Serve up this colorful and flavorful side dish this summer! Made with juicy watermelon, feta cheese, arugula and orzo dressed in a zesty vinaigrette.
Oh watermelon! One of my favorite summer foods. It’s so sweet, refreshing and hydrating. The easiest summer cookout food. I think we all have fond memories of biting into a slice of watermelon as a kid at a picnic or cookout.
Fun fact: Did you know watermelons are 92% water? Isn’t that incredible!
During those hot summer months, watermelons are perfect for satisfying our sweet tooth and also quenching our thirst. However, they don’t have much protein or fiber to help keep us full.
This watermelon pasta salad’s base is orzo. I threw in feta and arugula to complete it so that it’s a side dish that has substance to help keep us full.
What is Orzo?
Ever wonder what this small, oval shaped noddle looking thing really is? A grain or maybe pasta? Well, if you guessed pasta, you’re right! Orzo is made from semolina flour, which is formed from ground durum wheat.
Orzo is used in a lot of Mediterranean meals like salads, soups, casseroles and other pasta dishes!
Is Orzo Gluten-Free?
You’ll find gluten in wheat, barley and malt. Since orzo is derived from wheat (durum wheat), orzo isn’t gluten-free.
If you are unable to eat gluten, you could substitute pasta noodles made from beans, peas, corn, lentils or potatoes for the closest texture of orzo. Other gluten-free options include quinoa and amaranth.
This orzo salad is easy to make! Start by cooking the orzo according to the package’s instructions. Drain the pasta well after cooking and allow it to cool before adding the lemon juice and oil. Then chill the lemony orzo in the refrigerator while you get the other fixings ready!
Chop up the watermelon! I like to do small bite size squares so the salad doesn’t need a knife. Measure out your arugula and pack it into the measuring cup to make sure you get enough.
Add the watermelon, arugula and feta cheese to the chilled orzo and mix well. The longer this salad sits, the more flavorful it gets!
Serve the orzo salad cold. I leave it in the refrigerator after I’m done mixing it all together so that the flavors get stronger.
It’s like an orzo fruit salad! You’ll notice the pasta will get a bit of a pink tint the longer it sits from the juice of the watermelon……how cool is that? Pink pasta, I’m in!
The peppery arugula and zesty lemon along with the sweet melon make this a tasty side dish to serve at a picnic, cookout or BBQ.
For main dish recommendations, I suggest doing a traditional cookout style menu….burgers, baked beans, corn on the cob and other favorite side dishes!
If you’re looking for a Mediterranean inspired burger recipe, since this salad has Mediterranean flavors from the orzo and feta cheese, try my spinach feta and turkey burgers with tzatziki. It’s a favorite on the blog and never gets old in our house!
Watermelon Feta Orzo Salad With Arugula
- 1 cup dry orzo
- 2.5 cups chopped seedless watermelon
- 1.5 cups arugula
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Cook 1 cup orzo according to package instructions. Once done cooking, drain and allow to cool.
- Add the olive oil and lemon juice to the cooled orzo and refigerate until chilled (at least an hour in the refrigerador).
- Once the orzo is chilled, add the chopped watermelon, arugula and feta cheese.
- Mix well and enjoy!
- The longer the salad sits, the more noticeable the flavors will be.
- I don’t add additional salt because the cooking instructions for the orzo required heavily salted water. However, if your orzo didn’t require salted water than salt to taste.
(Nutrition values are calculated by third-party software and an estimate that can vary based on product brands and cooking methods.)