This zucchini, feta, and orzo salad is all you need this summer. It’s bright, fun, flavorful, and restaurant-quality.
There few recipes I make that I literally cannot stop eating. This summery zucchini salad with orzo, white beans, feta, and pistachios tastes restaurant quality. I couldn’t put my fork down. I’m sure this salad will be your obsession too.
It’s fresh, flavorful, and actually filling for a salad. It’s perfect as a meal on it’s own!
Each bite is packed with flavor and perfect textures. Silky zucchini, peppery arugula, crunchy pistachios, tangy feta, soft white beans, mellow orzo, sour lemon, brightening dill… truly a wonderful mix of elements!
This salad would pair so well with my Poppin’ Lemon Loaf as dessert. If you want a more pasta-forward spring salad, check out my Green Goddess Pasta Salad!
- White cannellini beans
- Olive oil
- Sherry vinegar
See recipe card for quantities.
Instructions for this Zucchini Feta and Orzo Salad
- Slice and sautee the zucchini until caramelized
- Cook the orzo according to package instructions, adding lemon peels to the salted water
- Rinse the canned white beans
- Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, mustard, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and some water
- Assemble the salad by adding the arugula, zucchini, orzo, feta, white beans, pistachios, and dill into a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad then mix to combine
Hint: Sautéing zucchini yields the best results because they become soft and evenly cooked. You can roast the zucchini at 400F for about 20 minutes, stirring half way.
- Vegan – simply omit the feta and you have a beautiful and healthy vegan dish!
- Gluten-free – replace the orzo with a gluten-free alternative
- Added protein – this salad would taste wonderful with some diced chicken or tofu mixed in, or served with white fish on the side.
What I love about salads like this zucchini feta and orzo salad is you can really make them your own. Unlike baking, you do not need to follow recipes rigidly. Here are some ideas of substitutions
- Zucchini: yellow squash would be the best alternative if you aren’t able to find zucchini. Cook according to the same instructions.
- Orzo: Israeli couscous is a great substitution for orzo! In a pinch, short pasta like orrochiette or even a grain like quinoa would do. However, the texture overall will change slightly this way.
- Feta: goat cheese would be the closest variation to feta in this recipe`
- Herbs: To me, dill goes perfectly with this dish. I imagine basil, mint, or parsley would also be wonderful here but I haven’t tried these replacements. Choose your favorite herb!
- White beans: these beans are soft and mild so I love them in salads! Garbanzo beans will have a tougher texture and stronger taste. Lentils will blend in a bit more. Either would be an optional variation. Or, you can omit beans completely.
- Pistachios: toasted, slivered almonds would go well.
Storing this Zucchini Feta and Orzo Salad
What you can do ahead of time:
- Sautee the zucchini
- Cook the orzo
- Rinse and drain the white beans
- Whisk together the dressing
I recommend breaking apart the feta day-of serving as to ensure it doesn’t go dry. Assemble the salad ingredients together when serving for best quality.
This dish is best enjoyed the day-of. If you have leftovers, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Zucchini, Feta, and Orzo Salad
- 5 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon Mustard
- 1 Shallot minced
- 3 cloves Garlic grated
- 1 Lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Water as needed
- 4 Zucchini sliced thin
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1.5 cups Cooked orzo
- 8 oz Arugula
- 1 cup White cannellini beans
- ½ cup Toasted pistachios
- ½ cup Feta cheese
- 2 tablespoon Chopped fresh dill
- Cook the orzo according to package instructions in salted water. While boiling, juice the lemon into a bowl and set aside for the salad dressing. Then, toss the peels into the boiling water.
- Meanwhile, slice the zucchini thin with a knife or a mandolin. Sautee the zucchini in olive oil over medium heat until soft and most pieces have caramelization. Lightly salt, and set aside.
- Drain and rinse the canned white beans.
- Prepare the salad dressing. To the bowl with lemon juice, add the minced shallot, grated garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and mustard. Whisk until combined. Mix in water, one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached (I add 2-3). Taste and adjust seasoning (perhaps adding salt).
- Prepare the salad. To a large salad bowl, add the arugula, cooked zucchini, orzo, white beans, feta, pistachios, dill, and dressing. Mix until combined.
I am loving these spring flavors!