Mediterranean Orzo Salad With Shrimp

Shrimp and Orzo Salad
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN
Total Time: 30 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Servings: 4 (1 1/4 cup each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

362 calories
9g fat
52g carbs
19g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 (1 1/4 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 362
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 79mg 26%
Sodium 525mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 3g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 19g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 296mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Shrimp is a low calorie, low fat source of protein that pairs well with pasta, polenta, or grits. This recipe takes a classic Mediterranean style orzo salad often seen in the prepared section of grocery stores and adds sauteed shrimp for extra staying power.

Shrimp have a relatively high level of cholesterol but have essentially no saturated fat (slightly over 1 gram per serving, compared to beef which can have anywhere from 5 to 20 grams per serving), and can help to reduce inflammation through its antioxidant properties.

Sun-dried tomatoes and spinach are also rich in antioxidants from vitamins C and A, and olives and feta cheese add healthy fat and saltiness. Finish off the dish with a bright zing of freshly squeezed lemon juice and say sayonara to store-bought orzo salads, because you can make it even better at home!


  • 8 ounces orzo
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olives (green or kalamata), chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  2. Add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and feta to the cooked orzo. Set aside.

  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the shrimp. Cook for about 3 minutes or until pink and cooked through.

  4. Add the cooked shrimp to the orzo salad and drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Add black pepper to taste.

Variations and Substitutions

To make this dish vegetarian, swap the shrimp for 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas and half a cup of slivered almonds. The chickpeas add protein and the almonds add healthy fat.

For an extra antioxidant boost, add about a half cup of chopped artichoke hearts (from frozen or canned) to the orzo. Artichoke hearts are comparable to berries in terms of antioxidant content.

To get in a serving of whole grains, use whole wheat orzo.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Try to purchase seafood that is caught or farmed using environmentally friendly practices. You can support ocean-friendly seafood by looking for the Marine Stewardship Council blue eco-label in stores and restaurants. When you buy your seafood, you can also ask where it comes from and whether it was farmed or wild-caught. Depending on the type of seafood, some are more eco-friendly when purchased farmed and others may be more eco-friendly when purchased wild.
  • If you purchase frozen shrimp, set aside the amount you need for the recipe and thaw in a covered bowl in the refrigerator the day before use, or place shrimp in a colander and run cold water over the shrimp for 5 to 6 minutes until thawed.

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Article Sources
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  1. Mesa MD, Gil F, Olmedo P, Gil A. Nutritional importance of selected fresh fishes, shrimps and mollusks to meet compliance with nutritional guidelines of n-3 lc-pufa intake in Spain. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):465. doi:10.3390/nu13020465