5 from 4 votes

Chickpea Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing

 August 7, 2022

Now THIS is a summertime dish that you are going to LOVE; my Chickpea Orzo Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing is a bright, vibrant, refreshing take on your traditional pasta salad recipe. Except this time, we’re swapping out large noodles for playful orzo, and adding in plenty of fresh veggies and citrus to keep this dish light and exciting. Plus, it’s vegan-optional and comes together in just a few simple steps. Easy!

A bowl of the chickpea orzo salad, witting on a napkin on a table. A second plate of salad and a fork can be seen in the background.

Friends, we have officially hit the dog days of summer, aka those long summer days where the sun rises early, sets late, and beach days are an absolute “must.” In the spirit of the season, I’ve found myself spending less time making complicated meals in my kitchen, and instead favoring simple and light dishes that come together in just a few minutes. It’s only only a “recipe” for beating the heat, but also for making the most of those long days spent outside.

And when it comes to this time of year, there are a few flavors that I just absolutely love to include in my dishes. First, bright citrus flavors, like lemon, really takes center stage this season. Second, I love seasonal fruits, like watermelon and peaches. And finally, I love to round out my veggies with a light and tangy cheese. It’s the perfect way to add some extra protein to a dish, without making it super heavy!

If you’re looking for more simple, light, and refreshing meals this summertime, then this is the perfect recipe to add to your repertoire. In fact, it may just be my favorite summertime “salad” recipe yet!

A large bowl of the chickpea orzo salad, sitting on a countertop. A larger bowl with more salad, a cutting board, and various ingredients can be seen in the background.

What You Need to Make This Delicious & Fun Orzo Salad

The most beautiful part about this recipe, aside from its rainbow of colors, is the fact that it comes together with just a few simple ingredients!

  • Orzo: Orzo is a short-cut pasta that looks like a large grain of rice. It’s a delicious form of pasta to eat when you don’t want to feel super full and sluggish!
  • Chickpeas: Make sure your chickpeas are rinsed and dried well, for this recipe. And don’t forget to save the water from that can of chickpeas! You can use it to make a homemade vegan mayonnaise!
  • English Cucumber: English cucumber is cool and crunchy, which is exactly what we want in a summertime salad!
  • Feta Cheese: Feta is one of the perfect cheeses for the summertime. It’s tangy, it’s delicious, and I find it’s gentler on my stomach than other dairy products are, especially if it’s a sheep’s milk feta. If you are vegan, you can omit this, or substitute it for a vegan feta alternative.
  • Red Onion: I love the taste of raw red onions in this recipe! Just be sure to dice them thin.
  • Raw Almonds: Raw almonds add a kick of plant-based protein and healthy fats, while also adding a crunchy element to this salad.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is loaded with delicious healthy fats, to keep your skin glowing all summer long!
  • Lemon: The juice of one fresh lemon adds the perfect amount of “zing” to this dressing.
  • Herbs & Seasonings: To season our dressing, we’ll be using a combination of fresh dill, garlic, sea salt, cumin, and ground black pepper. Yum!

How to Make This Perfect Summertime Orzo Salad & Dressing

Making this salad couldn’t be any easier! Simply start by heating pot of water over the stove, and cooking your orzo according to the package directions.

Next, while the orzo is cooking, prepare your other ingredients. Chop your cucumber and almonds, dice your onion, drain and rinse your chickpeas, and crumble your feta cheese. Place them in a bowl and set aside.

Once the orzo is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water to remove the extra starches. Add it to the bowl with the rest of your ingredients, then prepare the dressing by whisking the dressing ingredients together in a separate small bowl, until fully incorporated.

When the dressing is finished, pour it over the bowl with the orzo and toss to fully combine. Serve immediately, or store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! And, since I practically live on Instagram, be sure to tag me in your creations so that I can repost them! xx

** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A bowl of the chickpea orzo salad, witting on a napkin on a table. A second plate of salad and a fork can be seen in the background.
Refined Sugar Free

Chickpea Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing

5 from 4 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
SERVES 6 Servings
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Now THIS is a summertime dish that you are going to LOVE; my Chickpea Orzo Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing is a bright, vibrant, refreshing take on your traditional pasta salad recipe. Except this time, we're swapping out large noodles for playful orzo, and adding in plenty of fresh veggies and citrus to keep this dish light and exciting. Plus, it's vegan-optional and comes together in just a few simple steps. Easy!

Ingredients

For the Orzo Salad:

  • 1 Cup Uncooked Orzo
  • 1 15 oz Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 English Cucumber chopped; this is about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 Cup Feta Cheese crumbled; or substitute a vegan feta cheese alternative.
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion diced
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Almonds chopped

For the Lemon-Dill Dressing:

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon juiced; this is approximately three tablespoons
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Dill finely chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic mashed or minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Start by heating a pot of water over the stove and cooking your orzo according to the package directions.
  • Next, while the orzo is cooking, prepare your other salad ingredients. Chop your cucumber and almonds, dice your onion, crumble your feta cheese, and place the ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Then, once the orzo is done, drain it well and rinse it with cold water to remove all of the excess starches. Then, add it to the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • In a separate small bowl, prepare your dressing by whisking together all of your dressing ingredients until they're fully combined.
  • Finally, pour your dressing over the salad and toss until all of the ingredients are fully combine and coated in the dressing. Serve immediately, or store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. 5 stars
    As usual, this Kale Junkie recipe is a total hit! It did take me more than 10 minutes of prep, but start to finish this recipe took me only about 30 minutes which I’m perfectly happy with. The flavors are so delicious together and it’s a perfect recipe for spring and summer. Thank you for another delicious meal idea! Will definitely make again.

    • I am so glad you enjoyed it, Caroline! Thank you so much for making it and for leaving such a kind review!

  2. Love this recipe-I’ve been making it for a couple years now and its always a hit! the combo of flavors is fresh and light and super tasty! Its great as a meal prep salad!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight after a hot summer day and it was perfect. The only change I made was I subbed quinoa in place of the orzo, and the dressing flavors were incredible. I also followed your method for making the perfect quinoa which turned out 100%. Thank you, Nicole!

    • Yum! That sounds like a delicious addition to this recipe, Elizabeth! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

  4. Okay YUM! Made a few modifications and it was bomb. I’m not a dill fan so I subbed fresh basil (omitted the cumin) and used a basil infused olive oil. 10/10, I’ll be making this on repeat!

  5. This was amazing and a great way to use up the dill and cucumbers from my garden! I did alter a bit due to what I had on hand in the house, such as I only had one small lemon so I zested that then used the juice as well as about 3 tbsp. of white balsamic vinegar. I also added 1 tbsp. of agave to mellow out the other flavors and I also only had slivered toasted almonds and used those. Definitely will be making this often!

    • I’m so glad you found a modification that worked with what you already had, Lacey! Thank you so much for making this recipe, and for leaving such a kind review!

  6. This was delicious and overflowing with flavor!! Definitely will put this on regular rotation. 👍🏻 Can’t wait for your cookbook to release!!

    • Woohoo!! I am so thrilled to hear that, Anne! Thank you for making this recipe, and I can’t wait until my cookbook is in your hands!

  7. Love your recipes. One thing I would recommend is writing in what a serving size is (I.e. 1/2 cup) but other than that I get excited when I see a new recipe from you.