Make Ahead

Orzo Summer Salad

June 21, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 7 minutes
  • Serves A lot!
Author Notes

I've been making this recipe for years -- it's one of the most popular dishes at any Picnic or BBQ, I think because of the perfect combination of the sweet tomatoes with the salty cheese and lemony dressing. It also doesn't hurt that it's just so darn pretty and colorful to look at. The best part about the orzo salad is you can make it ahead of time (it gets better as the hours pass) and you can feed an army of picnic-ers. If there happens to be any leftovers, it's wonderful the next day too. —cdilaura

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound Orzo
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 pieces scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 pound feta
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo according to package instructions (approx. 7 minutes).
  2. While the orzo is cooking, roughly chop baby spinach and add to a large bowl.
  3. Juice and zest 1 large lemon and add 1/4 cup olive oil to a separate small bowl and whisk together.
  4. When orzo is done cooking, drain thoroughly and add to the large bowl, pouring over spinach leaves. {TIP: Adding the orzo while warm will slightly cook the spinach so you get softer, brighter spinach leaves}
  5. Pour the lemon-olive oil dressing over the orzo, crumble the feta and add the chopped green onions and halved grape tomatoes. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready -- this salad gets better with time as the orzo soaks up all the lemon and olive oil {TIP: Remove salad 15 minutes before serving if chilled to allow the olive oil to come back to room temperature.}
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • EvaL
  • Sue Wuest
    Sue Wuest
Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, mine was wooden. With an Italian heritage on one side and a Lebanese heritage on the other, good food was never hard to find. I grew up with Sunday dinners at Grandma’s, big pots of sauce simmering away on the stove all day and hand cut pasta drying on the rack in the basement. The perfume of lemon, garlic, garden grown herbs and other fresh ingredients always scented our family kitchens. So it is no surprise that my love for fresh, hand-prepared food is something I now love to share with new and old friends. Because of that, I put on my apron, sharpened my knives and started a blog and NYC supper club called 8.ate@eight to continue spreading the good food love.

3 Reviews

EvaL July 18, 2021
This was amazing! I was skeptical because it was so easy. I halved the recipe since it’s just for me. I think I’ll do the full recipe and ad chicken and make it a yummy lunch.
Sue W. January 18, 2014
I've been making the salad for years it's always a big hit. IPad toasted pine nuts and sometimes grilled chicken to the salad. I've also turned into a hot pasta dish by throwing the room temperature veggies in with hot or so just out of the pot.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 15, 2013
I love this recipe. My local gourmet market sells something like this (actually exactly like this for $10.00/lb.!) I make a version using baby arugula and use parsley instead of scallions. It keeps well in the fridge. Thank you for sharing.