Creamy Greek Orzo Pasta Salad with Tzatziki Dressing

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This Greek Orzo Pasta Salad – a Greek salad-inspired pasta salad! – is the perfect summer sharable! Toss tender orzo with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, roasted red peppers, castelvetrano olives, & a creamy, cooling yogurt dressing inspired by tzatziki sauce. Served warm or cold, as a side dish or a plant-powered main, as the best meal prep lunch or a backyard BBQ shareable everyone will go crazy for, this Greek pasta salad is an easy-to-make & totally versatile crowd-pleaser you'll come back to all summer long!

Meal prep-friendly. Naturally vegetarian. Easily dairy-free, vegan, & gluten-free.

A large white bowl with scalloped edges is filled assembled and mixed greek orzo pasta salad garnished with fresh dill. The bowl sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a yellow and white linen napkin partially tucked underneath on one side. Two blue glasses rest alongside the bowl at center, one rests atop a wicker coaster. While a small ceramic pinch bowl filled with ground black pepper and a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt rest below the bowl at center. Two gold serving spoons rest inside of the greek pasta salad.

Easy Greek Pasta Salad, a Total Crowd-Pleaser for Summer Entertaining!

During the summer months, there’s truly nothing better than a big bowl of homemade pasta salad. (Is any cookout really complete without it on the table?!) It’s the ultimate seasonal shareable & my favorite thing to scoop onto a cookout plate alongside a juicy burger or char-grilled beer brat. 😋

This particular Greek orzo pasta salad is one of my all-time favorites. Inspired by classic Greek salad, it is loaded with the fresh flavor of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, olives, & tangy bites of feta. I stray from tradition a little bit, making use of roasted red peppers (I love their tender texture!) & castelvetrano olives (a great gateway olive as they’re mild in flavor!). It’s all tossed together with orzo & a creamy-dreamy tzatziki-inspired yogurt dressing, making the perfect light & fresh summer dish.

Aside from its flavor, what you’ll really appreciate about this Greek pasta salad is its flexibility. It’s great cold or at room temp, perfect for entertaining or a simple at-home dinner, & it pairs with just about everything you want to eat during the summer months. Pretty hard to beat that! 🙌🏼

Greek Pasta Salad Recipe Highlights

You’ll LOVE this Greek orzo pasta salad because it’s…

  • FRESH & FEEL-GOOD. Freshness is the core of Mediterranean cuisine! Crisp veggies, bright lemon, & tangy olives make this Greek pasta salad super satisfying yet totally feel-good.
  • RICH & CREAMY. The best pasta salads are always nice & creamy! This recipe uses a crave-worthy tzatziki-inspired yogurt dressing for classic Greek flavor & mouthwatering texture.
  • A FLEXIBLE SUMMER SHAREABLE. This Greek pasta salad recipe is super versatile. It’s perfect for a picnic, backyard BBQ, summer potluck, or easy at-home lunch. Plus, simple dairy- & gluten-free variations make it easy to modify based on the crowd you’re serving!

Pasta salad perfection! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make this Greek Orzo Pasta Salad with Creamy Tzatziki Dressing, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Key Ingredients for a Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s what you need to make this creamy Greek pasta salad recipe…

  • Orzo – When it comes to pasta salad, this short-cut pasta is one of my all-time faves! I always use DeLallo Orzo because their bronze die cut gives the pasta superior flavor & texture. Simply the best!
  • Plenty of veggies – Inspired by classic Greek salad, this pasta salad is loaded with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, & olives. While it’s not necessarily traditional, I love the texture of tender & sweet roasted red pepper & meaty-yet-mild castelvetrano olives. If you prefer the classic crunch of raw bell peppers & the bold flavor of kalamata olives, feel free to swap them in!
  • Feta – Another Greek salad classic! Good quality feta is a must. Try to use feta packaged in brine – it’s richer in flavor & has a creamier texture than the pre-crumbled stuff!
  • Creamy tzatziki dressing – This creamy, cooling dressing brings the whole Greek pasta salad together. Feel free to use store-bought tzatziki if it’s more convenient!

Cooking Orzo for Pasta Salad: Tips & Tricks

I love making orzo pasta salad! Its rice-like shape is the perfect pairing for Mediterranean flavors & gives this Greek pasta salad a delicate bite.

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

Why I always use DeLallo orzo. ⇢ DeLallo forms all of their gorgeous pastas by extruding the dough through a traditional bronze pasta die. This gives the pasta a rougher surface that creates the perfect bite & clings to sauce or dressing really well. I’m obsessed with it! Learn more about bronze-cut pasta.

A few things to keep in mind when cooking orzo for pasta salad:

Always salt pasta water generously. Salting the water is the only opportunity you have to season the pasta itself – don’t be shy here! Add a generous amount of salt to the pot as it comes to a boil. Your pasta water should taste as salty as the sea.

