Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Greens

October  4, 2010
8 Ratings
  • Serves 6, as a side dish
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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.
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  • fuhsi
  • Jaynerly

30 Reviews

Cookingcarefully August 16, 2022
Beets are delicious, but tricky. No pink pasta for me. Thanks, but no thanks. Beets are much prettier with black lentils. Would love to see a caviar lentil and beet recipe—hard pass on the pink foods.
Cookie November 11, 2022
My family and guests (and me) love the pink tint and bright taste to this recipe. I used chard, because there were not enough beet greens, and substituted chopped raw pistachio for the pine nuts. This will become a regular side. Great recipe.
NXL November 8, 2021
The flavors of this dish are great. I love the simplicity. The pasta turned more of an orange for me, possibly because I included the chopped stems when cooking the beets. The dish was a little dry at the end, so I added a bit more olive oil.
emmathecupcake September 10, 2020
Amazing dish! Both beautiful and delicious! I replaced the beet greens (which I didn't have) with baby spinach and it worked fabulously! Also, used goat's cheese feta which was great!! Cannot wait to make again!
Shannon R. October 26, 2015
This was SO good! I used kale to replace beet greens ( beets came "de-greened). Perfect for a fall dinner- thank you!
vickiflan January 17, 2014
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.
raisa W. January 14, 2014
Great meal. I used goat cheese instead of feta (what was in the fridge) and we loved it.
Lindsay C. December 3, 2013
Simple and delicious! I made it with golden beets. Very pretty.
vivavo February 8, 2013
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!
mindia January 11, 2012
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!
tail.feathers August 26, 2011
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!
Melissa W. August 3, 2011
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.
Loved this recipe! Threw in some asparagus with the greens and it worked well. Thanks parsley thief!
Blissful B. June 18, 2011
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!
xMarcus April 7, 2011
This was great - beautiful and delicious.. We had it as a main course (served 2-3).
fuhsi April 2, 2011
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.
Jaynerly March 20, 2011
This sounds delicious, look forward to trying it!
EmilyNunn December 15, 2010
This looks so beautiful, and, as described, has given me a mean hankering for beets. Will make this soon. Congrats!
allie December 15, 2010
This is why I love food52 -- I'd never think to make something like this; it's seasonal, easy and interesting. Thank you!
WinnieAb December 15, 2010
Yay Kate! Love this and can't wait to make it :)
KitchenLittle December 15, 2010
congrats on the win! I can't wait to make this :)