Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad

Light, fragrant, and delicious, this Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad is a wonderful accompaniment to so many dishes. The spice of the fresh basil mixed with the salty sunflower seeds makes a combination you won’t want to miss. All the flavors combine for a soft taste, nothing too overpowering. You won’t be disappointed when you make this salad.

Bowl of healthy orzo pasta salad with green onion stalk

Is orzo pasta healthier than rice?

Orzo is a small rice-shaped pasta. It resembles large grains of rice and is perfect for making light pasta dishes that go well with a variety of entrees. Orzo is commonly made from white flour, but it can be made from whole-grain flour as well, making it a healthier pasta option. Traditionally orzo is made from a coarser type of flour that is a high-protein durum wheat that contains an above-average amount of gluten. In short, orzo and rice are pretty comparable in health, with orzo being higher in protein but also higher in carbohydrates.

How long does Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad last in the fridge?

This specific recipe will last refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. To maximize the shelf life of cooked orzo for safety and quality, refrigerate the orzo in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. As the salad sits, it will slowly dry out. Be sure to have additional salad dressing on hand to mix in before each serving. It still tastes great!

Can Orzo Salad be frozen?

Yes! Since we didn’t use a cream-based dressing, you can freeze this dish. We personally do not feel it is quite as tasty when eaten after being frozen, but it is certainly an option if needed for your lifestyle. Be sure to keep in an air-tight container or ziplock bag. The healthy orzo pasta salad can be kept frozen for up to 1 month.

Ingredients for Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad

Ingredients for Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad

Cutting board with diced basil, arugula, tomatoes, and green onions.

How to make our Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad

Boil your orzo in chicken broth. You can also use vegetable broth!

While orzo is boiling, dice the basil, tomatoes, green onions, and arugula. Add to a large mixing bowl.

Once orzo is done cooking, strain and run cold water over top. This will keep the orzo from continuing to cook and also help cool down the orzo. You don’t want to mix it with the fresh ingredients until it has cooled to room temperature or cooler. (We place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process when we are low on time…which seems like always!)

Once orzo is cooled, add it to the mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients.

All ingredients in a bowl for the Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad with dressing being added.

If you are not serving right away, only add half of your dressing and give a good stir. Put in refrigerator, in a covered container.

When ready to serve, add the remaining amount of dressing to the bowl and serve!


The pasta salad may dry out a little as it sits in the refrigerator over time. All you need to do to bring it back to life is add small amounts of the vinaigrette, a little dressing at a time. Then it will be like you just made it!

Final of Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad

This healthy orzo pasta salad is what I bring to a lot of group gatherings. Since sunflowers are seeds, not nuts, I’m not worried about nut allergies for friends. It makes a pretty good size batch that can feed about 10 people easily. The feta is a more mild cheese than some others so it’s not an overwhelming flavor. The dressing we use is really the perfect compliment. We promise this salad won’t disappoint. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6

Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad

Healthy Orzo Pasta Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 12 oz Orzo
  • 6 C Chicken Broth
  • Garlic Expressions Dressings
  • 3 TBS Basil
  • 2 C Cherry Tomatoes
  • ½ C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 C Feta
  • 4 TBS Green Onions
  • 1 C Arugula


  1. Measure out your chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour orzo into boiling broth and cook for allotted time on your specific box.
  3. While orzo is boiling, dice your tomatoes, basil, green onions, and arugula. Set aside.
  4. When orzo is done cooking, strain all water out. Run cool water overtop to rinse the extra broth off as well as stopping the orzo from cooking.
  5. Let orzo completely cool before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Once orzo is room temp or cooler, add all diced ingredients, feta and sunflower seeds.
  7. Mix to incorporate everything.
  8. Add salad dressing immediately before serving.
  9. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 1846mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 12g

(Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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