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Orzo Salad

This vibrant Orzo Salad is perfect for those warm summer days. Packed with fresh ingredients and a tangy vinaigrette, it’s a must-try for veggie-lovers everywhere! Even picky eaters will love wholesome side dish.

Homemade beet salad with orzo.

The Easiest Orzo Salad, Perfect for Summer!

As you guys know, I’m a big fan of beets – they’re easy to grow, loaded with nutrients, and have a beautiful, earthy, root-veggie flavor that goes perfectly with so many different dressings and spices. This salad is the perfect example of how to use beets in a light, summery salad. (For more beet recipes, be sure to check out this Beet Terrine and beautiful Beet Goat Cheese Mandarin Salad!)

This orzo salad recipe uses tender orzo pasta, and the whole beet – greens and root. Topped off with blue cheese and a light simple lemon vinaigrette, it’s a flavorful side dish that works for any meal. I especially like to serve it with a bold summer barbecue. 

Why You’ll Crave This Vibrant Orzo Salad

  • Flavor: Rich, earthy beets, light, vibrant lemon, red onion, pine nuts, pasta… this dish is a medley of beautiful flavors that will make any meal special.
  • Nutrition: Everything here is loaded with health benefits! You get the anti-inflammatory power of beets, healthy fat from pine nuts and blue cheese, fiber from the onions and beet greens, and more.
  • Colorful: The beets bring lots of color to this salad, while beet greens, toasted pine nuts and blue cheese add contrast. Pretty!
  • Easy to Make: Although orzo salad is a restaurant-worthy recipe, don’t be fooled! It’s very easy to whip up.
A serving of salad in a bright yellow bowl.

Is Orzo a Pasta or Rice?

If you’re not familiar with orzo, you may wonder if it counts as a type of rice or a type of pasta. Made of wheat, orzo is a type of pasta, just like spaghetti noodles, macaroni elbows, and all of your other favorites. The small, oval pieces do resemble rice, and give it a comforting, satisfying texture. Once you try this versatile pasta shape, you’ll be hooked!

Ingredients for orzo salad with beets arranged on a work surface.

What Is Orzo Salad Made Of?

This list of ingredients may seem a bit long, but each one is packed with taste and texture – and they’re really simple to put together. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Salad

  • Beets: Several medium-sized beets with the green tops still included.
  • Orzo: You can usually find this stocked with the pasta, although some stores stock it closer to the rice and couscous.
  • Pine Nuts: If you don’t want to use pine nuts, you could use chopped cashews or pecans for a nice crunch.
  • Coconut Oil: Or another neutral oil of your choice.
  • Onion: Red onion, thinly sliced.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic, minced.
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Vinaigrette

  • Lemon Juice: Freshly-squeezed.
  • Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is the most flavorful.
  • Lemon Zest: Also from fresh lemons – you can use a zester, or thinly peel the rind using a vegetable peeler. Avoid the white, bitter part of the inner rind.


  • Blue Cheese: Crumbled.
Pasta salad with beets and blue cheese.

How to Make Orzo Salad

To make this recipe, you’ll cook the beets, and then cook the orzo in the water to give the pasta extra flavor and color. Easy peasy, and so elegant. Here are the steps:

  • Prep the Beets. Remove green tops from the beets, and wash greens thoroughly in cold water. Remove the stems, and then slice the leaves into slivers. Set those aside, and then trim the tops and roots off of the beet roots. Peel the roots, slice, and then cut the slices into quarters.
  • Cook the Beet Roots. Bring a couple of cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the peeled beet roots, and cook them until just tender – about eight minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water.
  • Cook the Orzo. Add the orzo to the boiling water in the saucepan, and let it cook until al dente. Drain the remaining water.
  • Toast the Pine Nuts. While the orzo cooks, toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat. Set aside.
  • Cook the Onion and Beet Greens. Heat a bit of coconut oil in a pan (you can use the same pan you made the pine nuts in, or a different one if you prefer). Saute the onion and garlic with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Then add the beet greens, and cook them covered until they wilt.
  • Make the Vinaigrette. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Assemble the Salad. Combine all of the cooked ingredients in a big salad bowl, and toss them with the vinaigrette. Top with a little blue cheese, and serve.
  • Enjoy!
A bowl of beet and orzo salad topped with blue cheese.