Drain & rinse the orzo once cooked. If you’ve been around PWWB for a bit, you’re probably used to me preaching that you not rinse your pasta. Pasta salad with a creamy dressing is the one exception! Rinsing the orzo well prevents it from overcooking & wilting the fresh veggies. (No one likes mushy pasta salad!)

Easy Recipe Swaps

If you’d like to use a different pasta, cavatappi, fusilli, & farfalle are great options. Cook according to package directions & prepare as described in the Recipe Card, below.

How to make gluten-free Greek pasta salad. ⇢ If you need to keep your pasta salad gluten-free, simply use DeLallo Gluten-Free Orzo. Easy!

Easy Creamy Tzatziki Dressing for Greek Pasta Salad

A generous drizzle of tzatziki dressing gives this Greek pasta salad recipe crave-worthy creaminess. Such a satisfying way to bring everything together! Here’s what you need to do to make the tzatziki dressing…

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

1

Grate & squeeze cucumber. Cucumbers are FULL of moisture. Using a towel to wring out the grated cucumber removes all their excess water (there will be a lot!). This helps give the tzatziki its signature cucumber-y flavor without bogging down the texture of the dressing.

2

Mix the tzatziki dressing. Add Greek yogurt, fresh dill, lemon zest & juice, garlic, & grated cucumbers to a bowl. Bring it together with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. High-quality olive oil makes a big impact on flavor here. DeLallo Extra Virgin Olive Oil is forever & always our fave!

Vegan & Dairy-Free Tzatziki

Use your favorite dairy-free yogurt to make the tzatziki dressing completely dairy-free & vegan. Or, skip the creaminess altogether & prep a simple Greek-inspired vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, honey or pure maple syrup, & oregano. Just as delish, guaranteed!

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad Assembly (+ A Few Serving Tips!)

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

⇢ Assembly.

Assembling this Greek orzo pasta salad is as simple as tossing together the veggies, cooked orzo, & cubed or crumbled feta. Pour the tzatziki dressing over top & mix, evenly coating the Greek pasta salad ingredients in the delicious creaminess.

⇢ Serving Suggestions.

Serve right away at room temp or transfer to the fridge to chill – it’s perfect either way! My favorite thing about this Greek pasta salad recipe is how versatile it is. Serve it at a summer picnic, backyard BBQ, or family potluck. No matter what, it’s always a hit. A few ideas for how to serve Greek orzo pasta salad…

  • Enjoy it on its own as a light meal. Perfect for a hot day when you need something simple with minimal cooking!
  • Add extra protein to make the dish a bit heartier. Grill Greek marinated chicken or shrimp or toss in some leftover rotisserie chicken – easy & delicious!
  • Make it a superstar side at a Sunday potluck or a summer gathering with friends. Greek pasta salad is perfect alongside Grilled Lemon Chicken, Grilled Turkey Burgers, or Perfectly Grilled Sausage.

I can’t wait for you to try this Greek Orzo Pasta Salad! It’s always a hit & I know you’ll be as obsessed as we are! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Love a good pasta salad? Wow at your next summer potluck with Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken & Veggies, Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad, Creamy Vegan Southwest Pasta Salad, & Creamy Vegan Italian Pasta Salad. ♡ Happy cooking!

Print
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A large white bowl with scalloped edges is filled assembled and mixed greek orzo pasta salad. The bowl sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a yellow and white linen napkin partially tucked underneath on one side. Two blue glasses rest alongside the bowl at center, one rests atop a wicker coaster.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad with Creamy Tzatziki Dressing

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Pasta Recipes, Entree Salads & Bowls, Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

During the summer months, there’s truly nothing better than pasta salad! (Can we all agree to a collective hat tip to whoever decided we can swap lettuce with pasta & still call it a salad?! Recipe development brilliance! 😉) 

This particular Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is such a crowd-pleaser. Inspired by classic Greek salad, it’s loaded with the fresh flavor of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, olives, & feta cheese. You’ll notice it strays from tradition a little bit, making use of roasted red peppers for a tender bite & mild-yet-meaty castelvetrano olives. Toss it all with orzo or your short pasta of choice & a creamy-dreamy tzatziki-inspired yogurt dressing. 

What you’ll really appreciate about this Greek pasta salad is its flexibility. It’s great cold or at room temp, perfect for entertaining or a simple at-home dinner, & it pairs with just about everything you want to eat during the summer months. Refer to the blog post, above, for some serving inspiration & refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for easy tweaks to accommodate dairy-free, vegan, & gluten-free diets. 

