Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Greens

By • October 4, 2010 26 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!

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