Creamy Orzo Pasta Salad with Yogurt

When you think of a creamy pasta salad, most people think of a heavy mayonnaise pasta salad, which many people don’t like! However, this simple and flavorful creamy orzo pasta salad is so delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. Instead of a mayonnaise-based dressing, this recipe uses Greek yogurt, so it’s a light, healthy, and tangy dressing! This creamy pasta salad recipe is perfect for sitting poolside, during summer meals, or as a delicious side dish.

You know I LOVE pasta, and little pasta shapes bring me so much joy. So I decided to use orzo for this pasta salad, and I highly recommend it! I just know you’re going to be obsessed with this pasta salad because it’s creamy, tangy, lemony, fresh, and always satisfying!

Watch the video of this recipe

Why You’ll Love Creamy Orzo Pasta Salad

  • You can personalize it as much as you want! Add cucumbers, edamame, fresh dill, etc.
  • This recipe has a tangy lemon and Greek yogurt flavor, it’s also a light and refreshing cold pasta salad that makes a perfect side dish.
  • The ingredients for pasta salad are simple – you probably already have most of them!

🥘 What you need for this recipe

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • Orzo – I recommend orzo, but another small pasta shape works as well. Ditalini is a great alternative.
  • Red onion – Small diced red onion is best, but a shallot can do the trick if absolutely necessary.
  • Green onions – I don’t recommend replacing it, but if absolutely necessary, chives work well too.
  • Lemon juice – Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and feel free to add a little lemon zest if you like.
  • Whole grain mustard – Whole grain mustard is very important to the flavor and texture of this dish. Plus, it’s delicious! I don’t recommend replacing it, but if you must, use Dijon mustard.
  • Greek yogurt – Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt is what I used in this recipe. However, you can use whatever type of yogurt you prefer: whole milk yogurt, fat-free yogurt, etc. Just make sure it has a plain flavor.
  • Frozen peas – I use frozen peas and add them while still frozen, as they will defrost on their own. I also think edamame would be good here!
  • Kosher salt – Salt is extremely important. The salt used in my recipes is KOSHER salt, which is less salty than table salt. For more accurate results, use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
  • Black pepper – ​Fresh cracked black pepper is highly preferred!

Tools and Equipment:

  • Medium pot
  • Strainer
  • Big bowl
  • Citrus press
  • Sharp knife

📋 How to Make Creamy Orzo Pasta Salad

Step 1: prepare the ingredients

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once the mixture is bubbling quickly, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until just al dente.

Drain the cooked pasta and rinse it with cold water until it is at least room temperature. Put aside.

Cut a large red onion into halves or quarters. Cut it into small cubes. If using a quarter of a red onion, dice it all. If using half, dice the whole thing, but only use half for this recipe. Save the other half for another recipe. Thinly slice the green part of the green onions or green onions.

Step 2: Prepare the Creamy Pasta Dressing

​In a small bowl, add Greek yogurt, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, red onion, green onions, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined, taste and adjust if necessary.

In a large mixing bowl, add the drained and cooled orzo, creamy dressing and frozen peas. If desired, add extras (fresh dill or perhaps cucumber slices) at this step.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

Once the pasta salad is well mixed, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and flaky salt.

pasta salad on a plate.

💭 Expert tips and tricks

  • Don’t like Greek yogurt? No problem, you can use a mayonnaise base instead, or you can use something like sour cream. Plus, regular yogurt or even labne works too!
  • I highly recommend a small pasta shape for this pasta salad. I used orzo, but you can use ditalini, bow tie pasta, elbow macaroni, fusilli pasta, or whatever your favorite pasta is.
  • Because this recipe is pretty simple, you can add a lot to it. Some ideas are: fresh herbs, red pepper, black olives, cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, onion powder, parmesan, sunflower seeds or any of your favorite fresh vegetables or proteins.

Storage and reheating tips:

  • Keep refrigerated : Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.
  • Store in the freezer: Store in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to about 3 months.
  • How to reheat: Always inspect leftovers for dirt or mold using your eyes and nose. Eat fresh or at room temperature.

Recipe FAQs

Do you let pasta cool when making pasta salad?

Generally, yes. However, it is not necessary to rinse it excessively. A little heat in the pasta while it’s seasoned helps absorb more flavor.

Why does pasta salad taste better the next day?

Letting the pasta salad sit overnight usually helps the flavors develop and permeate even more. However, I recommend serving this creamy pasta salad immediately. If you use low-fat Greek yogurt, it will thicken a lot. However, if you want to refrigerate it, you absolutely can!

Related Recipes

Do you like a recipe you’ve tried? Please leave a 5 star rating🌟 in the recipe card below and/or a comment in the comments section further down the page. Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook when you try one of my recipes!

📖 Recipe

pasta salad on a plate.

Creamy Orzo Pasta Salad with Yogurt

When you think of a creamy pasta salad, most people think of a heavy mayonnaise pasta salad, which many people don’t like! However, this simple and flavorful creamy orzo pasta salad is so delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day.

To print
Pin
Rate

Course: Aperitif, Salad, Side dish

Kitchen: American

Diet: Vegetarian

Preparation time: ten minutes

Cooking time: ten minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 3

Calories: 278kilocalories

Instructions

  • Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once the mixture is bubbling quickly, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until just al dente.

  • Drain the cooked pasta and rinse it with cold water until it is at least room temperature. Put aside.

  • Cut a large red onion into halves or quarters. Cut it into small cubes. If using a quarter of a red onion, dice it all. If using half, dice the whole thing, but only use half for this recipe. Save the other half for another recipe.

  • Thinly slice the green part of the green onions or green onions.

  • ​In a small bowl, add Greek yogurt, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, red onion, green onions, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined, taste and adjust if necessary.

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the drained and cooled orzo, creamy dressing and frozen peas. If desired, add extras (fresh dill or perhaps cucumber slices) at this step.

  • Once the pasta salad is well mixed, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and flaky salt.

Video

Remarks

  • Don’t like Greek yogurt? No problem, you can use a mayonnaise base instead, or you can use something like sour cream. Plus, regular yogurt or even labne works too!
  • I highly recommend a small pasta shape for this pasta salad. I used orzo, but you can use ditalini, bow tie pasta, elbow macaroni, fusilli pasta, or whatever your favorite pasta is.
  • Because this recipe is pretty simple, you can add a lot to it. Some ideas are: fresh herbs, red pepper, black olives, cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, onion powder, parmesan, sunflower seeds or any of your favorite fresh vegetables or proteins.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kilocalories | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated fats: 0.4g | Monounsaturated fat: 0.2g | Trans fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 828mg | Potassium: 374mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 454UI | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *