Orzo Salad with Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette

5 stars from 1 vote

Crunchy veggies and orzo pasta are tossed in a creamy, yogurt-dill vinaigrette, created a simple, delicious side dish. Perfect for entertaining or a brown-bag lunch, this orzo salad recipe can be made up to three days in advance.

orzo salad closeup

When the warm weather arrives in Michigan, I get so excited for outdoor farmers markets to re-open. I am not a gardener, but I do appreciate fresh veggies and the local farmers that work hard to produce them. Fresh peas, asparagus, rhubarb, and lettuces are my favorites to bring home during spring.

Liz cutting up dill for the yogurt dressing on orzo salad

I definitely prefer fresh herbs and vegetables for my recipes, but I know depending on your location and season they can be hard to come by. That’s okay! You can always substitute fresh peas for frozen, or fresh dill for dried.

cutting carrots

Growing up in a middle eastern household, plain yogurt was a staple in our refrigerator. I continue to eat it every single day and probably finish a 32-ounce container myself every week. It’s the perfect meat tenderizer, smoothie enhancer, or sour cream replacement on a sweet potato.

yogurt dill dressing

Plain yogurt can be used in any season in your recipes. This orzo salad with yogurt dill dressing is great for spring with fresh peas, but yogurt is also great in the fall with Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt Parfaits or Turkey Chili with Sriracha Yogurt Sauce. I add plain yogurt to top my Crock Pot Butternut Squash Soup and mixed into my Chocolate Banana Greek Yogurt Pancakes during the winter months, and cool, creamy yogurt is perfect in Veggie Wraps with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce and drizzled on top of Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce in the summertime.

How to make Orzo Dill Salad

First things first, prep your veggies. Wash, dice, chop and set aside for later. My husband requested carrots but use any fresh veggies that you can get your hands on such as radishes, celery, or red peppers.

dicing red onion

You can do the steps in any order, but I prefer to chop my veggies while the orzo is cooking to save time, but it truly doesn’t matter. In fact, every time I make this recipe, I change it up a bit depending on time.

stirring boiling orzo

Preparing the orzo is as simple as following the directions on the package. Orzo is similar to rice in its shape and size but is, in fact, a cut of pasta. You can also substitute with whole wheat orzo for extra fiber and protein or use quinoa to keep gluten free.

Bowl of cooked orzo

To be honest, this dish is more about the dressing than the pasta: fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon juice are whisked together with plain yogurt and silky olive oil to create a mouth-watering vinaigrette. Delicious on orzo, it would be just as good drizzled over grilled asparagus or roasted salmon.

squeezing lemon into dill dressing

When the orzo has about 2 minutes left, I’ll add the peas to the boiling pot for a quick flash cook. If you’re using frozen peas, you can thaw them or cook them – either way is fine.

adding peas to the dill orzo salad

I think this salad is best served chilled the same day as it’s made, but you can feel free to make it in advance. Just know that the orzo absorbs some of the dressing over time, so you may need to toss with extra olive oil right before serving.

Adding dill dressing to the orzo salad

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between orzo and rice?

Orzo is a type of pasta, similar to rice in its shape, size, and texture. It’s fairly high in calories, about 50% more than an equal serving of rice. Whole wheat orzo has more fiber and protein, which also makes it a great choice in this salad.

Can I substitute the veggies or orzo?

Absolutely. Use whatever pasta and vegetables you have on hand. I also love making this salad with radishes, red peppers, and celery.

What can I serve with Orzo Salad with Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette?

This salad is a great side dish for a summer barbecue or on its own as your lunch. I love pairing it with Honey Chipotle Grilled Chicken or something spicy like Tart Cherry Chinese BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders.

Do you cook the peas?

I usually throw my fresh peas in with the orzo the last few minutes of cooking. Saves a pot and lots of time.

Liz eating orzo salad with dill dressing

Your fork is waiting.

orzo salad bowl with dill and peas

Orzo Salad with Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette

5 stars from 1 vote
Orzo pasta is mixed with bright veggies and tossed in a creamy, yogurt-dill vinaigrette. Perfect for entertaining or a brown-bag lunch, this dish can be made up to 3 days in advance.
PREP: 10 mins
COOK: 10 mins
TOTAL: 20 mins
REVIEW PRINT
Servings: 8

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 medium carrots (diced)
  • 1 medium red onion (minced)

Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons parsley (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and cook orzo according to package instructions. When you have 2 minutes of cooking time remaining, add the peas to the pot. Strain peas and pasta and set aside.
  • At the bottom of a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette: yogurt through olive oil.
  • Add orzo, peas, carrots and onion to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss well to combine. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Notes

Dish can be made up to 3 days in advance if kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Over time, the pasta will absorb a bit of the vinaigrette so feel free to drizzle with a little extra olive oil or lemon juice or add a bit of salt if needed before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 50.3gProtein: 9.4gFat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 0.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.2gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 309mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5.5g
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE? Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!

25 thoughts on “Orzo Salad with Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette”

  1. What a fun opportunity! I think I’d keel over if I got to go on an ice cream tour… I can’t get enough frozen sweet treats right now! Also, this orzo is gorgeous goodness. I was just saying the other day how I need to make it more often – we love it1

  2. This salad looks wonderul and delicious! Our farmer’s market has iust started opening up too and I can’t wait to get there. Thanks for the recipe.

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