This easy Shrimp Orzo Pasta Salad recipe combines beautiful Mediterranean flavors and is just bursting with color. Both delicious and simple to make, this is a meal that is destined to be on repeat in your kitchen. The perfect crowd pleaser.
Make Ahead. Potluck Friendly. Great for Picnics. Easy Entertaining.
Easy Shrimp Orzo Salad
This wonderfully vibrant dish is as delicious as it is colorful.
Full of fresh ingredients, and just bursting with flavor, you are going to need a handful of simple, easy-to-find ingredients.
It can be made ahead of time and kept stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, making it perfect for easy entertaining, or for taking along to a picnic or potluck.
Add the following to your shopping list and let's get started:
- orzo (risoni): this is a wonderful little rice-shaped small pasta that can usually be found alongside other pasta in the supermarket
- peeled and deveined shrimp (prawns): for ease, I buy peeled and deveined shrimp for this recipe, however, you could buy fresh and peel them yourself if you feel so inclined
- cherry tomatoes: why not look for a blend with a variety of colors to make the salad pop even more
- cucumber: I use Lebanese cucumber, but any variety would work
- red onion
- flat-leaf parsley: fresh is best
- dill: fresh is best
- garlic: again, fresh is best, but you can use prepared garlic if preferred
- lime: fresh lime is best, however, bottled lime juice can be used in a pinch. Fresh lemon juice works wonderfully also if that is what you have on hand
- olive oil: I use extra virgin
- oregano: I tend to prefer dried oregano for this recipe, however fresh would work if you have it
- Feta cheese: look for the more solid Greek feta as opposed to the creamy Danish. Goat cheese would work here as an alternative.
A sprinkle of salt and some black pepper will also be used to give it a bit of pep.
Of course, you can change this orzo salad up and add some more chopped veggies if you like.
Colored bell peppers work wonderfully in this salad, as do artichoke hearts, olives or a sprinkle of green onions when serving.
Cooking and Assembly Instructions
Start yourself off by grabbing a large bowl.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then add in your orzo fand cook according to the package directions. This can vary between different brands but tends to take roughly 6-7 minutes for al dente pasta.
Once it is cooked, give it a good rinse in a colander under cool water, until all of the starches have been removed.
Add the pasta to the large bowl, along with a drizzle of olive oil, and give everything a good stir. This prevents the pasta from clumping together.
While the pasta is cooking get started on the salad dressing.
Add all of the fresh herbs, olive oil, lime juice, and garlic to a food processor and blitz until everything is well combined.
Add to the bowl with the pasta and give everything a good stir to make sure it is all well combined.
To that bowl, you will want to add all of your lovely chopped veggies. The cucumber, cherry tomato halves, thinly sliced onion, and cubed feta can all be thrown in once they have been prepared.
For the best flavor, pop the salad into the fridge and allow to settle for a bit so the pasta can soak up all the lovely flavors of the dressing.
For the shrimp, you simply want to add it to a medium-sized bowl and mix it with the oregano, olive oil lime juice, and a pinch of salt and mix well to combine.
Let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
Add the shrimp to the hot skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Be mindful not to overcook, shrimp cooks quite quickly and can become quite dry if overcooked.
Allow the shrimp to come to room temperature before adding it to the rest of the salad, stir to combine, and you are good to go.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
I like to serve this salad cold, so always pop it into the fridge for about half an hour after preparing, giving it sufficient time to cool down.
Top with some lemon zest, a sprinkle of fresh dill and you are good to go.
It makes the perfect little side dish with some grilled chicken breasts or grilled fish and pairs wonderfully with some garlic bread if you are serving up as a main dish and want something on the side.
TIP: be sure to pop the salad into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to give it enough time to cool down.
And now for some handy tips:
- If you are using frozen shrimp, make sure that it is thawed completely before starting the recipe. Once it has thawed, pat it with a paper towel until completely dry before adding the marinade.
- Make sure the pan is hot before adding the shrimp.
- Shrimp cook quickly, so don’t walk away. Shrimp will be pink and translucent and curl slightly when they are done.
Any leftovers should be stored in the fridge and given a quick stir to loosen up the ingredients when serving up the next day.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This salad does not freeze well so I would not reccomend freezing it.
If you would like to prep some elements ahead of time, the dressing can be made ahead of time and frozen.
It will keep well in a freezer friendly container in the freezer for about 3 months.
More Shrimp Recipes
If your house is anything like mine, everyone gets excited when shrimp is on the dinner menu, especially in the summer months.
After you have tried this vibrant summer salad, why not try one of these delicious recipes next?
The Cajun shrimp pasta is a firm favorite in our house, and so easy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Gluten-free orzo can usually be found in the health section or specialty section of most well-stocked grocery stores, and can be used in place of regular orzo in this recipe.
Mediterranean Shrimp Orzo Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces (225g) orzo pasta
- ½ pinch flat leaf parsley
- ½ pinch fresh dill
- 1 garlic clove peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 lime cut in half
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 cucumber cut into half moons
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup feta cheese cut into small cubes
- 1 lb (500g) peeled and blanched shrimp
- 1 tablespoons oregano
- salt to taste
- To prepare the pasta, add water to a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt, pop on the lid, and bring the water to a boil.8 ounces (225g) orzo pasta
- Once boiling, add the orzo pasta and cook according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, pour the pasta into a colander and place over cold running water.
- Add the cooked orzo to a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.
- To a food processor add the parsley, dill, 2 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, juice of half a lime, and salt about ½ teaspoon salt.½ pinch flat leaf parsley, ½ pinch fresh dill, 1 garlic clove, 1 lime, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt to taste
- Pulse until finely chopped and then add to the cooked orzo along with the prepared cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and feta cheese. Stir well to combine and set aside.1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 red onion, ½ cup feta cheese
- Clean the shrimp well.
- Place in a bowl with the oregano, the juice of the other half of the lime, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir well to combine.1 lb (500g) peeled and blanched shrimp, 1 lime, 1 tablespoons oregano, 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat a pan on high. Add a teaspoon of olive oil, and cook the shrimp. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Add the shrimp to the orzo salad and toss again. Serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.