Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

A summer salad of cherry tomatoes, orzo pasta, cucumbers, feta cheese, oregano and green onions, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Do not refrigerate the tomatoes ahead of time. Doing so will hurt the flavor of the tomatoes and can make the texture mealy.

  • Prep time: 25 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 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 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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Comments

  1. Michele

    Hi Elise,

    Long time follower but first time commenting! Wanted you to know that you are my favorite recipe blog – love your recipes and commentary. Our family thanks you for the delish dishes that grace our table. So wish I could channel your green thumb. xoxo michele

    Thanks Michele! ~Elise

  2. stanley

    With an endorsement like that, I may have to try planting them again. Previously, the one time I tried growing Sungold I wasn’t overly impressed. Sweet 100 has always been my go to for cherry tomatoes.

  3. rebecca h.

    Sounds lovely! I overdosed on Feta a few years ago and I still can’t really enjoy it yet. But that’s ok, I’m mad for goats cheese, which I think will work.

    I’ve never been good at keeping plants alive but this year I planted seeds on the roof of my apartment building, and now I have almost more lettuce and basil than I now what to do with. Almost. Too early for tomatoes in Vancouver but my plants are going MAD. Can’t wait until the cherry tomatoes come out!

  4. Nichole

    Is this something that can be served hot or should it be cold?

    Thanks for your time! :)

    It should be served at room temperature. ~Elise

  5. Janet

    My absolute favorite tomato and, wow, yours is a whopper! I’m jealous that you have tomatoes and I’m still waiting for my first one to ripen. Can’t wait to try the orzo salad when they do ripen and this recipe from Mario Batali http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pasta-with-Sun-Gold-Tomatoes-365185. However, my problem is the same as yours-getting the tomatoes to make the short trip from the garden to the house! As an aside, last fall we had a ton of green Sun Golds and a frost was threatening. Picked them all, put them in a basket and “harvested” them as they ripened, which they did wonderfully. Extended our season a wee bit.

  6. EEBagby

    Looks nummy!

    My supervisor at work did a little experiment with tomatoes this year. She had her tomato plants and she set some in another area for her granddaughter to care for. She watered hers, leaves and all, and put a piece of pvc pipe in the ground for her granddaughter to water her tomatoes with a watering can, watering just the roots this way. She told me that her granddaughters look so much better than hers.

  7. Dianne

    Sounds delicious! I was trying to decide on a side dish for the 4th of July and my cherry tomatoes are just starting to come in. I have planted “sweet millions” tomatoes the past two years and am in awe of these plants. They are MONSTERS! Very high yield from July-November last year- which on Long Island is fantastic. They don’t split, are disease resistant, and have a wonderful flavor. Next year I’ll look for the sungold and see how they do – along side of my sweet millions of course!

  8. Katherine

    We just picked our first sungold on Thursday and it was wonderful! I’m definitely trying this recipe, if I can get enough tomatoes from garden to house without my husband eating them :) We have most of the other fresh ingredients in our gargen, too!

  9. bond

    My sungold tomatoes grew under bad conditions….unstaked and over crowded with lots of very tall and aggressive perennial plants competing for the light–they were prolific….but almost everyone cracked and split as they ripened. And then due to wet cool conditions….a tomato blight leveled them early in the season.

    This year I am trying “Sweet 100″ altho I do see one sungold volunteer coming back in its original plot.

    I will definately give your recipe a try….most of the new and delicious things I have served in recent month have come from your site. Thank You.

  10. sarah p

    This sounds fantastic…if my cherry tomatoes make it inside. I love tomato candy in the heat of summer and will definitely try sungold plants next year.

  11. Jim Price

    I have a “brown” thumb, so I depend on my local Farmers Market to get my tomatoes and produce.

    I love all your recipes!

  12. Kevin

    You described me as a gardner to a tee also. LOL! Like you, cherry tomatoes are about the only kind I can grow that give me a good yield. The recipe sounds delicious, I’m gonna try that.

  13. Kris

    Your timing is perfect. I was just thinking last night that I need to make something with the 2 boxes of Orzo in the pantry. This is perfect. Thanks!

