Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a step up from your average pasta salad. Loaded with tofu feta, chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, and a tangy dressing, this recipe is vegan with a gluten-free option.
Are you a fan of pasta salad?
I enjoy making big batches to bring to potlucks or enjoy throughout the week for lunch.
But when I'm looking for Greek-inspired flavors, I turn to this Mediterranean Orzo Salad.
It's high in protein from both garbanzo beans and marinated "feta" tofu.
And I love the briny flavor of the Kalamata olives.
Tofu Feta is a star ingredient in Mediterranean Orzo Salad.
It's really easy to prepare, but it needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
If I can, I like to make it a day in advance so it's really flavorful.
First I drain and press a block of extra-firm tofu to remove the excess moisture.
Or if I can find super-firm tofu, I can skip this step.
Then I cut the tofu into little cubes.
Using either a glass container with a lid or a resealable zipper bag, I marinate the tofu in coconut vinegar and a little dried oregano and sea salt.
Some people as me if they can use a different type of vinegar, but I've found the best results when using coconut vinegar.
And coconut vinegar is also delicious on salads, so I think it's worth searching out before you make Mediterranean Orzo Salad.
Once the Tofu Feta is ready, it's easy to make Mediterranean Orzo Salad in about 30 minutes.
I use the following ingredients to make this pasta salad:
- orzo (If you follow a gluten-free diet, I recommend DeLallo Gluten-Free Orzo.)
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Kalamata olives
- red onion
- fresh parsley
And the zesty dressing is made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, dried oregano, and dried basil.
Once the orzo is done cooking, allow it to cool, then add in the tofu feta and the rest of the ingredients.
Toss well to coat with the dressing, and Mediterranean Orzo Salad is ready!
You can enjoy it immediately, or chill it until you're ready to eat.
And it will last several days refrigerated.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad is wonderful on its own or with other favorite dishes.
I often make a batch of Mediterranean Orzo Salad on the weekend so I have healthy lunches ready to eat during the week.
It's also the perfect compliment to potluck dishes such as veggie burgers and Grilled Potatoes with Lemon Herb Sauce.
Or go with a theme and serve it with hummus, raw vegetables, pita bread, and Stuffed Grape Leaves.
Now let's make Mediterranean Orzo Salad!
Mediterranean Orzo Salad (Vegan)
For the Tofu Feta:
For the orzo salad:
- To prepare the Tofu Feta, place the tofu cubes in a resealable glass container or zipper bag. Add the coconut vinegar, oregano, and salt. Seal the container, then gently shake to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.
- Prepare the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and transfer the cooked orzo to a large salad bowl and allow to cool.
- Once the orzo is cool, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, onion, and parsley to the orzo in the salad bowl.
- To make the dressing, combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper in a small jar with a lid. Shake until well combined. Or alternatively, place the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until emulsified.
- Add the dressing to the salad. Toss well so that all the ingredients are coated. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.