • Reply
    Colleen Hart
    June 29, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I make this for BBQs and everyone wants the recipe. So light and fresh and it’s perfect cold or warm.

    • Reply
      June 30, 2019 at 8:31 am

      So happy to hear this! Thanks, Colleen!!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Awesome Awesome Awesome Recipe!!! I have made it probably 20 times with different variations depending on what I have on hand. Sometimes I throw in tiny diced zuchinni to bulk up the veggies (it is virtually flavorless) either raw or I drop it in the cooking pasta water for the last minute to soften it a tad. I have used basil when I have no mint/parsley, throw in cherry tomatoes sometimes, with or without feta and I also cook the orzo in chicken broth. It adds so much flavor for me. Sometimes we just eat this for dinner with a grilled chicken breast. Wonderful recipe thanks so much!

    • Reply
      August 1, 2018 at 7:05 am

      Oh, I’m so happy to hear it, Eileen!! This is one of our favorites too, especially because it is so adaptable. Thanks so much for your comment!! 🙂

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    August 5, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Just made this tonight for a family barbecue and just love it! Very light and refreshing. This will be a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      August 5, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks, Kristine!! So happy to hear that!

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  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    soo yummy! made this and added just a bit more salt, green onions and olives! it was fantastic! A++ i can eat this for breakfast too! lol….

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    July 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Made this for my family with a Mediterranean chicken and it was a HUGE hit! I liked it so much that I made it again just a few days later so I could pack it up for lunches at work.

    Thank you!!

    • Reply
      July 17, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks, Shawna!! So glad to hear it!

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  • Reply
    Ryan Smith
    April 10, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Made this for the first time to bring to a BBQ with 40+ people and it turned out to be a big hit. I had a few people ask for the recipe and I am sending them this link. I bumped up the lemon zest/juice and we added Pine nuts and a little more parsley on top as a garnish.

    Excellent recipe and one I will keep!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Has anyone tried adding tuna to this? I thought it might be a good combo…

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    July 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Love this recipe. Anyone having problems with it being bland just needs to taste and adjust to their own preferences. This is a very good core recipe.

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  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I love this dish! What is the nutritional information for it? Thanks!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I absolutely love this recipe. What is the nutritional information for this recipe? Thanks!

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  • Reply
    April 10, 2015 at 2:39 am

    I am making this salad today.

    • Reply
      April 10, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Hope you love it!

      • Reply
        April 11, 2015 at 4:18 am

        it was great. we’re having the leftovers today for lunch. thank you for the recipe. I made some pictures, so I think I’ll be posting this sometime soon. I hope that is ok with you.

        • Reply
          April 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

          Thanks so much for letting me know! I’m so glad that you loved the recipe as much as we do!

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    • Reply
      September 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

      I wanted to like this based on the ingredients, but I made it and it was not good at all. Followed the recipe exactly. Took it to a Potluck and no one ate hardly any of it. I don’t blame them. It was just not good. I’m not sure how to fix it. Orzo with cucumbers was completely unappetizing together. Tasted blah. The only thing good about it was the Feta.

      • Reply
        September 25, 2014 at 7:30 am

        Hi Pam, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the recipe. If you followed the recipe exactly, then it probably just comes down to personal taste. This is a favorite potluck salad in our house, and one of the most popular reader recipes on the site. Lots of other readers have made and enjoyed it, but I’m sorry you weren’t one of them! At least there was feta… 🙂

      • Reply
        M Elizabeth
        July 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        The first time i made it, we found it a bit bland, too, but the key part of the recipe I needed to adjust was “salt and black pepper to taste”. I had not used enough salt. When I ate the leftovers, I added a bit more salt and it made ALL the difference. Now I know, not just a couple of shakes, I need to actually keep tasting it until there is enough salt to enhance all the flavors that are just waiting to be unlocked!

  • Reply
    Suzy Tonini
    December 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Great simple recipe. I too added some chickpeas and also black olives. Thank you for the simple but yummy recipe!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2013 at 10:40 am

    This recipe lends itself to add-ons as well. I added defrosted frozen peas and blanched asparagus as well as switching out the olive oil for Italian Dressing. For protein I put a grilled chicken breast on top. It was great! My pregnant wife cleaned her bowl more than once, so I would say success 😀

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    August 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Delicious! I added a chicken breast and ate it for lunch this week. I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I just made this and it’s delicious!! I added some fresh dill, chickpeas and white balsamic vinegar. Wow!!

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      March 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

      When I read this recipe I knew I had to try it. I found the pine nuts at a cost club for ptetry inexpensive but went ahead and burnt the first batch for good measure ha ha .We all loved it

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    July 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    So yummy! And super duper easy!

  • Reply
    Linda K
    July 19, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Making this tonight!! Glad Audrey’s posted a link to this.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    This looks delicious! We have been playing around with orzo pasta this summer and this definitely on our MUST try list!!!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    July 10, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Made this yummy salad for dinner tonight! My husband LOVED it! I added scallions and more feta than called for. Thanks for the recipe and for taking such a gorgeous photo that I just had to try it!

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    Ana @ fit, fun & delish!
    June 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I just made this today to serve along some grilled chicken kabobs. This orzo salad it’s sooo good! Simple, easy to make and perfect for hot summer nights. Thank you!!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Thanks, Ana! I’m so glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I have made this twice now and it is absolutely delicious. It is even better the next day!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      I totally agree! The orzo soaks up all the yumminess… 🙂

  • Reply
    June 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Have just discovered this blog via a recipe share on Facebook. Happy day! Firstly, I have to say how wonderful it is to come across someone on the Net who writes well, can not only spell “finagle” correctly but obviously knows what the word means, can punctuate, and does not turn plurals into possessives. How happy an experience to not have to read “salad with lemon’s and cucumber’s and mint’s”. Secondly (but not really, more of a dead tie), the food writing and recipes are lovely.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Georgia, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad other people enjoy words like “finagle” too! 🙂

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    June 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    LOVE the looks of this orzo!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      Thank you, Marla!

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  • Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Very refreshing. Substituted blue cheese for feta – hubby is not a fan of feta. Added a tablespoon of fresh lemon basil. So yummy!

  • Reply
    Young Wifey
    June 2, 2013 at 9:41 am


    • Reply
      June 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Julie @ This Gal Cooks
    May 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    This is such a simple recipe with great, refreshing flavors! I’ve pinned this because it’s a must try at my house!

    • Reply
      May 29, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Thank you, Julie! I’m a big fan of simple recipes.

  • Reply
    Oregon Sue
    May 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I’m going to pick up a cucumber and some Feta today and make this! OMG. LOVE lemon. LOVE orzo! Also the Cucumber Lime Agua Frescas sounds heavenly!

    • Reply
      May 28, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Thank you, Sue! I love lemon with pasta… the Agua Frescas are super refreshing too!