Greek Style Grilled Shrimp Orzo Pasta Salad
This Greek style Lemony orzo pasta salad is filled with the best fresh and zesty flavours. Loaded with fresh herbs, grilled shrimp, veggies and feta. Perfect for serving as a main dish or side, and easy to customize with your favorite add-ins. It does not skimp on olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs.
Orzo pasta salads or orzo dishes in general are always a hit in my home. I wanted to share this one as it’s one I make a lot especially in the summer months when salads like these are perfect for salad-for-dinner weeknights! It’s also a great salad for picnics and cookouts because it can also be made ahead. It comes together nice and quickly. No grill no problem - see recipe notes below for more options. This could also be made meat free by just omitting the shrimp. It’s fabulous as a lemony veggie orzo salad too!
Greek style Lemony grilled shrimp orzo salad ingredients
Here’s what I used to make this pasta salad. But please feel free to sub in your favorite ingredients in any of these categories!
- orzo - or any short pasta shape/ gluten free or regular is fine
- veggies - cucumber, red onions, tomatoes
- herbs - my fav combination is dill, parsley and mint - but please chose the ones you love
- lemons - I like to use the zest and juice of 2-3 large lemons, but begin with 1 and see what you think
- olive oil, salt and pepper (don’t skimp on the S&P or the olive oil with this recipe)
- cheese - good feta crumbled or cubed works well here or you could also use goat cheese or mini bocconcini Also, I realized afterwards that some olives would be delicious in this salad. There is a lot going on in this one so feel free to add them in or leave them out
How to make the tastiest lemony orzo pasta salad:
- It couldn’t be easier. Simply start by cooking the orzo — since it’s small it takes no time to cook. While it cooks, get the rest of the ingredients chopped and prepped.
- When the orzo is cooked, drain it then place it in a large bowl and dress it right away while it’s still hot. Since we add the dressing while the pasta is warm, it absorbs all the delicious flavours of the lemony dressing.
- Season the shrimp and then grill them a couple of minutes on each side until they are cooked through.
- The final step is to add your favorite vegetables and remaining ingredients. I love cucumbers and tomatoes. Im also partial to throwing in lots of fresh herbs. This time, i used lots of chopped fresh mint, parsley and dill (what I call the Greek trifecta of herbs) but you can play around with your favorite herbs. Parsley, cilantro, tarragon and basil are all excellent options. Feel free to add extra veggies or olives too according to taste.
If you like this recipe you will love these:
For the the pasta salad
- 2 cups (340g) orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
- 2-3 lemons juiced and zested for salad and for shrimp (approx ½ cup lemon juice)
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 scallions, white and green parts minced
- 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I usually do a combination of dill, parsley and mint - plus more if you want it extra herby)
- 1 large cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced or 4 small Persian cucumbers diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup small red onion peeled and diced
- 200 grams good feta cheese, large diced (or more feta if desired)
For the grilled shrimp
- 1½ -2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like to leave the tails on)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ Teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
For the shrimp
- Toss shrimp with the olive oil chili flakes, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Make sure to oil the grill pan or grill grates. Place shrimp on the grill. Grill on each side for about two minutes or until no longer pink. Remove and set aside when done.
For the pasta salad:
- Cook orzo according to package directions then drain and pour into a large bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil to pasta and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the herbs,cucumber, red onion,scallions and toss well. Toss in some of the remaining lemon zest if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in the feta.
- Serve immediately or it can be left aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavours to blend. You can make ahead and refrigerate overnight but just make sure to leave out the tomatoes. Toss them in before serving the next day so they are fresh. If making ahead, taste again for seasoning and bring back to room temperature before serving.
- This is as VERY well dressed salad. We Greeks love our olive oil and our lemon juice. Please adjust amounts according to taste
- When it comes to the amount of herbs, or individual ingredients like the various veggies, onions and feta please adjust amounts according to taste as well.
- If you don’t have a grill or grill pan - have no fear! Simply give your shrimp a quick pan fry or roast them on a sheet pan in a preheated oven for 5-6 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart