Step aside Skittles, it’s time to taste the rainbow! This lemon orzo with feta features a rainbow of beautiful roasted veggies, perfectly cooked orzo, chunks of salty feta and a simple lemon dressing. It is the loveliest warm salad inspired by the queen herself, Ina Garten.

bowl of lemon orzo with feta

I don’t get to watch the Food Network very often (because we do not have cable TV) but whenever I’m at my mother-in-law’s house I always turn it on. A few years ago I saw Ina make this lemon orzo salad recipe and I knew I had to make it immediately. It’s one of those recipes you just vaguely memorize and do it a little differently each time you make it. It’s very forgiving and turns out fabulous every time.

What’s to love about this lemon orzo with feta?

If you follow me on social media, you know I’m a HUGE fan of eating a ton of colorful veggies. It is question I ask with nearly every single meal, “how can I add more color?” Not only is colorful food fun to eat, it is the absolute best way to fill our bodies with vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants, polyphenols. Why are these nutrients important? Too many reasons to count!

The micronutrients in colorful vegetables:

  • help fight against chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • help boost immunity and our resiliency when we do get sick
  • improve hair, skin, nail and bone health
  • reduce systemic inflammation

Lemon orzo with feta and veggies is a simple light lunch, perfect side dish or crowd-pleasing vegetarian main dish! It also works well for meal prep and keeps in the fridge up to four days.

baking sheet with red onion, zucchini, yellow squash and bell pepper

Here’s what you need to make this easy orzo salad:

Vegetables: honestly, whatever fresh veggies you love! I like red onion, zucchini, yellow squash and colorful bell peppers. I usually add a handful of baby spinach at the end with lots of herbs like fresh basil and green onions.

Orzo: this simple rice-shaped pasta is the base of the salad and soaks up all of the amazing flavor from the veggies and lemon dressing.

Dressing: this simple lemon vinaigrette combines lemon juice, good quality olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. How easy is that? <said in my best Ina voice>

Feta: I highly recommend getting the block of feta as it has infinitely better flavor than the pre-crumbled kind. Costco has a big pack of block feta for a great price but you can find it at regular grocery stores as well.

How to make this lemon orzo with feta:

Veggies: Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Drizzle veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Use your hands to really get the veggies coated with oil and seasoning. Roast veggies for 25 minutes until crispy and golden brown around the edges.

Dressing: Whisk together fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. If you want, you can add a little lemon zest! Season additionally with salt and pepper if needed.

Assembly: Toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes, careful not to burn! Fill large saucepan or dutch oven with 4 quarts of cold water and a very large pinch kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cook orzo per package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Toss several tablespoons of the dressing immediately with the hot pasta. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, chunks of feta and extra dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or room temperature.

close up of roasted vegetables, orzo and pine nuts

Variation ideas:

There are countless ways to switch things up and make this meal exactly how you like it!

  • Add other vegetables! Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage all roast up beautifully. Other nutritious add-ins include diced English cucumber, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • For a boost of plant-based protein fold in a can of white beans or chickpeas. For a boost of heart-healthy animal protein serve this up with roasted salmon.
  • To make this gluten-free, swap out the orzo for a naturally gluten-free grain like quinoa or brown short grain rice.
  • More herbs never hurt and add lots of flavor and nutrition. Try fresh parsley, fresh dill or oregano.

FAQs

Can I make this with quinoa?

Sure! I think this works great with farro, quinoa, pearl couscous or even rice.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Some yummy alternatives to feta are parmesan cheese, marinated mozzarella balls or goat cheese.

How do I increase the protein?

Serve this alongside roasted or grilled salmon, chicken, lamb, steak or pork tenderloin. You could also add a can of white beans or garbanzo beans.

How should I store the leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. 

bowl with orzo, roasted vegetables, fresh basil, chunks of feta

If you love a good feta recipe make sure to check out these other easy dinners:

Watch how to make lemon orzo with feta:

So here we go! This recipe is GOOD and full of bright flavors. Roasted vegetables. Salty feta cheese. Super fresh herbs. Perfectly al dente orzo. And a luscious lemon dressing. It is truly balanced and full of fresh flavors. Thank you Ina!

If you make this, be sure to leave a star rating and comment down below, thank you! 🙏🏻 And I love to see your creations so make sure to come find me on Instagram!

Print
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Lemon Orzo with Feta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 9 reviews
  • Author: Erica
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This vegetarian pasta dish is loaded with roasted veggies, fresh herbs and feta and a simple lemon dressing really makes it sing!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Veggies

  • 1/2 large red onion, large dice
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, for a little kick!)

Assembly

  • 1/2lb orzo, uncooked
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 8oz block feta, cubed

Instructions

Veggies

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Drizzle veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Use your hands to really get the veggies coated with oil and seasoning. Roast veggies for 25 minutes until crispy and golden brown around the edges.

Dressing

Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Season additionally with salt and pepper if needed.

Assembly

Toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes, careful not to burn! Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Toss several tablespoons of the dressing immediately with the hot pasta. Add the roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, chunks of feta and the rest of the dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or room temperature. ENJOY!


Notes

Refer to above blog post for ingredient substitution ideas and answers to frequently asked questions.

Recipe slightly adapted from the queen herself!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
  • Calories: 271
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 254 mg
  • Fat: 15.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.6 g
  • Fiber: 2.1 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 16.7 mg

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