Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Greens

By • October 4, 2010 25 Comments

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Author Notes: I harvested our beets this week, with a mission to come up with something to do with them, that could also use up the greens. This is what I came up with.
I was very pleased with the results...the bitter greens, the sweet beets, some salty feta...it was delicious. I especially loved the colors in this salad. It's like Fall on a plate. - the parsley thief
the parsley thief

Food52 Review: Seasonal, smart, and beautiful, the parsley thief's warm orzo salad is stained fuchsia from cooking the pasta in the same tinted water as the beets, a thoughtful detail we love. And though we'd expect to see red onions left raw in a salad like this, caramelizing them makes the dish both heartier and sweeter, and they mingle happily with the salty bursts of feta, tender beets, woodsy greens, and crunchy, toasted nuts (if you don't have pine nuts, slivered almonds are a great inexpensive substitute). This dish would look striking on a holiday buffet or alongside a handsome roasted bird. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6, as a side dish

  • 3/4 pound beets, with greens attached
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat the pine nuts in a dry skillet, over medium heat, until they begin to brown. Watch them carefully, as they will burn in a flash. Remove from the heat & transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Peel the beets & chop them into bite-sized pieces. Remove the stems from the beet greens & slice the leaves into strips. Wash the greens thoroughly to remove any grit.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion & garlic. Cook until the onions are tender & golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low & add the beet greens. Cover & cook, tossing occasionally, until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the beets in a pot of salted water, until just tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the beets from the pot using a slotted spoon & set aside. Return the water to a boil & add the pasta. Cook, according to the package instructions, until al dente & drain. Add the orzo to a bowl, along with the beets, pine nuts, beet greens & crumbled feta. Toss, season with salt & pepper to taste & serve.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

More Great Recipes: Beets|Side Dishes|Pasta|Salads|Olive Oil

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Comments (25) Questions (4)


over 1 year ago vickiflan

loved this dish! we made it tonight but i didn't have orzo so i used farro and arugula because my beets didn't have the greens attached. yum. we will make it again it turned or great! thanks.


over 1 year ago raisa williams

Great meal. I used goat cheese instead of feta (what was in the fridge) and we loved it.


over 1 year ago LindsayC77

Simple and delicious! I made it with golden beets. Very pretty.


over 2 years ago vivavo

Oh my is this good! I love all the different textures and flavors. It's so good cold and warm. It's in the rotation now!


over 3 years ago mindia

Made this as a main course and really enjoyed the flavor combinations. I used whole wheat orzo, and also roasted the beets rather than boiling them. (The orzo still got the characteristic staining once the beets were mixed with the pasta, in case one chooses to roast and forgo the pink-tinged boiling water.) Thanks for the yum!


about 4 years ago tail.feathers

Loved this! I jumped the gun and started roasting my beets before reading the boiling instruction. No biggie - I just diced and added at the end. So delish!


about 4 years ago Melissa Whitfield Conway

I had this the next day at a friends cold out of the fridge and it was amazing! The sweet flavor of the beets and the feta were great together. I cant wait to make this for my family.


about 4 years ago lamingtonsandlasagna

Loved this recipe! Threw in some asparagus with the greens and it worked well. Thanks parsley thief!


about 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

I made this tonight. It's the perfect blend of colors, textures & tastes. Sweet beets, bitter greens, salty feta, caramelized onions, toasty nuts, smooth pink pasta....beautiful & delicious! I agree with fuhsi that the amounts are chosen perfectly. Often I want to increase/decrease something in a recipe, but not here. The only substitutions I made were almonds for the pine nuts & israeli couscous for the orzo (because that's what I had in my cupboards.) Thanks for a wonderful recipe. It's a keeper!


over 4 years ago xMarcus

This was great - beautiful and delicious.. We had it as a main course (served 2-3).


over 4 years ago fuhsi

I've made this recipe several times, and am right now making it again. The second time I strayed from the recipe, increasing the beets:orzo ratio, but have reversed back to being true to stated amounts, because the texture as is cannot be surpassed.


over 4 years ago Jaynerly

This sounds delicious, look forward to trying it!


over 4 years ago ENunn

This looks so beautiful, and, as described, has given me a mean hankering for beets. Will make this soon. Congrats!


over 4 years ago allie

This is why I love food52 -- I'd never think to make something like this; it's seasonal, easy and interesting. Thank you!


over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Yay Kate! Love this and can't wait to make it :)


over 4 years ago KitchenLittle

congrats on the win! I can't wait to make this :)


over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

This is lovely - congrats on the wildcard win!


over 4 years ago MakeThatMakeThis

So beautiful!


over 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations! My husband and I love beets, and this sounds delish.


over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats on the Wildcard win. Love this.


over 4 years ago gingerroot

Beautiful and delicious! Congrats on the Wildcard win. I have some lovely CSA beets and greens that now have a recipe...


over 4 years ago Lizthechef

Wow, what a winter winner!!


over 4 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats on the wildcard win! The stained colors and blended flavors fuse artfully here.


over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

So festive! Congrats on the wildcard win!


over 4 years ago thirschfeld

you can pretty much put this one on my to do list. Beautiful