This herbed shrimp orzo salad is packed full of lemon flavor, fresh herbs, cucumbers, red onion, salty feta, and perfectly cooked garlic shrimp. This pasta salad is easy to make and makes a great light summer meal or flavorful side dish.
Looking for a flavor-packed pasta salad that is great for dinner or a filling side dish?
Well, this herbed shrimp orzo salad is just what you need!
Juicy garlic shrimp mixed with chunks of feta, cucumbers, red onion, orzo pasta, and TONS of fresh herbs. This summer salad is filling, packed full of flavor, and super easy to make!
Trust me – if you’re looking for the perfect summer salad this. is. it.
I like to serve mine as a light and fresh summer dinner but this also works great as a party side dish, picnic salad, or meal prep!
Table of Contents
Ingredients for herbed shrimp orzo salad
- Orzo pasta – This is the base of our pasta salad! I love using orzo because it’s easy to cook and really bulks up this salad.
- Shrimp – Try finding a shrimp that has been deveined, cleaned, and has the tail removed for the quickest prep and cooking.
- Cucumber – I like using English or Persian cucumbers for this dish. They have fewer large seeds.
- Red onion – Just a touch for that fresh, crisp red onion flavor. Soak the cut red onions in ice water before adding them to cut down on the strong onion flavor.
- Feta cheese – I like to use a full-fat block of feta cheese I can dice or crumble. That way I can control how big I like my chunks.
- Fresh herbs – I used a ton of fresh herbs! Flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint all add HUGE flavor to this salad. Basil and oregano could also work!
- Olive oil – This helps cook the shrimp and adds to the sauce that coats the whole pasta salad!
- Lemon – Brings fresh light flavor to the salad that compliments the shrimp and veggies.
What shrimp to buy
I like to buy fresh or frozen shrimp that has been cleaned, deveined, and shells removed.
For a pasta salad like this, if I can find shrimp that also has the tail removed, that makes throwing together this pasta salad even easier!
You can use shrimps with tails, but then you’re giving your guests or family members a little job of removing the tail whenever they go for a bite of shrimp.
It’s definitely not the end of the world, but I think it’s nice to have the tails removed to make it easier to eat.
Thawing frozen shrimp
When in doubt, always check the back of the bag for directions on how the shrimp packager recommends defrosting.
Typically, I let it defrost slowly in the refrigerator overnight or place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run cold water over it until defrosted.
You can place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl or sink filled with cold water and let it sit until defrosting, about 10-15 minutes.
Using cooked shrimp
Can you use cooked shrimp in this orzo salad?
Yes, but by using already precooked shrimp, you lose out on cooking the shrimp with garlic and olive oil. That is where a lot of the flavor of the pasta salad comes from so you’ll want to adjust the seasonings if you opt to take the cooked shrimp route.
I do not recommend cooking already-cooked shrimp in garlic and olive oil because you’ll have very overcooked and rubbery shrimp.
What pasta to use
Since the title of this recipe is “herbed shrimp orzo salad” I obviously love using orzo for this pasta salad!
However, you can ideally use whatever small pasta you have on hand.
I’ve made this with orzo, ditalini, Gemelli, and even bowtie pasta!
You can use larger pasta, but I think the beauty of this is the small pasta-to-shrimp, crunchy veggie, and feta ratio.
Storage and leftovers
Since this dish contains seafood, you’ll want to keep it stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Since this dish is served cold, it makes for great, easy-to-eat pasta leftovers!
More shrimp recipes
- Big fan of big flavor? Try my Spicy Garlic Cilantro Shrimp.
- Want an easy dinner all packed into a bowl? Try my Chipotle Shrimp Fajita Bowls.
- Craving creamy pasta? Try my Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo.
- Looking for the perfect all-in-one packet meal? Try my Shrimp Couscous Packets with Avocado Mango Salsa.
Herbed Shrimp Orzo Salad
- 2 cups dry orzo pasta
- 3/4 cup olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup lemon juice olive oil
- 2 pounds medium sized peeled and deveined shrimp
- 4 garlic cloves grated
- 4 cups diced/bite size English cucumber
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup minced fresh dill
- 1/2 cup minced fresh mint
- 6 ounces feta cubed small
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Set a medium-sized pot with water over high heat.
- Bring to a boil, lightly salt the water and add the pasta. Cook according to box directions until the pasta is al dente.
- Drain the pasta and add to a large bowl.
- While the pasta is still hot pour over 1/2 cup of olive oil and lemon juice.
- Give it a gentle stir and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. (Note: Yes, this will look like A LOT of olive oil but this is going to thin out once you add in all your ingredients)
- In a large skillet add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and set over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot add in the shrimp and cook until they just start to turn pink.
- Add in the grated garlic and continue cooking until the shrimp are firm and pink.
- Remove from the heat and add the shrimp with any remaining oil and garlic into the bowl with the pasta. Stir to combine.
- To the pasta mixture add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Taste and season with the desired amount of kosher salt and pepper. Chill and serve.