Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Whole Wheat Orzo Salad Recipe with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette (Vegetarian)

I loved the fresh marjoram in this Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette but you can use any fresh herb of your choice.

Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette
In the early days of summer, garden vegetables are still just a promise of things to come, so I always get a little infatuated with my herbs, which are raring to go. I'm always looking for ways to use the uncommon herbs I don't have as many recipes for, and a few years ago I was excited when my sister Sandee introduced me to Marinated Tomato Salad with Parsley and Marjoram Dressing. Of course, there are no tomatoes from the garden yet, but when I spotted this orzo salad with Marjoram Vinaigrette in the June 2003 issue of Bon Appetit, I hoped it might be another winner using marjoram, and it was! I do think you could make this Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette with basil or fresh oregano if you don't have marjoram, but if you have marjoram in your garden that needs to get out more often, give it a try!

The hardest part of making this salad for me was finding whole wheat orzo, which I finally located at Whole Foods.

I washed the marjoram well in the salad spinner and spun it dry, then chopped it finely to go in the vinaigrette.

Whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, olive oil, and finely chopped marjoram (or other herb) to make the dressing.

Cook the orzo and let drain well. You'll need a fine-mesh colander for this, but you could probably use a paper towel to line the colander in a pinch.

Once the orzo has cooled, toss it with the feta cheese, Kalamata olives, green onions, and most of the dressing.

Stir together gently and let the salad sit for a few minutes to let the flavors blend.

Stir the rest of the dressing into the cut cherry tomatoes and let it marinate too.

After the ingredients marinate separately for 15-30 minutes, stir the tomatoes into the salad with a bit more chopped marjoram. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.

Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette
(Makes 4-6 servings, adapted from Orzo, Feta, and Tomato salad with Marjoram Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit June 2003.)

1/2 lb. (1 1/4 cup) whole wheat orzo
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T + 2 tsp. finely chopped marjoram (or use basil or fresh oregano)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into fourths lengthwise
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a large pot, add a generous amount of salt, then add orzo and cook at a low boil for exactly 8 minutes. (Or check your package for cooking time if not using whole wheat orzo.) Drain the orzo and let cool while you prep other ingredients.

Wash marjoram (or other herbs) and spin dry or dry with paper towels, then finely chop enough to make 1 T + 2 tsp. chopped herbs. Zest the skin of a lemon and measure 1 tsp. lemon zest. Mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, and Dijon mustard, whisk in the olive oil, then stir in 1 T chopped marjoram.

Put drained and cooled orzo into a medium-sized salad bowl. Add crumbled Feta, sliced green onions, and Kalamata olives, then add all but 2 T of the herb vinaigrette and gently stir the mixture together. Let sit at room temperature while you prep tomatoes.

Cut tomatoes in half, combine with the other 2 T of dressing, and let the combined salad and tomatoes marinate separately for 15-30 minutes. To serve, stir tomatoes with vinaigrette into the salad, add the 2 tsp. chopped marjoram, and gently combine. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Made with whole wheat orzo, this salad would be a good choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. This would be a great side dish for something like Greek-Seasoned Grilled Pork Chops with Lemon and Oregano or Chicken Souvlaki.

More Orzo Salads from Other Blogs:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Spinach and Orzo Salad from Simply Recipes

Orzo Super Salad from 101 Cookbooks

Mediterranean Orzo Salad from Andrea Meyers

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad from My Baking Addiction

Cold Curried Orzo from The Perfect Pantry

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Whole wheat orzo? Hallelujah! I will be heading straight to Whole Foods to buy some. Kalamata olives and feta cheese is on of my favorite salty combinations.

  2. Roberta in ToledoJune 15, 2010 at 7:17 AM

    Geeeze, another reason to drive 55 minutes north of here to go to Whole Foods!!! Thank you, Kaylyn!

  3. Great post - I have herbs like marjoram because it smells nice and is pretty but never really use it up...

  4. This is a tantalizing summer salad with a wonderful Greek influence. I wish I had marjoram growing in my yard because this would make a great salad for lunch. I'll be trying this recipe soon.

  5. This is my kind of salad Kalyn!!!!

  6. Stunning salad Kalyn, I love everything about it... whole wheat orzo, olives and especially addition of fresh marjoram! I must admit it does not look like the marjoram I know from Poland, leaves are much bigger than I know.

  7. This salad looks fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing my link!

  8. We really adore orzo for salads, and this is the first time I've seen a whole wheat version. Thank you! Will have to keep looking locally since WF is quite a hike from here.

  9. I made something similar with sun-dried tomatoes. Yum!

  10. That looks incredible, and what a beautiful photo. I love anything that involves lots of olives and herbs. It just looks soooo healthy :)

    I really miss Whole Foods too. We don't have anything like that here in Bangkok.

  11. The whole wheat orzo was so great in this; I loved it. I did ruin one batch by cooking too long, but now I am more careful with the timing. And while I hate to advertise Whole Foods too much (I get sick of their prices!) they are a good source for this kind of specialty item.

  12. Kalyn,
    I ate the rest of this salad you gave me and it was really very delicious!(I have never been a big fan of orzo- but I loved the whole wheat kind)
    Thanks for such good food!

  13. I've never really had marjoram but I would love to try it in a salad like this! This is the exact kind of salad that I crave during the summer!

  14. Sandee, so glad you liked it. Thanks for inspiring me too cook with marjoram a bit more.

    Joanne, me too!

  15. I just found the ww orzo last week at Whole Foods. It's excellent. Now another recipe to try with it.

  16. This salad looks so light and tasty! I love the idea of using fresh marjoram, or any fresh herbs for that matter...it makes so much of a difference in the final result!

  17. this salad looks so colorful and delicious! i have yet to have success finding whole wheat orzo.. i always end up settling for whole wheat penne instead.

  18. unique ingredients! Difficult to get hands on some of the ingredients mentioned.But looks good to try with whatever I have.

  19. This is a fabulous summer recipe using all of our favorite summer ingredients. Love the combination. Have never used fresh marjoram but have basil in my tiny kitchen garden.

  20. I do think whole wheat penne would make a great substitute in this salad, good idea. There are many possibilities for different ingredients if you don't have the exact things I used.

  21. A healthy, colorful and flavorful salad! Perfect fpr the summer.



  22. Add my vote in favor of whole wheat orzo. Whenever I see it in the store, I stock up because it can be hard to find. But, it's so easy to prepare, and and so great to have that added fiber and nutrition.

  23. I just love these types of pasta dishes:)

  24. This is so, so delicious!!! I used white orzo & basil instead of marjoram. The lemon dijon vinagrette makes this pasta salad delectable!!!

  25. Krogers international isle has carried this pasta for years. It's the only worthwhile whole wheat pasta. Thrilled to find so many yummy non mayo recipes for pasta salad! Thx!

  26. I'm finding good things at the Kroger store near my new house (called Smith's Marketplace in Utah.) Glad you like the salads!


I'm so happy you're taking the time to comment on Kalyn's Kitchen! I love hearing from people who stop by, especially if you're sharing feedback or asking questions about a recipe I've posted here.

I've recently changed my comment settings so people can comment without signing in, but you will need to check the box to show you're a live person, and comments on older posts won't show up until I publish them. Thanks for understanding!

And if you really like the recipe, Pins, Shares, Tweets, and Yums are always appreciated!

Blogging tips