  14. Susan

    This salad looks excellent and I happen to have some orzo for just this purpose! We planted the sweet one hundreds and some small pear shaped yellow tomatoes this year. My goodness, the vines are going crazy and the tomatoes, though still green, are numerous…and all in the face of barely any heat (live in San Jose, CA) The heat wave we’re expecting this week should help move the ripening along. You are in prime tomato growing land, so you should barely have to do anything and they’ll grow in spite of you!

  15. Kalyn

    I love this salad idea! I’ve recently been experimenting with whole wheat orzo and loving the results. Just made a whole wheat orzo salad that had roasted zucchini, roasted red bell pepper, and olives that also had oregano, so we’re kind of on the same wavelength.

    I don’t think I’ve ever grown Sungold tomatoes; hope I can remember that for next summer!

  16. Flavor of Italy

    Hey there Elise, it’s Wendy in Rome. I love this recipe as it’s full of fiber and therefore a good weight loss recipe.
    Weight Watchers was recently voted THE best diet. Their simplest approach, “Filling Foods”, is not a point counter, but based on eating fiber-rich dishes: ergo whole grains and vegetables such as those in your recipe.
    Moreover, Eating Well just this week stated that increasing fiber consumption by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed is a certain way to lose weight.
    Thanks for sharing this fiber rich recipe!

  17. Jane

    I have been a Sungold worshipper for years, when I bought a plant on a whim. They used to be hard to find, but now they are very popular. I have grown them in pots, in raised beds, and through tomato blight (they still produced!) LOVE them! They don’t, however, have much of a “shelf-life,” so eat ‘em as soon as you pick ‘em!

    This recipe sounds dee-lish, except for the feta, which I just cannot abide. Not a fan of goat cheese, either. I think it would be fine without cheese, or, perhaps with some fresh mozzarella, giving it a caprese feel?

    Thanks, as always, for your dedication to doing such a fabulous job!

  18. Dawn

    Just made a higher fiber version of this using Farro in place of the Orzo. It was delicious! Will definitely make it again. Thank you for the recipe.

  19. homegrown countrygirl

    What a beautiful recipe! I like the idea of trying it with quinoa. I giggled about “tomato candy” because that’s what I call cherry tomatoes, too. My coonhound likes tomato candy. But he is very polite about it… he’ll go and sit down by the tomato patch until you come along and pick a few for him.

  20. laura

    This looks amazing! Exactly the side I need for all the grilling my husband will be doing this weekend. LOVE,LOVE your recipes and appreciate the simplicity yet incredible taste!

  21. Louisa

    Wow, I must say this photo is absolutely gorgeous! It’s making me want to have orzo and I’m not even a big fan of orzo. Just plain beautiful.

  22. stacy

    Oh, Elise!
    I just made orzo last night and wish I had seen your post beforehand. I’ve only recently added orzo to my side dish repertoire, and even more recently, whole wheat orzo. But this recipe will be my next summer side — it sounds delish!

  23. TygerKitty

    Tomatoes and orzo are two of my favorite things to eat – I never would have thought of putting them together but I will certainly have to try this one out! Thanks for posting and continually inspiring me to pair new things together!

  24. Tina

    Elise, this looks wonderful; I was sitting here contemplating food for my daughter’s wedding shower, and this will be perfect!

    By the way, for the person who commented that her cherry tomatoes split, this is usually caused by uneven watering. If the plants are permitted to get too dry, then watered heavily all at once, the fruits absorb too much water all at once, and they burst.

  25. Tempy

    I love Orzo and cook it any possible way that I can. This is a very refreshing twist to what I am used to cooking, though and I cannot wait to try it. I probably will not add olives to it because this household is very anti-olive things.

    My favorite way to prepare orzo is with little slivers of beef (I buy the cubes and slice them thin and throw them in a skillet with oregano, parsley and garlic until golden brown), toss in the freshly boiled orzo and some pasta sauce and a few rich slices of yellow squash and coli four.

    It is always a winner here!

    Will try your salad and hope it goes just as well!

