Greek Shrimp Skewers with Orzo Salad
Easy, delicious, and healthy Greek shrimp skewers! A simple marinade locks in all the best Mediterranean flavors, then a few minutes on the grill cooks shrimp to plump, juicy perfection. Serve with an easy orzo salad for a complete meal everyone loves.
This post was originally published July 19, 2019, and has been updated with new photos and more helpful answers to questions throughout the post text.
Who can resist Mediterranean flavors? Meals inspired by this part of the world are usually delicious, healthy, and — maybe best of all for the busy home cook — super simple. It’s all about a few great ingredients that go together well.
These Greek shrimp skewers are one of our go-to grilling options, especially since we’re often feeding a mix of omnivores and pescatarians. These please everyone.
You’ll love this recipe because it’s incredibly fast, easy, and packed with vibrant flavors like oregano and fresh lemon. The grilled shrimp pair perfectly with a Mediterranean orzo salad that comes together in no time while the shrimp marinate. This is an easy and complete meal you’ll turn to time and again!
Greek shrimp skewer ingredients
- Shrimp: Buy pre-peeled and deveined shrimp to save yourself time and the somewhat annoying task of peeling by hand.
- Lemons: Use fresh lemons if at all possible. The flavor really shines through. You’ll need at least two, preferably three, since the juice is used both to marinate the shrimp and to dress the salad.
- Olive oil: A staple of all home cooking, but especially Mediterranean cuisine!
- Dried herbs and spices: Oregano is the standout here, hands down. You’ll also need sea salt and black pepper, and a pinch each of paprika and garlic powder adds oomph to the marinade.
For the Mediterranean orzo salad:
- Orzo: A small, rice-shaped pasta. To know it is to love it.
- Cherry tomatoes: Halved. Of course you can sub Roma, on-the-vine, or other tomatoes as you like.
- Kalamata olives.
- Baby spinach.
- Crumbled feta.
- Red onion: Just a touch, finely chopped.
- Chopped fresh parsley: Again, just a touch, and you can certainly sub dried parsley if you don’t have fresh on hand.
Once your shrimp are defrosted, it’s a simple matter of mixing together the marinade, adding the shrimp, and letting them sit for a few minutes to soak up the flavors.
This gives you just the right amount of time to prep your salad — including mixing up a simple, fresh homemade dressing. Conveniently, the dressing uses the same ingredients you’ll already have out for the marinade, so it’s practically no extra effort.
Grilling shrimp is very quick and easy. They’re easy to thread onto skewers, and the main thing is to watch them closely, because they cook in just minutes!
Helpful tips and tricks
- How to defrost shrimp: Shrimp are so easy to defrost right before cooking, which is why they’re the perfect freezer staple. Place frozen shrimp in a large colander, place in the sink, and run them under cold water for about 5 minutes. Why cold water? Shrimp are so easy to cook that hot water can start doing so prematurely!
- Don’t marinate too long: This recipe calls for marinating the shrimp for 15-30 minutes. You might be tempted to leave them in longer — often with marinades more time equals more flavor — but in this case, after much more than half an hour the acidity of the lemon juice will actually begin to cook the shrimp! This is the same principle that makes ceviche a thing; you just don’t want to apply it here. 😉
- If you like to grill: Consider investing in a set of stainless skewers. We’ve had this exact set for two years and it’s going strong. They are so much easier to thread and rotate than the wooden kind. Plus obviously you can use them over and over and never stand at the grocery store wondering whether you have skewers in the house.
- Gauge your hungry crowd: For us, 1 pound of shrimp paired with 8 ounces cooked orzo and add-ins yields 3 good-sized servings. If you have more or very hungry people to feed, you can add more shrimp, up to two full pounds, without increasing the amount of marinade.
More Mediterranean-inspired recipes
If you love these fresh Mediterranean flavors, you’ll also enjoy my chopped Greek chickpea salad, a classic Greek salad with the best homemade dressing, pearl couscous with cucumbers and tomatoes, and this fantastic one-pan Greek chicken with olives and tomatoes.
If you try these Greek shrimp skewers and/or the orzo salad, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Greek Shrimp Skewers with Orzo Salad
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 10-12 cranks fresh-ground black pepper
- pinch paprika sweet or smoky
- pinch garlic powder
- 1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined
- 8 ounces orzo
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives halved
- 2 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 6-8 cranks fresh-ground black pepper
- Combine olive oil, lemon zest and juice, oregano, sea salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add shrimp, cover, and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- While shrimp is marinating, cook orzo in a large pot of well-salted water, according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and set aside briefly to cool.
- To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, table salt, and pepper in a small jar or liquid measuring cup. Shake or whisk to combine.
- Combine cooked orzo, tomatoes, olives, spinach, feta, red onion, and parsley in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.
- When ready to grill, thread shrimp onto skewers and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, just until pink and opaque. Shrimp cook very quickly, so keep a close eye and remove as soon as they’re done. Serve skewers with orzo salad on the side.
- Marinating: You may be tempted to marinate the shrimp longer, but if you leave them in the marinade much longer than 30 minutes, the acidity of the lemon juice will actually begin to cook the shrimp.
- Yield: For us, 1 pound of shrimp yields 3 good-sized servings. If you have more or very hungry people to feed, consider making an extra 1/2 or even a second pound of shrimp. You do not need to increase the amount of marinade.
- Storage: This makes outstanding leftovers. Store any extra in the fridge for 2-3 days and reheat as desired.