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Orzo Salad

Copycat Trader Joe's Mediterranean Orzo Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Cosette's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: cooking
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


Do you know that salad at Trader Joe's in the deli case? Well, I've got you covered with a copycat that is sure to please!!!


Units Scale

Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound dry orzo pasta - or other short pasta*
  • 1/2 cup pesto - store bought is fine or find my simple recipe below
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata or Castelvetrano olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, broke into crumbles
  • 1 small bunch of scallions (I usually use about 5-6 stems - green part only)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (add at the end after your mix-ins) mix-ins are all salty so check before adding any additional salt
  • Bunch of fresh spinach, add just before serving


  • 2 cups fresh basil, rinsed and dried
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1/2 fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Pasta Salad

  1. Boil your pasta as directed.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water. Return to pot or bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Add in your the remaining ingredients except salt and spinach. Mix to combine well and taste before adding any salt.
  4. Mix in your fresh spinach before serving.
  5. Feel free to add in cooked chicken, tofu or other protein to the salad. Once refrigerated, you may need to add a touch more olive oil to reconstitute as some will be absorbed by the pasta.
  6. Enjoy up to a week in the fridge.


  • Place your clean basil in the bowl of a food processor and begin to chop on high speed.
  • Stop and scrape down sides, add in your nuts, cheese, garlic, salt, lemon zest and juice. Continue to process on high speed.
  • Begin drizzling your oil into the bowl of the food processor while still running. Continue until oil is finished and your pesto is smooth and creamy. Add in any additional salt, garlic or lemon to taste.
  • Refrigerate or freeze*


*You can sub a wild rice, barley or other grain in place of pasta if you're looking for a gluten free option.

*Fresh pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays then tossed in a ziplock bag to use later in soups, dips or pastas.