This salad is a healthy side dish to bring to any gathering but can also be made into an entrée when adding grilled chicken, cooked chickpeas, or seasoned tofu (try drizzling your protein of choice with balsamic reduction, too!*). I personally look forward to eating this salad alongside a picnic dinner while attending outdoor concerts during the summertime months.
Spinach & Tomato Orzo Salad
Serves: 12+ as a side
Prep time: 5-7 minutes
Cook time: <10 minutes
Total time: about 15 minutes
- 1 lb of orzo
- 5oz bag of baby spinach, coarsely chopped or roughly torn (you can use more spinach, if you desire more greens)
- 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or diced
- 1 small red onion, tiny diced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese**
- Juice and zest of one lemon (or about 1/8 cup of lemon juice)
- ¼ cup of EVOO
- 1 tsp dried basil (or a handful of fresh basil torn or sliced into ribbons) and/or 1 tsp of any other Italian seasoning***
- Salt and pepper to taste
Let’s do this!
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in salt – enough so it tastes like the sea. Add in the orzo and cook according to the package, about 10 minutes.
- While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing by mixing together the lemon juice, zest, and EVOO in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, basil, and/or any other Italian seasoning.
- Cut the tomatoes in half or dice into small pieces. Tiny dice the red onion. Chop or tear the spinach leaves and add all of the vegetables to a large bowl (preferably one with a lid).
- Once the orzo is finished cooking, drain the water and add the orzo into the large bowl. Stir immediately to combine, pouring in the dressing to coat.
- While the pasta is still warm, add in the crumbled feta cheese and stir, making sure the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
- Cover the salad with a lid and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.****
*I use Rachael Ray’s Balsamic Drizzle available on Amazon or at select grocery stores
**If you can find it, I prefer to use a Mediterranean or herb seasoned feta cheese. My favorite is found at Trader Joes.
***I’ve also used Trader Joe’s Soffritto seasoning and packets of Little Ceasar’s Zap Paks. Love both!
****This salad tastes better the longer it refrigerates and it can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days.