Greek Orzo Salad with Olives, Cucumbers, & Feta

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Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese in a bowl with wood spoon!  It's combined with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

This is a recipe to make you go weak in the knees.  My Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese is seduction in a bowl!  Yes, I have been seduced and believe me, you will be too.  It’s creamy, tangy, crunchy, salty, fresh, bright, and irresistibly delicious.  The base here is Orzo, which is the perfect size and texture.  Cucumber brings a cool refreshing crunch.  The kalamata olives and feta bring the saltiness and tang that keep you coming back for more…and more…and more.   All of this goodness is combined with a creamy lemon dressing that’s bright and light!

Serve with my Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs!

This is a super easy recipe to make anytime because most of the ingredients come right out of your pantry or freezer!  Click here to get more pantry dinner ideas and  Pantry Must-Haves for Quick & Easy Dinners!

Spoonful of Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese over a bowl! It's combined with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Cold Salads are EASY Meal Prep

Meal Prep with all the identical containers so perfectly organized.  

identical meal prep containers.

Do you look at this and think, “beautiful!  But it ain’t gonna happen in my house”?  Well, if you have kids and are making family dinners, of course it’s not gonna happen!  

Thats where making one big bowl of something, whether its a soup, a stew, a casserole, or a salad, can make all the difference.  You can make one bowl that everyone can serve themselves from.

Or you can make one bowl for YOU for lunches throughout the week.  Here are some other favorite cold salad ideas for meal prep:

Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese in a bowl with lemon on side. It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just medium pot for boiling the Orzo.

And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD FOR YOUR GREEK ORZO SALAD

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details) 

For this recipe, you can prep the entire salad ahead!  It will last 5-6 days in your fridge so you can enjoy it all week long!

Start by cooking your Orzo until al dente, then strain and rinse it with cold water. Store in the fridge until ready to mix.Cooked Orzo in bowl for Greek Orzo Salad.

While the pasta is cooking, prep the other ingredients:  Slice your cucumber, pit and quarter your olives, slice the scallions, chop the cilantro, crumble Feta.  Note: You can substitute parsley in for the cilantro, but I love the bright flavor that cilantro brings to this salad!

Kalamata Olives being quartered for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.  It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light! Diced Cucumbers for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.  It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Once the pasta is cooled in a large bowl, add the cucumbers, olives, scallions, and feta.  I like to leave the cilantro out until the end.

Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, Scallions, and orzo all separate in bowl for Greek Orzo Salad.

Can I use another Pasta shape?

Yep!  I love Orzo because it’s such a small shape and size, so the dressing easily coats each and every piece.  Also the small shape allows the other ingredients to really stand out.  However, if you don’t have Orzo, you can use another small cut pasta, such as fusilli, rotini, ditalini, pene, or similar.

Do I have to use pasta?

Not at all!  You could use quinoa, rice, farro, or any other hearty grain you like!  If you want to skip the carbs all together, you could add in kale or other greens.  You could also make this into a meal by adding a protein such as chopped chicken breast or tuna or chickpeas.

PREP THE LEMON DRESSING

In a small mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.

Zest entire Lemon, then cut in half. Add the zest and juice from half of the lemon to the dressing. 

Zesting Lemon over bowl for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.

MIX & SERVE YOUR GREEK ORZO SALAD 

Mix the dressing and then add it to the orzo salad. Fold gently to completely combine.  Last fold in the fresh cilantro, saving some for garnish if you want.

Ingredients in bowl for Lemon dressing for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.

Pouring dressing over Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.  It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Cilantro added to Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.  It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Serve with cilantro garnish. This will last 5 days in the fridge!

ENJOY! 😍 Carrie

 

Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese in a bowl with spoon on side. It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Greek Orzo Salad with Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta

This Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese will make you go weak in the knees!  It's creamy, tangy, crunchy, salty, fresh, bright, and delicious.  It starts with Orzo pasta. Cucumber brings a cool refreshing crunch.  The kalamata olives and feta bring the saltiness and tang. All of this goodness is combined with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light! #greeksalad #orzosalad #pastasalad #picnicfood #summerrecipes #grillingsides #easysalads

Course pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Greek
Keyword feta, kalamata olives, meatless, orzo, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Salad

  • 8 oz Uncooked Orzo 2 cups cooked
  • 3/4 cup Kalamata Olives, Pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1/2 English Cucumber
  • 3 Scallions
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro You can substitute parsley

Lemon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

Prep Ahead Ingredients

  1. Boil a medium pot of water for the Orzo pasta. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a pinch of salt. Add the Orzo and stir. Boil the Orzo until al dente, about 5-8 minutes. Strain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Store in the fridge until ready to mix.

