Carrot & Orzo Salad

$4.07 recipe / $1.02 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.73 from 18 votes
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As soon as the weather warms up, I get really into salads. I like the fact that they’re cold (or at least warm or room temp) and they provide a lot of texture and flavor. And while vegetables are a little less expensive in the summertime, you can stretch them out even more by mixing them with grains and pasta. For this Carrot & Orzo Salad I roasted some inexpensive carrots in olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper, and then mixed them up with some orzo. Using inexpensive carrots and orzo for the bulk of the volume allows you to add just a little expensive feta for flavor without tipping the cost scales.

I added some parsley and a splash of lemon juice for freshness, and that’s it. I like that this Carrot& Orzo Salad is subtle and not over powering. Sometimes you need something light like that to go along side a stronger, more flavorful main dish (in this case the Maple Dijon Chicken). If you’re the type that does like all of your food just bursting with lots and lots and lots of flavor, you can add some garlic powder in with the cumin when you roast the carrots. That aught to give it a little more kick. Me? I like the subtle sweetness of the carrots with the earthy cumin and fresh parsley. Thought it was perfect!

See this recipe used in my weekly meal prep.

Carrot & Orzo Salad

Bowl of Carrot & Orzo Salad

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Carrot & Orzo Salad

4.73 from 18 votes
This carrot & orzo salad is light, fresh, and lets the natural flavors of carrot, parsley, and lemon shine through, with just a touch of feta for fun.
Author: Beth M
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 50 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb carrots ($1.09)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.36)
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin ($0.07)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste ($0.05)
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo ($1.19)
  • 1/3 bunch fresh parsley ($0.23)
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled ($1.07)
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.03)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel the carrots and then slice them into thin medallions, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Place the sliced carrots in a bowl and toss them together with one tablespoon of olive oil, the cumin, salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Once coated in the oil and seasonings, spread the carrots out on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • While the carrots are roasting, boil the orzo for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the orzo and allow it to cool slightly. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to toss with the orzo so it doesn't stick as it cools.
  • Once the carrots have roasted, transfer them to a large bowl. Pull the parsley leaves from their stems and give them a rough chop. Add the parsley and crumbled feta to the bowl. Add the slightly cooled pasta and toss until the ingredients are combined. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and a bit more salt, if desired. Toss once more and then serve.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 298.23kcalCarbohydrates: 42.85gProtein: 8.6gFat: 11.05gSodium: 450.85mgFiber: 4.93g
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Sideview of a bowl of Carrot & Orzo Salad

Step by Step Photos

peeled carrotsI used just one pound of carrots. Wash and peel them first. Also preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

sliced carrots and seasoning in mixing bowl Slice the carrots into thin medallions, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Add them to a bowl with one tablespoon of the olive oil, the cumin, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Toss until the carrots are well coated in oil and seasoning.carrots spread out on baking sheet lined with tin foil, ready to bake Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet covered with oil. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until they’re slightly soft and they begin to curl a little.

roasted carrots on baking sheet See how they’re just a little curled? Looks good. Not too dry, yet still tender.orzo pasta in a pot of boiling water While the carrots are roasting, boil the pasta until tender. You want to give it a chance to cool, so that it doesn’t cook the parsley or melt the feta later. I added the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta after it was drained, so that it would not stick or clump as it cooled.

carrots, parsley and feta in mixing bowl When the carrots are done roasting, add them to a bowl. Roughly chop the parsley and then add it and the feta to the bowl as well.

pasta and dressing added to mixing bowl Add the pasta, the lemon juice, an extra sprinkle of salt, and then toss until the ingredients are all combined. The end! Yum.

Carrot & Orzo Salad, paired with chicken, on plate This light and fresh salad makes a great side to main dishes that are more strongly flavored.

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Comments

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  1. I used sliced up spinach instead of parsley. And added bourbon apple chicken sausage also sliced up. It’s still lacking some flavor. I’ll have to play with it to figure out what it’s missing

  2. I made this without feta and it was fine. Definitely keep an eye on your carrots, mine were ready after 25 min. Any more and they would have started shrinking. This photo step was very helpful. 

  3. I didn’t think I’d like this because I’m not a fan of cooked carrots, but I made the maple Dijon Chicken Thighs and figured I’d try it. It was good! My kids didn’t care for it but loved the chicken. My carrots were kind of skinny, so next time I’d make sure they were thicker because they really shrunk. 

  4. This was an excellent salad. I have a feeling I will be making this again, especially in the warmer months. I can’t believe how easy this was! I accidentally grabbed cilantro instead of parsley (whoops!🤪) but it still turned out awesome! I made this for lunches this week plus added a little grilled chicken. So so good!

  5. I was surprised by how lovely this recipe is. I was even reluctant to include the parsley because in my mind it didn’t seem to match with the cumin, but it all blends really nicely together. I admit I still put less parsley then called for, but nevertheless it is incredibly tasty! I love the sweetness of the carrots, and the saltiness of the feta and that little bit of heat from the pepper; and then there is the touch of cumin in the background. I expected it to be overwhelming, but it was just the right amount. This really is a perfect and simple recipe. Thank you Beth! I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE. I’m so glad I found it years ago!

  6. I boiled the carrots with the orzo and saved a step.  Drained both. Then stirred in the salt, pepper, cheese and cumin.  This saved me time and less shuffling around pots in the kitchen.   

  7. This is seriously one of my favorite meals. Easy to make, delicious, and doesn’t cost a ton. I never would have thought of cumin and carrots but they are so delicious! …now to just convince my husband to eat feta .

  8. The best recipes are simple ones that you never would have thought of. Carrots are often boring to me but they were delicious roasted in this recipe. I love your recipes so much!

  9. I made this tonight to go with your Greek chicken. I couldn’t find parsley at my store so I use the green parts of a few green onions, finely chopped. Otherwise I followed the recipe. We really liked it. The carrots looked a little strange , very cumin-y, but they tasted good even on their own. We would definitely have again. Love the feta and fresh lemon juice flavors too!