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!

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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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  1. 6.26.20
    Melissa said:

    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!

  2. 6.23.20
    Marie-Pier said:

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

  3. 6.14.20
    Carol said:

    Can you use small shells instead of orzo

  4. 5.9.20
    Chris W. said:

    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.

  5. 1.5.20
    MB said:

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

  6. 6.29.19
    Colleen Hart said:

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

    • 6.30.19
      Laura said:

      So happy to hear this! Thanks, Colleen!!

  7. 7.25.18
    Eileen said:

    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!

    • 8.1.18
      Laura said:

      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!! 🙂

  8. 8.5.17
    Kristine said:

    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!

    • 8.5.17
      Laura said:

      Thanks, Kristine!! So happy to hear that!

  9. 9.9.16
    PamelaO said:

    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….

  10. 7.7.16
    Shawna said:

    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!!

    • 7.17.16
      Laura said:

      Thanks, Shawna!! So glad to hear it!

  11. 4.10.16
    Ryan Smith said:

    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!

  12. 8.22.15
    Maggie said:

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

    • 7.5.20
      Alice Lohr said:

      It is fantastic with grilled cold shrimp added to it. And with dill instead of mint

  13. 7.23.15
    Lisa said:

    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.

  14. 5.28.15
    Rachel said:

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

  15. 5.28.15
    Rachel said:

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

  16. 4.10.15
    adina said:

    I am making this salad today.

    • 4.10.15
      Laura said:

      Hope you love it!

      • 4.11.15
        Adina said:

        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.

        • 4.11.15
          Laura said:

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

  17. 12.14.13
    Suzy Tonini said:

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

  18. 12.4.13
    James said:

    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 😀

  19. 8.16.13
    Lindy said:

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

  20. 8.9.13
    Danielle said:

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

  21. 7.19.13
    Tabitha said:

    So yummy! And super duper easy!

  22. 7.19.13
    Linda K said:

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

  23. 7.15.13
    Linds said:

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

  24. 7.10.13
    Laura said:

    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!

  25. 6.29.13

    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!!

    • 7.3.13
      Laura said:

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

  26. 6.28.13

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

    • 7.3.13
      Laura said:

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

  27. 6.24.13
    Georgia said:

    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.

    • 7.3.13
      Laura said:

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

  28. 6.20.13
    marla said:

    LOVE the looks of this orzo!

  29. 6.14.13
    Darlene said:

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

  30. 6.2.13


  31. 5.28.13

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

    • 5.29.13
      Laura said:

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

  32. 5.23.13

    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!

    • 5.28.13
      Laura said:

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

  33. 3.13.14
    Mateo said:

    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

  34. 9.24.14
    Pam said:

    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.

  35. 9.25.14
    Laura said:

    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… 🙂

  36. 7.15.15
    M Elizabeth said:

    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!

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

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