Recipe Notes

Before you start cooking, be sure to read through these helpful tips! Here are some essential recipe notes to help you make a great orzo salad.

  • Cook the Orzo Al Dente. When cooking the orzo, follow the package instructions and cook it until it is just tender. Overcooking can make the orzo mushy.
  • Add Herbs. Fresh herbs can elevate the flavors of the salad even more – think chopped parsley, dill, mint… seriously good stuff.
  • Add Protein. To take this recipe from side dish to main dish, just top it with your favorite protein. Chicken would be amazing, as would a lean, deli ham, a fried or hard-boiled egg, or even some sliced steak.
Close-up shot of beet-orzo salad with blue cheese and pine nuts.

Yummy Serving Suggestions

You can serve orzo salad with lots of different main courses! It’s balanced and bold, making it perfect for your favorite meals. Try it with…

  • Barbecue: This Perfect Barbecue Chicken is a great option – it’s light but savory and indulgent. 
  • Salmon: Salmon is a seafood robust enough to stand up to a bold salad like orzo salad. We especially love this sticky-sweet Apricot Glazed Salmon.
  • Pork Chops: If you’re a fan of pork chops, you’ve got to try these amazing Pan Seared Roasted Pork Chops with fig sauce. Easy and gorgeous.
Beet and orzo salad with pine nuts, blue cheese, and more.

How Long Does Orzo Salad Last in the Fridge?

When stored in an airtight container, this Orzo Salad can stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If you’re planning to store it, you can leave out the blue cheese and add it when you’re ready to serve.

Can I Freeze This?

Freezing and thawing can be tricky – in this case, I recommend not freezing. However, if you really need to freeze this dish, freeze each part separately for best results. Freeze in zip-top freezer bags, marked with the date, for up to three months, and thaw in the refrigerator before combining and serving. 

Homemade beet salad with orzo.

Beet and Blue Cheese Orzo Salad

5 from 1 vote
Beet and Blue Cheese Orzo Salad is a light, healthy and delicious summer salad. Filled with refreshing and delicious flavors like summer beets, blue cheese, caramalized onions and lemon.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 medium sized beets with green tops
  • 1 cup orzo pasta


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic minced {generous tablespoon minced}
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest


  • 3 ounces blue cheese crumbled



  • Remove green tops from beets and wash greens thoroughly in cold water.
  • Remove stems so that only leaves remain, slice into slivers. You should have about 1 cup loosely packed. {you will most likely not use all your leaves}. Set aside.
  • Trim the tops and roots off your beets and peel. Cut into 1/4” slices and cut slices into quarters. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once water is starting to boil, add peeled and sliced beets and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place in a large serving bowl.


  • Add orzo to boiling water you just removed beets from and cook according to package directions. Once all dente, drain, rinse and toss in bowl with beets


  • In a medium saucepan heat over medium heat and add pine nuts, toast evenly on both sides. About 3-4 minutes. Remove and set aside in small bowl.
  • Add coconut oil to pan and heat to medium. Add red onion and garlic, stirring occasionally so that you do not burn garlic. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and cook about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add beet greens and toss to coat. Cover pan and cook until wilted about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add beet green mix to beets and orzo.
  • Toss in vinaigrette and top with blue cheese.
  • Serve and Enjoy.


When stored in an airtight container, this orzo salad can stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If you’re planning to store it, you can leave out the blue cheese and add it when you’re ready to serve.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American


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7 comments on “Orzo Salad”

  1. Avatar photo
    allie @ Through Her Looking Glass

    5 stars
    I embrace the lovely beet, Amy. But alas. Also alone. Such a gorgeous recipe and maybe I am happy I won’t have to share it. Maybe. 🙂 Thanks for such a delicious and healthy recipe!

    1. Oh Allie, us beet lovers need to stick together! Hope you try the recipe and enjoy it all for yourself! xo

  2. Big thumbs up from someone who loves Beets more than a sane person should! Thanks for such diverse recipes x

  3. Avatar photo

    We’re not a beet or blue cheese family either, but I think they could take on a different persona when combined with the orzo and pine nuts. It sounds great to me!

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