    Cooked Orzo in bowl for Greek Orzo Salad.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prep the other ingredients: Wash your English cucumber and then slice in half lengthwise. Cut each half in half again lengthwise so it's now quartered. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.

    Diced Cucumbers for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese. It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!
  3. If your Olives are not pitted and quartered, do that now.

    Kalamata Olives being quartered for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese. It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!
  4. Slice the scallions. Chop the cilantro. Crumble Feta if not already done.

  5. Once the pasta is cooled in a large bowl, add the cucumbers, olives, scallions, and feta. I like to leave the cilantro out until the end and fold it in after the dressing.

    Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, Scallions, and orzo all separate in bowl for Greek Orzo Salad.

Prep Ahead Lemon Dressing

  1. In a small mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.

    Adding minced garlic to Lemon dressing for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.
  2. Zest entire Lemon, then cut in half. Add the zest and juice from half of the lemon to the dressing.

    Zesting Lemon over bowl for Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.

Mix and Serve!

  1. Mix the dressing and then add it to the orzo salad. Fold gently to completely combine. Serve with cilantro garnish. This will last 5 days in the fridge!

    Cilantro added to Greek Orzo Salad with Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese. It's mixed with a creamy lemon dressing that's bright and light!

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs!

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Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a plate with Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs are so moist and bursting with big flavors from garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.  You can make them ahead and freeze for months.  Then simply bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!  Paired with a tangy and bright Tzatziki sauce and served over your favorite side, it’s the perfect dinner!

I mentioned that you can make these meatballs ahead and freeze them. I highly recommend doubling up on this recipe and immediately freezing half of the meatballs for another week or even month! If you like that idea, try these other Five, 5-Ingredient Freezable Dinners – with Grocery List!

Check out this easy tutorial video for these Greek Meatballs!

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball on fork dipped in Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Meatballs are a versatile Family Dinner!

If you’ve followed my recipes for a while then you know how much I love meatballs for dinner.  If not, welcome to my meatball world!  And when I say ‘world’ I really mean taking a trip around the world with Meatballs.  They are easy to make tons for family dinners and fill them with flavors from different cuisines.  

Here are links to some of my favorite Meatball Recipes:

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a plate with Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano. 

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11).

Oh, mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD FOR YOUR GREEK MEATBALLS

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the full recipe below)

For this recipe, you can prep all of the ingredients: mince the garlic, chop the parsley, slice the scallion, zest and juice the lime.  Follow the recipe for the details on this prep.  

One of the most fantastic things about these meatballs (aside from the taste) is that you can make them ahead.  To make the meatballs, just add the ground meat and all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine.  Then form meatballs using a heaping tablespoon of mixture for each.  Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or aluminum for easy clean-up.  Of course, you do not need to line the pan, but if not, then coat the bottom with olive oil.

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball ingredients in a bowl.  Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball ingredients in a bowl.  These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball ingredients in a bowl.   These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Raw Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a pan.  These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Can I swap another Meat for the Chicken?

Yep! Let start with chicken, as there are different kinds within the ‘chicken category’ to know about. There different types based on how the chickens are raised. I prefer the free-range chicken with no antibiotics used. This will be found on the label. Just because it says organic, doesn’t mean it was free range.

There are also different cuts used for the ground chicken, such dark meat cuts (thighs, legs) or white meat (breast). The white meat is leaner. Some ground chicken is a mix and some will say white meat only. I used 99% lean white meat ground chicken. However, you use any ground chicken variety.

You could use ground beef at any fat content you prefer (80%, 90%, etc.). Same thing applies to beef as with chicken. There is grass-fed, no-antibiotics, no hormones, etc. And of course you can use ground turkey.

Can I use other Fillings for Greek Meatballs?

I’ve tested many different ingredients in meatballs and for this recipe I really love this combo. That said, you can certainly make some swaps if you need or want to. I used dried oregano for big Mediterranean flavor in a small amount. I use fresh parsley mostly for color and a touch of freshness. You could use dried Italian seasoning or dried basil instead using the same measurement as the oregano. You could also swap the parsley for fresh baby spinach. Consider wilting the spinach down first in a sauté pan and then squeezing out the excess water before adding it to the meat. You could add up to ½ cup wilted spinach to the meat mixture.

How can I make these meatballs Gluten Free?

You could swap the breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese or even gluten free breadcrumbs.   

MAKE YOUR TZATZIKI!

You have prepped most of the ingredients above per the recipe, so now it’s on to the cucumber.  For my Tzatziki, I love a lot of crunchy cucumber.  You can certainly add less if you want, such as only 1/4 of a cucumber.

Cucumbers are 95% water! 

Yes, that’s right!  So, cucumbers are a great snack during the hot summer months for helping you to stay hydrated.  But, you must squeeze out the water before adding the cucumber to your sauce because it will make your sauce very watery and separate on you.  Of course, you can save that cucumber water for a smoothie or lemon water or even a cocktail! 

I use my grater vs. a food processor for the cucumber shredding process, as it’s quick with minimal clean up.  

Grating cucumber for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Grating cucumber for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

 

Once you have your cucumber grated, transfer it to a clean towel and squeeze the water out, then add it to the yogurt with the rest of the Tzatziki ingredients and stir to combine.

Grated cucumber squeezed in a towel for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Excess water from grated cucumber squeezed in a towel for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Ingredients in a bowl for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

COOK YOUR CHICKEN GREEK MEATBALLS & QUINOA

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the meatballs on an oiled sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 on one side. Then remove and flip the meatballs over to get browned on the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Baked Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a pan. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

ENJOY! 😍 Carrie

 

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a plate with Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano. 

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs are so moist and bursting with big flavors from garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.  You can make them ahead and freeze for months.  Then simply bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!  Paired with a tangy and bright Tzatziki sauce and served over your favorite side, it's the perfect dinner! #chickenrecipes #chickendinners #easydinnerideas #meatballs #chickemeatballs #greekmeatballs

Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword feta, Meatballs, tzatziki
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 meatballs
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 16 oz Lean Ground Chicken raised without antibiotics ground turkey is good too
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp Parsley Chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Egg, large
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Feta, crumbled

Tzatziki

  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Lime (all zested, half juiced)
  • 1/2 English Cucumber, medium-sized
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. You need 1 large mixing bowl for the meatball mixture and 1 small bowl. Place the ground chicken into the large bowl. Place the yogurt into the small bowl.

  2. Mince the 3 cloves garlic, 2 go into the large mixing bowl with the chicken and 1 goes into the small bowl with the yogurt.

  3. Chop parsley and add it to the chicken in the large bowl. Slice the scallion greens and add them to the yogurt in the small bowl.

  4. Zest the Lime and add it to the yogurt. Juice half the lime into the yogurt.

  5. For the meatball mixture in the large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients: the ground chicken, egg, oregano, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Mix to fully combine all ingredients.

  6. Then form meatballs by scooping a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and rolling it in your hands. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or aluminum for easy clean-up.  Of course, you do not need to line the pan, but if not, then coat the bottom with olive oil.

  7. Using a grater on the medium grate size, grate the cucumber with the skin on. Transfer the cucumber to a clean towel so that you can squeeze the water out of the cucumber before adding it to the yogurt.

  8. If you are not eating the Tzatziki within the next day, then I mix the yogurt sauce without the cucumber and store the cucumber in a separate bowl lined with paper towel to soak up any additional water that comes out of the cucumber. When you are ready, add the cucumber plus salt and pepper to the yogurt, then mix the ingredients into the yogurt. Cover and store in the fridge.

Cooking Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the meatballs on an oiled sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 on one side. Then remove and flip the meatballs over to get browned on the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes.

  2. Finish the Tzatziki sauce by mixing the shredded cucumber to the yogurt and mix to combine. Serve with the meatballs and ENJOY!