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Zucchini Orzo Salad with Pepperoncini Dressing
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5 from 24 votes

Zucchini Orzo Salad with Pepperoncini Dressing

Zucchini Orzo Salad with toasted walnuts, herbs, and a zesty Pepperoncini Dressing. Enjoy this summer orzo salad warm or at room temperature for an easy, delicious side dish. 
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Salad/Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6


  • Medium pot
  • Large skillet
  • Mixing bowls


  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sliced pickled pepperoncini, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander (or cumin)
  • 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese


  • Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until al dente. 
  • Meanwhile, heat walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
    To the same skillet, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. One hot, add zucchini and cook, stirring only occasionally, until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and remove pan from heat.
  • Finely chop walnuts and add to a medium bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, pepperoncinis, scallions, parsley, garlic, coriander, and remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper; stir to combine.
    Drain orzo and add to a large bowl. Add sautéed zucchini and pepperoncini dressing; toss to combine. Stir in Parmesan cheese, taste and season with a pinch more salt, if needed, and serve warm or at room temperature.


  • Make-Ahead: Prepare the dressing up to 1 day ahead (without the walnuts) and keep refrigerated. Stir in walnuts right before assembling the salad.
  • Store: Salad will keep up to 4 days refrigerated, however it will dry out slightly. Stir in extra olive oil and a little lemon juice prior to serving. You can enjoy it warmed, chilled, or closer to room temperature.
  • Reheat: If you prefer this salad warm, just nook it in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.


Serving: 0.66cup | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 610mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g