Happy pasta salad season! ♡


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces orzo or short pasta of choice
  • creamy tzatziki dressing (below)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 mini cucumbers, diced (about 1 1/2 cups diced)
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 6 ounces pitted castelvetrano olives or kalamata olives, drained & torn in half or roughly chopped
  • 6 ounces roasted red pepper, drained, rinsed, patted dry & diced
  • 6 ounces feta, patted dry & cubed or crumbled
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

for the creamy tzatziki dressing:

  • 2 mini cucumbers, grated (about 1/2 cup grated)
  • 5 ounces plain Greek yogurt (about 3/4 cup, 2% or full-fat recommended)
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

Instructions

  1. Cook the orzo: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is cooked to al dente according to package directions, about 7-8 minutes. Drain & immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside to drain well.Cooked orzo pasta from DeLallo rests inside of a white colander after being drained. A single gold fork rests inside of the pasta and the colander sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A bag of DeLallo orzo pasta and a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt surround the colander at center.
  2. Veggie prep: Meanwhile, as the orzo cooks, prep the remaining ingredients starting with the onion. Place the finely diced red onion in a small bowl & squeeze the lemon juice over top. Stir to combine & set aside to sit as you prepare the remaining ingredients. Slice the tomatoes, dice the cucumbers, tear or roughly chop the olives, etc. Once all of your ingredients are prepped, drain the lemon juice from the onions & discard.How to make greek pasta salad, step 2: Prep the veggies. Torn castelvetrano olives, chopped cucumber, and halved cherry tomatoes rest atop a white plastic cutting that sits atop a white textured surface. Diced roasted red pepper and diced red onion fill two separate ceramic bowls that surround the cutting board. A chef's knife rests atop the cutting board and two lemon halves rest atop and near the diced red onion.
  3. Prep the creamy tzatziki dressing: Placed the grated cucumber on a kitchen towel (or a few sturdy paper towels). Wring the towel over the sink to squeeze excess water out of the cucumbers; there will be a lot! Transfer the cucumbers to a medium bowl. Add the plain Greek yogurt, lemon zest & juice, garlic, dill, & olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Taste & adjust seasoning as desired or stir in 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin out the consistency as desired. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  4. Assemble Greek orzo pasta salad: To a large bowl, add the orzo, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, roasted red pepper, & feta. Pour the creamy tzatziki dressing over top. Toss to combine. Taste & adjust seasonings as desired. Serve immediately at room temperature or chill to serve cold. Enjoy!A large white bowl with scalloped edges is filled assembled and mixed greek orzo pasta salad garnished with fresh dill. The bowl sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a yellow and white linen napkin partially tucked underneath on one side. Two blue glasses rest alongside the bowl at center, one rests atop a wicker coaster.


Notes

  • Serving Suggestions: This Greek orzo pasta salad is great served at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy it on its own as a light & fresh vegetarian meal, or serve as an awesome summer side dish with Greek chicken, grilled lemon chicken, turkey burgers, grilled sausages, & more – whatever you love!
  • Make-Ahead & Storage: Leftover Greek orzo pasta salad is best when served within 3 days of assembly, though it’ll keep for up to 5 days. Store the assembled Greek pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • 20-Minute Meal Prep: This Greek orzo pasta salad comes together pretty quickly, but if you’d like to do a little prep work in advance to help cut down on the active prep time when you make your pasta salad, chop the veggies &/or make the creamy tzatziki dressing:
    • Prep the creamy tzatziki dressing according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (approx. 10 minutes active prep)
    • Prep the veggies according to the Ingredients List, above: finely dice 1/2 medium red onion, halve or quarter cherry tomatoes, & dice mini cucumbers & roasted red pepper. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (approx. 10 minutes active prep)

Keywords: greek salad pasta salad, greek pasta salad, summer pasta salad recipes

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by KJ & Company, Kate Poskochil

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest for more easy, modern recipes & fun!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 7.31.22
    Amanda said:

    This was fantastic! Did not change anything. Will definitely be making again.

    • 8.1.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thank you, Amanda! It’s really such a fun twist on pasta salad & we are so glad you loved it as much as we do!

  2. 6.7.22
    Sarah said:

    This was so yummy! Perfect blend of flavors and just enough dressing. I substituted the roasted red peppers with marinated artichoke hearts because that’s what I had on hand, but that’s what I love about this recipe: you can really change it up based on what you have in the pantry for a super quick salad. This will be on regular rotation this whole summer – thank you!

    • 6.7.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      It sounds perfect, Sarah! Thank you for sharing & for your kind words, we’re SO glad you loved it!

  3. 6.5.22
    Ellie said:

    WOWOWOWOWOWOW! I made this last night for a cookout with friends and it was a huge hit! I am a big fan of Greek flavors and this pasta salad hit the spot. The tzatziki dressing was so creamy and delicious. I have celiac and couldn’t find and GF orzo, but I used Banza chickpea pasta and it was perfect! Will be making this on repeat all summer long.

    • 6.6.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Ellie! So glad you loved it & it was a hit! You can never go wrong with Greek-inspired anything in our book!

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A side angle shot of pasta tossed in San Marzano tomato sauce that is plated on a creamy white speckled plate. The pasta has been garnished with parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil. The plate sits atop a creamy white surface with a light blue linen napkin tucked underneath the plate. A set of silverware rests alongside the plate and a few loose basil leaves and a small wooden pinch bowl filled with parmesan cheese rest just above the plate.