Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad

Birds are chirping, tulips are budding and I can finally walk outside without a heavy coat. As spring arrives, I find myself craving refreshing dishes with ingredients like juicy oranges and fragrant herbs. After a winter filled with holiday gluttony, I welcome the colors, aromas and most importantly the tastes of spring.

Citrus Herb Orzo Pasta Salad 1

Typically when I test out a new recipe, I only make it for my husband and me. I figure if it doesn’t turn out well, we’ll eat it anyway and my culinary pride can be spared since I didn’t serve the debut dish to guests. Yet when I came across this recipe for Fregola Salad with Fresh Citrus and Red Onion last year, I had to try it out at our next big extended family dinner. I figured there was time to run to the store for a pre-made pasta salad were there to be a disaster in my kitchen.

Citrus and Herbs - For orzo Salad

Fortunately, no such pasta salad rescue mission was required. I made a few recipe tweaks along the way and ended up with the version below for what I call Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad (I must be on a citrus kick this week). It was a huge hit and provided a filling vegetarian alternative for my future sister-in-law who is about to marry into a meat-loving family.

Citrus Herb Orzo Pasta Salad 3

After this salad managed a successful recipe debut last summer, I couldn’t wait to make it again. I thought it’d be the perfect side dish for our family Easter celebration tomorrow – light, refreshing, colorful and delicious enough to satisfy both vegetarians and meat-lovers. Best of all, I made this dish ahead of time so that tomorrow I wouldn’t be distracted from focusing on Easter.

What dishes are you looking forward to making this spring?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad
Recipe type: Salad
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. orzo pasta
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix the zest of one orange and the olive oil. Let sit.
  2. In a large pot, heat the vegetable broth until boiling. Add orzo and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and spread it out onto a large baking sheet to cool.
  4. Using a small knife, peel the 3 oranges and the grapefruit, being sure to remove all the pith off the outside.
  5. Over a large bowl (to catch all the juice), cut the fruit into segments, cutting in between the membranes.
  6. Add the onion, mint, basil, salt, pepper and cooled orzo to the bowl.
  7. Pour in the zest/oil mixture into the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Stir until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  9. Serve and enjoy!


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  1. This dish seems like the perfect pot luck dish! I’m thinking a definite must for this spring! Looks amazing!

  2. Victoria V. says:

    Made this last night and gosh, was it a success! This will become a staple for potlucks and picnics.

  3. my family LOVES orzo, and this looks like the perfect warm weather dish

  4. Orzo salad = HEAVEN! Thank you for sharing!


  1. […] is my next simple syrup to try! Pair one of these drinks with a light, refreshing dish like Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad or Quinoa […]

  2. […] Credit: Adapted from Offbeat + Inspired […]

  3. […] Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad from Offbeat + Inspired […]

  4. […] Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad offbeat + inspired […]

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