Make Ahead

Orzo Summer Salad

by:
June 21, 2011
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

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 7 minutes
  • Serves a lot!
Ingredients
  • 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  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.}
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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 [email protected] to continue spreading the good food love.