Orzo and Spinach Salad

May 8, 2012

Summer is never subtle about it's arrival. It always jumps out of a forgotten corner, on some deceivingly mild Tuesday morning, and throws shorts, skirts, and dresses at my pale legs.

I don't like things that jump out at me. (Still can't be in the same room as a jack-in-the-box, or a bottle of champagne that's about to be uncorked.)

This year, I'm ready...pale, but ready. I'm re-energizing my lethargic-winter self, with fresh, delicious food, and pushing most of my sugary desserts onto willing friends and family. (Always keeping a small amount for myself, of course.)

This free-spirited, happy salad will leave you feeling just as free-spirited and happy. It's loaded with juicy grape tomatoes, salty Kalamata olives, leafy baby spinach (Popeye was onto something), and creamy feta. And unlike some pastas, orzo isn't burdened down by too much starchiness.

If spring came in the form of a salad, this would be it. And spring should work with you, not against you, when it comes to preparing for her dramatic, spotlight-stealing sibling, summer. 

Orzo Salad Print
adapted loosely from allrecipes
yields about 6-8 servings

salad ingredients
16 oz uncooked orzo pasta
10 oz chopped baby spinach
3/4 cup crumbled feta (feel free to use even more!)
1/2 cup  Kalamata olives (whole, or sliced in half)
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes (whole, or sliced in half)

dressing ingredients
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt (more can be added later, if desired)

Cook the orzo pasta according to directions on package. Drain and rise with cold water. Leave the cool orzo in the colander and allow the water to drain as you prepare the dressing.

In a small mixing bowl, vigorously whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and salt together until well combined. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Transfer the orzo pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the spinach, feta, olives, tomatoes, and  prepared dressing. Toss until everything is evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. I was giggling while reading your "introduction": I don't like the part of something-jumping-on-me of the summer either...

  2. White legs? Definitely know your pain! :) *hehe*

    Great looking salad! Reminds me of one my mom and I make every summer. Looking so forward to warm weather and long, sunny evenings on a patio. :)

  3. This is my kind of salad - perfect for a light, almost summer meal!

  4. A gorgeous dish! I am a big fan of orzo.



  5. I had to take a second glance at the authorship of this recipe as I scrolled through my blog reader this afternoon. :-) I depend on you for decadent, buttery, chocolatey things - but this is wonderful! And just as inspiring. :-)

  6. Your salad looks great! I seem to be putting feta in all my savory dishes these days.

    And for me, the key to baking and not gaining twenty pounds is to give most of it away too. All I really need is a sweet taste, and then I'll pass the rest along.

  7. Here in Georgia summer comes on like a tidal wave - you can see it coming a mile away and suddenly it hits and you're still stuck thinking man I wasn't ready for that!

  8. This is a salad with my name all over it. I'm 6 weeks away from a week in Las Vegas for Liv's Nationals, and I'm certain that means swim suit. I'm pushing those sugary treats away too in place of salads like these. I might even add quinoa in place of the orzo! (Though anything with orzo is a hit with me).
    As for summer jumping out at us... it doesn't do that here. It teases us, then it goes back behind the eternal marine layer that sits over San Diego for about 6 weeks. And yes... I get pale!

  9. i feel you on the pale legs - which i still manage to have despite living in southern california! that salad looks so fresh and vibrant, i definitely will be making it for lunch soon!


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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