Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

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I am not the most talented of gardeners. I over-water, under-water, over-fertilize, under-mulch. I plant little plants behind big plants, blocking out their sun.

I then transplant my poorly placed plants to what I’m hoping will be a better location and almost kill them in the process.

No, if a plant survives with me in charge it’s because it’s one heckofa sturdy plant, or just has a strong will to live.

I have been getting better at this over the years, but it still surprises me how difficult growing tomatoes can be, with the singular exception of the glorious Sun Gold tomato. Do you know about the Sun Gold? It’s a cherry tomato, or the size and shape of a cherry tomato, but brightly orange colored when ripe.

sungold-tomato-horiz-a-1600

It’s sweet, juicy, and sunshine in a bite. The plant scoffs at wilt. If nematodes bother it, you wouldn’t know. It grows like kudzu, faster than it can die from whatever may be killing our other tomatoes.

About this time of year we have to reinforce our Sun Gold plant cages with rebar. This entails my father, a sledgehammer, and me holding on to the rebar praying that my dad’s aim is true.

Next year I’m going to plant more Sun Golds. I have one in my garden, and two at the garden I maintain at my parent’s house.

And it’s not enough.

One plant, even as prolific as it is, is just enough for tomato candy for one person throughout the growing season. You know, tomato candy: going out to the garden and picking the cherry tomatoes and eating them on the spot, like candy.

I picked a bunch of tomatoes from this plant (pictured) for the following salad. And then I ate the tomatoes and had to go buy more at the store. At least the oregano came from the garden!

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

About this salad. It’s excellent! Like a Greek salad with orzo pasta and without olives. Though you could easily add olives if you wanted to.

You could probably make it with quinoa instead of the orzo, though I haven’t tried it that way yet. And if you like it, maybe you’ll want to plant some cherry tomatoes in your garden too. (I recommend Sun Golds.)

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10 as a side

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • Salt
  • 1 pint red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Black pepper to taste

Method

1 Cook orzo pasta in salted water: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil. Add the orzo, stirring it so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook, uncovered, at a high boil until al dente, cooked through but still a bit firm.

Drain the pasta (it helps to use a fine mesh sieve for this as the small orzo might pass through holes in a colander), and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further.

2 Toss pasta with olive oil, tomatoes, feta, cucumber, green onions, oregano, lemon juice, pepper: Toss the pasta with the olive oil in a large bowl. At this point you can make ahead and chill until you are ready to serve (or transport to a party).

Toss with the rest of the ingredients, the tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, green onions, oregano, lemon juice, and black pepper. The feta is salty so you shouldn't need to add more salt.

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Links:

Orzo Super Salad - from 101 Cookbooks

Mediterranean Orzo Salad - from Andrea's Recipes

Sesame Orzo Salad - from Sarah's Cucina Bella

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

Showing 4 of 28 Comments

  • Lynn

    What would you use instead of lemon? Citrus allergies…….

  • Cindy

    Loved this recipe when I had ripe cherry tomatoes last Summer/Fall. Any suggestions of what to substitute for the cherry tomatoes during the Spring? Perhaps grapes? Dried cranberries?

  • Karen

    I want to try out this salad for a parish picnic. I am not the best at recipes, so I want to make sure I get this correct.

    In regards to the 8 oz of orzo pasta …
    Do I cook it and measure out 8oz OR
    Is it 8oz measured out and then cook it??

    This is hard to explain in a post, but hopefully someone will understand what I mean.

    Please let me know soon cause I wanted to make this today for tomorrows picnic. Thanks!

    Start with 8 ounces of dried orzo, before cooking. ~Elise

  • Courtney

    Great recipe, adding some pine nuts created some texture for me! love it thanks :)

  • Alan

    Looks like a nice salad. I do a similar orzo salad with a vinaigrette of Dijon mustard (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) mixed with 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar and olive oil to consistency. I put in halved cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered chopped cukes and red or green onions chopped. Dill goes in and it is delicious. This recipe is not dairy has even gotten my wife to eat tomatoes :)

    Can be served cold or at room temperature. Can add seafood on top if desired, or can add feta if desired. Thanks for the recipes. Yours will be next I try.

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