Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil

Published May 16, 2015. Updated May 13, 2024

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Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil is the freshest summer salad that you need for your barbecue plans.  Juicy watermelon, salty feta, and perfectly cooked orzo are tossed together with freshly torn basil and bright, tangy lemon juice. Everyone will ask you for this recipe, guaranteed!

Summer is in the air. Okay not quite, it’s been raining practically every day where I live but it’s getting closer! Closer to watermelon season, ice cold lemonade, fresh corn on the cob, an overload of fresh berries, and of course plenty of summer sunshine. And I couldn’t be more ready for it this year!

Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil | Cooking Classy

Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad

This week you may likely be planning the Memorial Day menu. The first on this list should be this Watermelon Orzo Feta Salad! It is probably the most refreshing salad I’ve ever had and it will be one of my go-to summer salads from now on. It has the perfect blend of summery flavors. You get the mellow sweetness from the watermelon, paired with the tart of the lemon and the tang and saltiness of the feta and you get an abundance of freshness from the generous amount of basil. If you still feel it’s too sweet, don’t be scared to sprinkle a little fresh black pepper—it’s amazing. Let’s just say I ate my fair share and I can’t wait to make it again!

Watermelon isn’t just for snacking. It may not be packed with bold flavors but it has got to be one of the most refreshing fruits, and when you pair it with the right ingredients you can create something worth remembering. (Speaking of ingredients, you might also like adding diced cucumber or finely chopped red onions to this orzo pasta salad!) When it comes to feta, I recommend using the Greek varieties (as opposed to the French feta, which is more creamy and less salty).

Perfect Summer Pasta Salad

I can’t get enough summer salads when it’s warm out. I don’t want something heavy or warm—so a salad that is served chilled or at room temperature is the best recipe to have in your back pocket all summer long.

The tip for a fantastic pasta salad is to use a very large saucepan of salted water, add your uncooked orzo at the highest point of a rolling boil, then cook to perfect al dente and chill your pasta mixture quickly once coated with your dressings.

Here are a few of my other favorite pasta salad recipes to try:

Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil | Cooking ClassyWatermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil | Cooking Classy

16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes! (plus weekly recipe updates)

5 from 3 votes

Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil

A bright and flavorful orzo salad recipe! Made with juicy sweet watermelon and tangy feta and lemon to balance it out.
Servings: 7
Prep15 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook pasta in salted water according to directions listed on package. Drain well (don't rinse!) then pour into a large bowl.
  • While pasta boils, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Pour half of mixture over drained pasta in bowl and toss. Season with salt taste. Allow to cool.
  • Add watermelon, feta and basil to orzo, add remaining lemon juice mixture and toss to evenly coat.
Nutrition Facts
Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon and Basil
Amount Per Serving
Calories 250 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 274mg12%
Potassium 208mg6%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 766IU15%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 136mg14%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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20 Comments

  • Cristi Williams

    I made this salad this weekend for a BBQ. It was a great hit! The only thing I added was a few red pepper flakes for a little bit of a kick. I will definitely make it again.

  • Jess

    I’ll be making this for the FOURTH time tonight in less than a month. I’m addicted, it’s so amazing. I add in blueberries too :)

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed this recipe Jess! Thanks for your comment!

  • Regan

    Planning to make this weekend…what do you think about using mint insteas of basil?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes that would also be a great option, I’ve seen it done in a few salads like this one. I hope you love it!

      • Jeremie

        We are thinking about adding this to our wedding reception menu. Do you think it would be over-the-top to also add chicken?

  • Tara

    This was absolutely delicious! Perfect for summer. I only added about 4 cups watermelon since I like more pasta in my salads, but my husband liked it with more watermelon. I love the combination of watermelon and feta. The lemon honey dressing is perfect.

    • Andrea

      Do you think Goat Cheese would work ok?
      Also, I need this salad first thing in the morning. Can this salad be made the night before. Maybe keep out certain ingredients until that morning (if any, which ones would you recommend)?

      • Jaclyn

        Jaclyn Bell

        I would just chop the watermelon and make the pasta the night before then refrigerate and wait to make the salad and dressing until the following day. And yes goat cheese would be delicious. Enjoy!

  • Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness

    I had a watermelon and feta salad only once in my life and it was a disappointment. Yours looks amazing though, I need some to get the bad taste of the other out of my mouth!

  • Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    This looks so awesome! I love watermelon and feta together and you just cannot lose with orzo :)

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This just screams summer! Love the watermelon in this salad!