Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

Shaped like a grain of rice but with the textural qualities of pasta, it’s easy to see why orzo is such a versatile ingredient. Indeed, whether in a casserole, salad or “risotto”, orzo performs admirably, adding a touch of lightness and a smooth texture to every dish. One of its finest qualities, however, is just how quickly it can be prepared. From start to finish this fresh herb salad should only take you 10 minutes to prepare, making it a great choice for anyone who’s in something of a rush.

The grain shape of orzo makes it particularly effective in sauce based dishes, or those with a dressing. It tends to be the case that the larger the surface area of pasta, the better it “holds” sauce between each piece. For instance, this salad contains plenty of olive oil mixed with a twist of lemon juice and the orzo does a great job of suspending that vinaigrette and preventing it from falling uselessly to the bottom of the salad bowl. However, if you’re finding it a little tricky to find orzo – it can be – macaroni or fusilli would be a great way of getting around that.

Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

As you can see from the ingredients list below this is a very simple salad – I enjoy simplicity. However, the great thing about food is that everyone has a different opinion on how things ought to be done. Try toasting a few roughly chopped pine nuts and scattering them into the salad bowl with a smidge of parmesan for a slightly richer, more complex flavour. Whichever way you choose to serve this salad, a good quality olive oil and plenty of punchy herbs will ensure it’s a delicious experience for all.

Local connection: Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, a superb little food festival will be running in Queen’s Square, Bristol from 13th – 27th May. Featuring some of the region’s top chefs, the pop up restaurant, cafe and music venue aims to showcase the best culinary experiences Bristol has to offer. Tickets seems to be selling out pretty quickly, so if you want to get in on the action now’s the time to get the ball rolling (the organic Sunday carvery courtesy of the Pony & Trap seems to be a particularly good deal with prices starting from £10). However, if you’re feeling obnoxiously lucky head over to the event’s Facebook page before May 17th to enter for free tickets to the event.

Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

Serves 4


• 200g orzo pasta

• 4-5 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil

• A twist of lemon juice

• 5-6 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs – basil, mint, coriander, parsley or chives

• 10-12 cherry tomatoes quartered

• ½ tsp salt

• A little black pepper


1. Bring your orzo to the boil in a pan of salted water. Add your finely chopped herbs, oil, salt and pepper to a large salad bowl and mix thoroughly.

Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

2. Once the orzo is tender drain it and rinse it with cold water until cool – this will have the added effect of removing excess starch. Add the pasta and tomatoes to the herbs, mix thoroughly and serve.

Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

Cost: Good quality olive oil is expensive, there’s no getting around that. However, a great idea is to have an olive pomace oil blend on hand for frying and baking – keep the extra virgin for drizzling. Indeed, a bottle of good olive oil can last a long time if used sensibly. Indeed, this salad should set you back no more than around £1!

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42 comments on “Orzo and Fresh Herb Salad

  1. cookinginsens
    May 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Your photos are just more and more fabulous Frugal. Lovely!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      A compliment indeed coming from you, Rosemary.

  2. personalpilot
    May 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Yum! Something I can make in Costa Rica where I don’t have an oven!!

  3. Anita Flowers - House of Angels
    May 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Looks Divine …

  4. countrywoodsmoke
    May 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    A wonderful ingredient used admirably in this lovely recipe, and beautifully photographed.

  5. Andrea Mynard
    May 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I love orzo, use it in a River Cottage dish with anchovies, parsley, lemon juice and sardines. This looks like a lovely way to use it though, perfect with all the Spring herbs that are growing fast.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      That sounds absolutely delicious – it really does.

  6. FarAway Peach Garden (世外桃源)
    May 13, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Very appetizing…

  7. emmycooks
    May 13, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I love anything with an herb-infused olive oil. This recipe makes me wish I hadn’t had dinner already!

  8. IRENA
    May 13, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Looks super yummy!

  9. miaeurope
    May 13, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Wow, it looks very delicious!

  10. Francesca
    May 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Orzo is the best! I love your idea to make an herb melody :)

  11. PortlyGourmet
    May 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

    That looks incredible! I’ve never tried Orzo before, i think i may have to now though!!


  12. NativeNM
    May 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    What a great looking salad for Spring! Looks delicious!

  13. Corina
    May 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Really delicious looking for summer. It would be a delicious side dish for a barbecue.

  14. taplatt
    May 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    This look great! I’ve never really worked with orzo but you just may have inspired me…

  15. Conor Bofin
    May 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Orzo – Another new thing for me to try. Very nice photography indeed.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      I think you’d like orzo very much! Thanks, Conor.

  16. baconbiscuit212
    May 14, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Looks absolutely lovely, Nick!

  17. Shari
    May 14, 2013 at 7:57 am

    This looks lovely…and the photos are incredible! So crisp…

  18. Green Door Hospitality
    May 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Sounds delicious and perfect for a summer evening!

  19. Laura
    May 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Oh lovely, time for spring! My favorite pasta shape as well.

  20. Lazy Suzan
    May 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    ^ I agree! Perfect for Spring!

  21. Arthur in the Garden!
    May 21, 2013 at 3:08 am

    OH! That looks most yummy!

  22. Natalie Ward
    May 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I am loving orzo at the moment too! It’s such an easy base to add flavours to. Will go with your rinsing tip next time, usually just add the flavourings to the warm pasta but can see it would keep better being rinsed, thanks! 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Indeed! It works better with the herbs if cold. They go odd otherwise.

  23. Lilly Sue
    May 23, 2013 at 4:37 am

    I love the simplicity of this salad…love the addition of all the herbs too. They always make a huge difference with your taste buds :)

  24. spree
    June 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Sometimes simplicity just = perfection. Like now.

  25. Beryl J. Lindsay
    June 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Now that the kids are on summer vacation we spend a lot of time at the beach and need some good picnic food. This salad is fun and easy to make and you can make it with any vegetables and server it warm or cold. It travels well without spoiling because it has olive oil instead of heavy mayonnaise. The kids love it because I let them pick out the color of the orzo (red, white, green) and the vegetables that we use. One time we had spinach orzo with yellow corn and red tomatoes. Today we are having white orzo with green peas, artichoke and white beans with lemon flavored olive oil. You can add chicken or shrimp to either dish if you have some way to keep it cold until you serve it at the beach.

  26. lambyknits01
    July 12, 2013 at 3:08 am

    This would be a perfect side dish for grilled chicken or fish! I’m pinning this one – thanks for sharing :)

    • frugalfeeding
      August 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Pin away – particularly good for fish and lamb actually!

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