  26. Ang

    Wow! Thanks, Elise! I’m a brand new tomato gardener this year. I have some type of cherry or grape tomato plant that was a gift, not sure of what to expect and it’s still not produced anything. My 2 Roma plants are full of fruit and nearly ripe!! I just bought Orzo for the 1st time last week and have been searching for the “just right” recipe. I have found it just now! Can’t wait to whip this up. Happy 4th :)

  27. anonymous

    This recipe looks great, but what can you substitute for the feta (not a fan)?

    A salty, crumbly cheese is important for this salad. Cotija would work too. But if you don’t like that kind of cheese, just leave it out or make a different salad with the ingredients. Your guess with what to do is as good as mine. ~Elise

  28. Sally

    That looks tasty. I’ll have to get some cherry/grape tomatoes on my next trip to the farmer’s market. I miss growing tomatoes!

  29. Val from PA

    This looks amazing!!! Love all the flavors – the lemon and feta must really make it pop! Will definitely have to try this soon!

  30. Mel G.

    Hi Elise –
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made it for our Fourth of July party and it was a big hit – even with the 11 year old who doesn’t like cheese!

  31. Raquel

    I also have my own garden at my backyard and also have tomato planted for almost 2 weeks now, and hope it will yield. I love tomatoes specially when I eat grilled fish wow I love the juice coming from fresh tomato.

  32. Jeanine

    I’m not a big fan of oregano. Is there another herb or spice that I could use to replace the oregano? Otherwise, this sounds gorgeous!

    Try fresh, thinly sliced basil. ~Elise

  33. Regina

    I just love tomatoes, but since having a health problem some years back, I am not allowed to eat any kind of seeds.
    Although my favotite are the grape tomatoes, I am going to make the salad with a roma or beefstake tomatoes.
    I just love all your recipes! Thanks.

  34. g3

    Wow, I made this for a Fourth of July cookout and it was DEVOURED. I only brought half the recipe and left the rest at home. I’ve been adding some poached chicken on top to make it a full meal, and it’s fantastic! Definitely going to become a regular dish around here!

  35. Lori

    Sun Golds are the bomb! We stake our tomatoes using a ring of remesh, a material used when pouring sidewalks, etc. Seems to work better than anything else we’ve tried.
    Going to try your recipe for this salad tomorrow. It looks delish! I might try adding some sun golds that I’ve dried in our dehydrator, in addition to the fresh ones – one more level of flavor.

  36. Deidra

    This recipe is almost identical to one I came up with a couple years ago and make a variety of ways in the summer and early fall. I normally use couscous or quinoa instead of orzo. My fav way to use it is to stuff a roasted and halved zucchini (you know the monster sized ones you discover hidden under the leaves). Mix in the roasted zucchini you scoop out, add italian sausage and serve it warm with Parm sprinkled over the top. Delish! I love cooking from my summer garden!

  37. Debra

    Ha!!! Love your tomato story!! This is my second year of planting a tomato garden and my first year of planting the sungold, which I am loving eating as candy! If I can beat my greyhound to them!! I too am not the greatest gardener but love learning and love my tomatoes! Can’t wait to save enough of them to try this recipe!!
    Thanks for the story and love your recipes!

  38. Nicole Olsen

    looks delicious! we call the yellow tomatoes sun sugar tomatoes here in central virginia and our plant is the saving grace of our little square foot garden. they are a delight. thanks for the recipe!

  39. Sarah Caron

    That looks delicious! I love fresh tomatoes in a simple, easy dish like this. The crisp sweetness of the tomatoes and the creamy tenderness of the pasta are a perfect match. YUM! And thanks for including a link to my recipe!

  40. Lenore

    That salad looks delicious! I love orzo and am always trying to find new ways to use all of the cherry tomatoes we have growing out back, so this is perfect!

  41. Meghan

    I just made this and I loved it! I only used 1/2 of a lemon though. I also used Feta with herbs so I ommitted the oregano. Next time I will only use either yellow or red tomatoes and reduce the recipe. But this is one of the best side dishes I have made in a long time!!!

  42. Val from PA

    What a beautiful salad, and a great way to feature fresh summer tomatoes! I just had this for dinner and it was great! I used small shell pasta and added a bit extra to stretch it further… And since I didn’t have oregano, I used some fresh basil and Italian parsley… Definitely will be eating more for a snack later tonight!

  43. 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.

  44. 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

  45. 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?