Lemon Orzo Salad is a make ahead salad that is full of bright lemon flavor and is the perfect side dish when you’re grilling. It is meant to be served cold so you will have to plan ahead, but that just means you get to relax while the rest of the food is cooking!
The weather has been unusually mild, here in Arizona this year, and we have been soaking up every minute of it before the crazy summer temperatures hit. Great weather means that our grill has been working overtime. When the kids are outside playing and My Love is manning the grill, the last place I want to be is the kitchen.
So, I like to have My Love grill up some vegetables along with whatever meat we are having. But, when the weather is hot, I like to have something cold to balance out the meal and this Lemon Orzo Salad fits the bill every time. It is full of flavor, easy to pull together and it can sit in the fridge until you need it. Plus, I have yet to find a protein it doesn’t go with.
The key to this salad is dressing the orzo while it is still hot. The orzo absorbs the delicious lemon flavor as it cools and then it gets a second coating of the lemon dressing, which adds a depth of flavor to the salad. It is so incredibly delicious and refreshing.
I usually add cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions and parmesan cheese to my Lemon Orzo Salad, but any vegetable would be great with it. It is really versatile and you could really dump whatever you have in your fridge into it and it would likely turn out great. Plus, it is a great option for potlucks or picnics!
- 1 pound orzo
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Prepare the orzo to al dente, per package instructions.
- While the orzo is cooking, prepare the dressing by placing the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in a mason jar and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.
- When the orzo is done cooking, drain but do not rinse. Place the orzo in a large bowl and, while the orzo is still hot, top with half the dressing. Toss to coat the orzo in dressing. Allow the orzo to cool to room temperature, tossing once or twice to break up the clumps. Then place the orzo in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
- Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and parmesan cheese to the orzo. Then, pour the remaining dressing over top and toss to combine. Check the salad for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as necessary.
- Serve cold.
- The prepared salad can be refrigerated for up to a day before serving. Keep refrigerated.