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Orzo pasta salad with kale, grapes, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, and lemony dressing in a bento lunchbox in separate containers.
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5 from 9 votes

Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Kale

15-Minute Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Kale is a delicious way to get your greens! This easy (9-ingredient) recipe is ideal for meal prep, packed lunches, or a quick weeknight dinner.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Vegan
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 710kcal


  • 1 ½ cups dried orzo
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice about 2 medium lemons
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 packed cups finely chopped kale leaves (about 6 large stems)
  • 3 cups red grapes
  • ¾ cup sunflower seeds
  • 6 tablespoons hemp seeds or hearts


  • Cook the orzo according to the directions on the packet until al dente. Drain and drizzle the pasta with olive oil, and fluff it while it is still hot to avoid clumping. Set aside to cool.
  • Make the dressing: Add the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and mustard to a jar with a lid, or a small bowl. Grate the garlic into the bowl or mince using a garlic press. Shake the dressing, or whisk well, to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, mix the cooked orzo with the chopped kale. Add the dressing, grapes, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds. Mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated.



  • Orzo - Instead of orzo, you can use orechiette, farfalle, rotini, or ditalini. Or skip the pasta entirely and use quinoa, farro, or barley.
  • Sunflower and hemp seeds - substitute with pumpkin seeds, slivered or sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, pistachios, or pine nuts
  • Make ahead for lunch: Prepare the orzo and mix it with the chopped kale. If you have a container with separate compartments, place the orzo kale mixture in the larger compartment, and add the chopped grapes, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds to the smaller ones. Pack the lemony dressing in a small container with a tight-fitting lid. This keeps all the ingredients fresh and crunchy. Alternatively, mix everything together and pack it to go.
  • Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • Oil-free: Swap out the lemony dressing for any oil-free dressing you desire. Creamy dressings also work well with this recipe.


Calories: 710kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 501mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 7mg