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Orzo Salad with Preserved Lemon, Summer Squash, and Mint

This summery orzo salad is the perfect side for a BBQ; it uses preserved lemon, summer squash, and mint for a bright, fresh tasting vegan side.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, North African
Keyword: bbq side, courgette, cucumber, kousa, mint, orzo, orzo salad, pasta salad, preserved lemon, summer side, summer squash, zucchini
Servings: 6 people
Author: The Elegant Economist


  • 8 ounces orzo (227g)
  • generous amount of kosher salt (for pasta water)
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • ¼ preserved lemon, finely chopped or zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 1 Tbsp toum)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried mint
  • 1 large summer squash, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper, ground
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds for garnish (optional)


  • Cook your orzo in salted water (your water should taste like the ocean) according to the package instructions (roughly 7-9 minutes) until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  • In a bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, preserved lemon, honey (or agave), garlic (or toum), chopped squash, cucumber, and mint. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the vegetables marinate for about ten minutes.
  • Toss the marinated vegetables with your drained orzo and serve cold or at room temperature. Garnish with nigella seeds or pine nuts if desired.


Double this recipe to take to a party or barbecue. 
If you're not vegan or in need of a parve side, add a little feta for extra interest and creaminess.