An orzo salad studded with vegetables is always a terrific idea to add to pretty much any menu. This one is very simple, with barely wilted spinach adding color, nutrition, and freshness to the pasta.
The dressing is as simple as the salad; basically a mixture of oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. The onions that have been sautéed with the spinach are then distributed throughout with the greens, adding sweetness and bite at the same time. Add in some optional feta for a salty, creamy Greek flair.
A salad this delightful should be served with something just as flavorful. I think it goes particularly well with all sorts of Mediterranean meats. Try it on the side of Greek Roasted Chicken Breasts or Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops. It also goes well with Greek Lamb Kebabs, and think about pairing it with Turkish Stuffed Eggplants for the vegetarian crowd. Perfect for bringing it to a picnic or potluck.
Table of Contents
Spinach Orzo Salad: An orzo salad with colorful, barely wilted spinach adds nutrition and freshness to the pasta.Tweet This
- Orzo – This rice-shaped pasta is the core of many of my favorite pasta salads, from Summer Shrimp Orzo Salad to Herb Orzo Salad.
- Olive oil – Divide your olive oil. Use some to cook your onions and spinach and the rest for the salad dressing.
- Onion – Either red or yellow is fine here.
- Spinach – Because of how much spinach wilts down when exposed to heat, start with 8 cups of this leafy green, and roughly chop.
- White wine vinegar – Adds the acidity you need to make the salad sing.
- Feta – The feta is optional. Without it, you have a vegan salad, so you might think about offering crumbled feta on the side so those who wish to add it can. Or transfer half of the spinach orzo salad to another bowl, toss in ½ cup of crumbled feta into the rest of the salad, and serve both side by side. Other cheeses that would be nice are crumbled shaved ricotta salata or grated Parmesan.
How to Make Spinach Orzo Salad
- Cook the orzo: Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking.
- Sauté the vegetables: Cook the onion in the olive oil until softened, then add the spinach and cook until the spinach is just barely wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Finish the salad: Add the cooled orzo and spinach to a large bowl, with the feta, if using. Dress and toss. Serve at room temperature.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This spinach orzo salad can stay covered in the fridge for at least 3 days. If you are planning ahead, you might add the feta just before serving so that it stays in perky little crumbles. This is a very portable salad, perfect for picnics and potlucks.
Nope, orzo isn’t rice! This small grain-shaped substance is actually pasta — in fact, the pasta takes its name from the Italian word for “barley,” and is purposefully shaped like barley grains.
Most orzo comes in packages with cooking directions on the side, but in general, orzo should be cooked for about 7 to 10 minutes.
In this recipe, you rinse the pasta with cold water once it’s drained. This will stop the cooking process. You don’t want your orzo to keep cooking because then it will turn mushy by the time you add all the good veggies in!
What to Serve With Spinach Orzo Salad
More Orzo Recipes
- Orange and Herb Orzo
- Very Cheesy Orzo Casserole
- Red Onion Mint Orzo
- Greek Chicken Pasta Salad
- Shrimp Orzo Salad
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Spinach Orzo Salad
- Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Let it sit in the colander while you finish the vegetables and the dressing.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 2 minutes until the onions just start to soften. Add the spinach and continue to saute until the spinach is just barely wilted, about 2 minutes.
- While the spinach cooks, in a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooled orzo and spinach and the feta, if using, and toss. Serve at room temperature.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.