Spinach Orzo Salad

This is a great unique pasta salad. It’s different than traditional pasta salads; somehow it seems a little more elegant. But it’s completely make-ahead and tastes great served up next to some freshly grilled hamburgers or steaks. It’s also a great potluck dish, which is where I first tasted it. My friend Hillary brought this to a potluck dinner we were at recently, and I loved it. Actually, everyone loved it and kept raving about it. Well, everyone except Mike, but he doesn’t like feta cheese, so we’re discounting his opinion.

It’s really simple to make, and it has such a unique flavor. The combination of white pepper, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese is just perfect. It’s delicious as a side salad, but I think you could even add some chicken or other protein and turn it into a main dish. I liked it so much when I tried it that I immediately asked for the recipe and made it as a side dish for our Mother’s day cookout last weekend. Mike didn’t give a rating, since he refused to eat it, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy it.

Spinach and Orzo Salad


1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
~3/4 of a (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
~1/4 cup olive oil (more if it's too dry)
~1/2 cup balsamic vinegar


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, basil and white pepper. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold.

adapted from All Recipes

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  1. Sounds delicious! We love orzo. I bet the feta tastes so good in there. Yum!

  2. oh I'm saving this recipe – it sounds perfect for the spring/summer!

  3. I love orzo! This looks delicious! I love the idea of adding spinach!

  4. I've never tried orzo, but I've been meaning to!

  5. that would be so great for a potluck too! the spinach really give it that POP in color.. and in flavor too i bet! and it looks like it would serve a lot of people- how great is that!

  6. This salad looks so good!

  7. Oh! This is something I can try…have orzo and spinach…looks yummie and healthy.

  8. That looks amazing! I think the pine nuts and feta make the dish. :)

  9. This looks delicious! Yum!

  10. Perfect summer salad! I may make this tonight!

  11. Meg. I have been so delinquent at commenting, but I have been making tons of your recipes lately. (And all that haven't been yours have been from blogs I found through you–thanks!) I have to comment on this one, though… it's my new favorite thing to make, I guess, cause I've been making it a lot — it's basically always summer potluck season over here and this is a perfect dish. I made it yesterday for a lunch with several of my neighbors and they loved it. I'm making more right now to mix with yesterday's leftovers and take to another party today. And Luke really loves it!! :-)

  12. Oh and also, I have been recommending you around like crazy to anyone who asks for recipes and you have at least 5 or 10 followers in Dubai now, and counting… the other day I was at a party and someone else brought your herbed greek yogurt dip! (which was also really really good! :-))

  13. Cara – Your comment made my day! I'm so glad you have enjoyed the recipes you tried. And you made me laugh out loud to know I have a fan base in Dubai :) I miss you guys and hope you're doing well!

  14. Do you know about how many servings this makes?

  15. C.Boo – I'm not sure on the number of servings, but it definitely serves a crowd! If you can tell in the second picture, it pretty much filled my large mixing bowl. If I was making it for a regular dinner, I would definitely cut down the recipe, but as is, it's perfect for a potluck or picnic. Good luck!

  16. Yum! This is very similar to a staple in our house, called Elegant Orzo. The only difference is that I add 2 Tablespoons sun dried tomato pesto, or a handful of diced sun dried tomatoes if I don’t have the pesto, use shallots instead of red onion, and sometimes a teaspoon of dried mustard. It’s such a forgiving recipe, it’s flexible.

    • megan replied: — May 28th, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

      The addition of pesto sounds wonderful!

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