Lemon Orzo Salad

by Jo

I. LOVE. Orzo. Why is it so good? It’s absolute heaven in the Winter cooked with red meats, and it’s just as incredible in the Summer served cool with fresh flavours. Orzo is amazing. I hereby commit to eating more of it and filling my heart and belly with joy as a result.

Here the mighty orzo is doing wonderful things in the form of a delicious summer pasta salad. There’s layers to this dish with a hum of roasted garlic, a generous infusion of lemon, shavings of salty parmesan, jewels of sweet pomegranate and the fresh aroma of fresh basil. This lemon orzo salad is perfect for Summer meals and especially for BBQ sides.

Lemon Orzo Salad Recipe

I’ve made this a big batch recipe suitable for 6-8 people – so ideal for entertaining at BBQs. This is a wonderfully versatile side dish which goes well with all kinds of meats, so you could even make this in bulk to enjoy for a good few stress-free dinners.

Ingredients

  • Serves 8
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • 500g Orzo
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1 large red onion, grated
  • Large bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Half a bag of rocket
  • Parmesan shavings
  • 1 pomegranate

Method

This lemon orzo salad has the mellow hum of roasted garlic, rather than the powerful kick of it raw. Add your garlic cloves to the centre of some tin foil and cover generously with olive oil. Wrap them up and roast for 1 hour at 150c. When cooked they will be beautifully soft and aromatic. Remove from the foil and mash them up in a small bowl with a fork until a paste forms.

Cook your orzo in a large pot with plenty of boiling water (don’t be shy, orzo is thirsty) and the stock cubes. Stir well until the stock cubes have dissolved and stir regularly throughout cooking to prevent sticking. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and rinse any additional starch from the orzo.

Add your orzo to a large mixing bowl and drizzle on some olive oil to prevent sticking. Here’s the fun part! Add in your roasted garlic paste, dried mixed herbs, zest and juice of the lemons, grated onion, fresh basil and rocket. Give it all a good stir to evenly combine.

The parmesan and pomegranate can be measured with your heart. I like to use the slicing side of a box grater to create delicate shavings of parmesan which add a nice salty hit. The pomegranate jewels add a lovely fruity kick, plus they look really pretty so be sure to sprinkle some on top for garnish. Your lemon orzo salad is ready to go!

Recipe Overview

Lemon Orzo Salad

A delicious and vibrant pasta salad, the perfect Summer side dish
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: lemon orzo, orzo, pasta salad, salad
Servings: 8
Calories: 126kcal
Cost: £5.00

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Box grater
  • Zester

Ingredients

  • 8 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • 500 g Orzo
  • 2 Chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp Dried mixed herbs
  • 2 Lemons, juice and zest
  • 1 Red onion, large
  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil
  • 0.5 Bag of rocket leaves
  • Parmesan shavings
  • 1 Pomegranate

Instructions

  • Add your garlic cloves to the centre of some tin foil and cover generously with olive oil. Wrap them up and roast for 1 hour at 150c. Remove from the foil and mash them up in a small bowl with a fork until a paste forms.
  • Cook your orzo in a large pot with plenty of boiling water and the stock cubes. Stir well until the stock cubes have dissolved and stir regularly throughout cooking to prevent sticking. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and rinse any additional starch from the orzo.
  • Add your orzo to a large mixing bowl and drizzle on some olive oil to prevent sticking. Now add in your roasted garlic paste, dried mixed herbs, zest and juice of the lemons, grated onion, fresh basil and rocket. Give it all a good stir to evenly combine.
  • The parmesan and pomegranate can be measured with your heart. Use the slicing side of a box grater to create delicate shavings of parmesan. Mix through the pomegranate jewels leaving some to sprinkle on top for garnish.
  • Finish your lemon orzo salad with a garnish of lemon slices and a drizzle of olive oil.

Notes

This salad has the mellow hum of roasted garlic, rather than the powerful kick of it raw. Add your garlic cloves to the centre of some tin foil and cover generously with olive oil. Wrap them up and roast for 1 hour at 150c. When cooked they will be beautifully soft and aromatic. Remove from the foil and mash them up in a small bowl with a fork until a paste forms.
Cook your orzo in a large pot with plenty of boiling water (don't be shy, orzo is thirsty) and the stock cubes. Stir well until the stock cubes have dissolved and stir regularly throughout cooking to prevent sticking. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and rinse any additional starch from the orzo.
Add your orzo to a large mixing bowl and drizzle on some olive oil to prevent sticking. Here's the fun part! Add in your roasted garlic paste, dried mixed herbs, zest and juice of the lemons, grated onion, fresh basil and rocket. Give it all a good stir to evenly combine.
The parmesan and pomegranate can be measured with your heart. I like to use the slicing side of a box grater to crate delicate shavings of parmesan which add a nice salty hit. The pomegranate jewels add a lovely fruity kick, plus they look really pretty so be sure to sprinkle some on top for garnish.

Serving suggestion

I really like it when big mixed salads have a garnish to identify the key flavours. This lemon orzo salad looks wonderful finished off with some thin slices of lemon on top.

This lemon orzo salad is best served at room temperature, so if you have been storing it in the fridge take it out 30 minutes before serving to remove the chill.

If you make your lemon orzo salad the day before serving it will allow the flavours to develop overnight. If you choose this method I recommend adding the rocket leaves on the day of serving to prevent them from going soggy.

What is orzo?

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta, therefore in my opinion one of the ultimate carbs. It is made from durum wheat and is particularly popular in Greek cuisine. I love orzo because it holds its shape incredibly well and is extremely good at soaking up any flavours that you apply to it. For this reason I love to cook orzo in stock rather than just water to add some extra flavour to pasta salads.

Why grated onion?

Good question! For this lemon orzo salad I want the background hum of onion, without it being overpowering when you bite down on a raw onion piece. By grating you get a delicate, evenly distributed flavour without onion stealing the show.

How long can lemon orzo salad keep for?

I think this lemon orzo salad tastes best after being left overnight for the flavours to develop. But it will keep for one week in an airtight container in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing as salad doesn’t lend itself to this – you’ll end up with soggy leaves and nobody wants that.

Other salad recipes you might enjoy

Here’s some other salads which are ideal for Summer meals:

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