This Mediterranean Risoni Salad is easy to make and comes together in less than 20 minutes. It's so versatile, and is the perfect side to any family dinner!
During the winter, my orzo mac and cheese becomes a religion. But when the summer rolls around, this Mediterranean risoni salad takes the spot. It's packed with crunchy vegetables, chewy risoni (a.k.a orzo), and salty feta cheese, all coated in a tangy lemon vinaigrette.
It can easily be made vegan and dairy-free by switching the greek feta cheese with a vegan one. It's pretty versatile and you can modify it by what's in season, or what you have in your fridge.
What is Risoni?
Risoni, also known as orzo, is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. Basically, it's just tiny pasta with a creamy and smooth texture.
It's traditionally made from white flour. But it can also be made of whole-grain flour, which makes it higher in fiber.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Risoni. Also known as orzo. Use whole-wheat for more fiber!
- Spinach. You can use any green leaf vegetable such as rocket, lettuce, or swiss chard.
- Cucumber. For freshness and crunch.
- Red onion. When thinly sliced, it brings deep flavor and tastes so good in a salad.
- Olives. We like kalamata olives, but green olives work fine too.
- Sun-dried tomatoes. Swap them with cherry tomatoes for more freshness.
- Feta cheese. Use vegan feta cheese for a dairy-free option.
- Fresh herbs. Such as basil, parsley, dill, etc. (optional)
- Olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is an essential part of this recipe, as it is the base of the dressing.
- Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice bring tanginess to the vinaigrette.
- Sweetener of choice. We like honey, but maple or agave syrup will also do the job.
- Mustard. We love grainy mustard, but for a spicier alternative, use Dijon mustard.
- Spices. Salt and black pepper to taste and dried oregano for an authentic Mediterranean flavor.
How to Make Risoni Salad
1. Cook risoni according to the packaging instructions. Then, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drizzle with olive oil to prevent it from sticking and set aside.
2. Prepare the salad by chopping adding all of the ingredients and adding them to a large bowl.
3. Next, make the dressing by mixing olive oil, mustard, honey, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and spices, until smooth.
4. Pour the dressing and give everything a good stir. Taste the salad and add any additional seasoning if needed- more salt for saltiness, lemon juice for tanginess, or black pepper to taste. Serve!
- Prepare the risoni and chop the veggies in advance to make this recipe even faster. You can refrigerate the risoni in a covered container for up to 4 days.
- Use vegan feta cheese, if you need to make this risoni salad dairy-free.
- Add any additional vegetables that you like and leave out whatever you don't like. Don't like raw red onions? No problem. Make this recipe fun and satisfying by adding whatever you like.
- Use risoni made from whole-wheat flour to add more fiber to this recipe.
- Pan-fried chickpeas. If you want to add more protein to this risoni salad, add 1 cup of fried (or regular) chickpeas.
- Cherry tomatoes. About ½ cup of cherry tomatoes will work excellently.
- Quinoa. Sometimes I like to add 2-3 tablespoons of cooked quinoa for a bit more protein and whole grains. It keeps me fuller for longer as well!
- Peppers. Use either yellow or red bell peppers for crunch and color.
To keep it fresh for longer, keep the salad ingredients and the dressing in separate containers until the last moment. This way everything will last for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Mediterranean Risoni Salad with Spinach and Feta
For the salad
- 2 cups risoni, cooked ( ~1 cup uncooked)
- ½ cucumber chopped
- 1 small head red onion thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives chopped
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (use vegan feta if needed)
- ⅓ cup fresh herb of choice such as basil, parsley, dill, etc. (optional)
- If you haven't already, cook risoni in boiling water according to the packaging. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.
- To prepare the salad, add all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- To a small bowl or jar, mix all of the ingredients for the dressing until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and give it a good stir until everything is coated.
- If needed, taste and adjust the flavor. Add more salt for saltiness, lemon juice for tanginess, or add more of any ingredient that you like, such as cheese, olives, etc.
- Enjoy immediately. Save in a covered container in a refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with third-party calculations without including the optional ingredients.