Spinach Feta Orzo Salad

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Craving a light, flavorful, and quick salad that’s perfect for any occasion? Look no further than this spinach, feta, and orzo salad!

A bowl of spinach and orzo salad topped with Feta cheese on a wooden table.
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A bowl of spinach and feta salad with a wooden spoon next to it.

Orzo Salad With Feta, Olives, and Spinach

Looking for a vibrant and satisfying salad that’s as easy on your eyes as it is on your taste buds?

This spinach, feta, and orzo salad hits all the marks! Combining the nutritious power of spinach with the creaminess of feta cheese and the delicate bite of orzo pasta, this salad offers a delightful balance of textures and flavors.

Whether you need a quick and healthy lunch or a refreshing side dish for your next potluck, this versatile recipe is sure to become a new go-to.

Two wooden bowls with spinach and orzo, one topped with feta.

How to Make Spinach Feta Orzo Salad

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Orzo Pasta: Provides the base of the salad. Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta that adds a chewy texture and serves as a hearty foundation for the other ingredients.
  • Fresh Spinach Leaves: Add vibrant color, freshness, and a mild earthy flavor to the salad. Chopped spinach leaves contribute essential nutrients and vitamins to the dish.
  • Feta Cheese: Adds creaminess, tanginess, and a salty kick to the salad. Crumbled feta cheese provides a rich and savory flavor that contrasts beautifully with the other ingredients.
  • Pine Nuts (Toasted): Provide a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the salad. Toasted pine nuts add depth and richness to the dish while enhancing its overall taste profile.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Serves as the base of the salad dressing. Extra virgin olive oil adds richness, smoothness, and a fruity flavor to the salad. It also helps bind the other ingredients together.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Adds acidity and brightness to the salad dressing. Balsamic vinegar provides a tart and slightly sweet flavor that balances the richness of the olive oil and feta cheese.
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Season the salad and enhance its flavors. Salt and pepper add depth and balance, bringing out the natural flavors of the ingredients without overpowering them.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

  • Cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat until lightly golden and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the chopped spinach, crumbled feta cheese, and toasted pine nuts to the bowl with the cooked orzo.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and champagne vinegar until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Pour the olive oil and vinegar dressing over the orzo salad ingredients in the bowl. Toss gently to coat everything evenly.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You can add more olive oil, vinegar, salt, or pepper according to your preference.
  • Chill the orzo salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve the chilled orzo salad as a side dish or light main course. Enjoy!
A bowl of spinach and feta salad with orzo.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Spinach Feta Orzo Salad

Cook Orzo Al Dente: Cook the orzo pasta just until it’s al dente, as overcooked pasta can become mushy and affect the texture of the salad. Follow the package instructions for cooking time and ensure to salt the water for flavor.

Chill Orzo Before Mixing: After cooking, rinse the orzo under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from sticking together. Chill the cooked orzo in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before mixing it with the other ingredients to ensure it’s cold and firm.

Toast Pine Nuts: Toasting pine nuts enhances their flavor and adds a delightful crunch to the salad. Toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden brown and fragrant, being careful not to burn them.

Use Fresh Spinach: Opt for fresh spinach leaves instead of frozen for better texture and flavor. Chop the spinach leaves into bite-sized pieces to ensure they’re evenly distributed throughout the salad.

Crumbled Feta Cheese: Use high-quality crumbled feta cheese for maximum flavor. If possible, purchase a block of feta cheese and crumble it yourself for fresher taste and better texture.

Season Dressing Well: Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a separate bowl before tossing it with the salad. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning as needed to ensure it’s well-balanced.

Don’t Overdress the Salad: Start by adding a small amount of dressing to the salad and toss well. Gradually add more dressing as needed until the salad is evenly coated but not overdressed. You can always add more dressing later if desired.

Let Flavors Meld: Allow the assembled salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. This will enhance the overall taste of the salad and make it even more delicious.

Garnish Creatively: Before serving, garnish the salad with additional toasted pine nuts or fresh herbs like chopped parsley or basil for extra flavor and visual appeal.

FAQs

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, spinach feta orzo salad can be made ahead of time. However, it’s best to dress the salad just before serving to prevent it from becoming soggy. You can prepare the components in advance and assemble them when ready to eat.

How should I store leftovers?

Store leftover spinach feta orzo salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should be consumed within 2-3 days for the best quality.

Can I use baby spinach instead of regular spinach?

Yes, you can use baby spinach leaves instead of regular spinach. Baby spinach tends to be more tender and milder in flavor, which can work well in salads.

Can I substitute the champagne vinegar with another type of vinegar?

Yes, if you don’t have champagne vinegar, you can substitute it with white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even balsamic vinegar. Keep in mind that the flavor may vary slightly depending on the vinegar used.

Can I add other ingredients to this salad?

Absolutely! You can customize this salad to your liking by adding ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, roasted red peppers, or olives. Get creative and add your favorite vegetables for extra flavor and texture.

Can I make this salad vegan?

Yes, you can make this salad vegan by omitting the feta cheese or using a vegan cheese alternative. You can also substitute honey or agave nectar for the champagne vinegar in the dressing to make it vegan-friendly.

Can I serve this salad warm?

While spinach feta orzo salad is typically served cold, you can enjoy it warm if you prefer. Simply mix the cooked orzo with the other ingredients while it’s still warm, and the spinach will wilt slightly from the heat.

Can I use a different type of pasta instead of orzo?

Yes, you can use a different type of pasta such as farfalle, penne, or fusilli if you prefer. Just be mindful of the cooking time and adjust accordingly.

Can I add protein to this salad to make it a complete meal?

Yes, you can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to this salad to make it more filling and satisfying. Simply cook the protein of your choice separately and toss it with the salad before serving.

Two wooden bowls of feta and orzo salad.

What to Serve With Spinach Feta Orzo Pasta

Grilled Chicken: Serve grilled chicken breasts or thighs seasoned with herbs and spices alongside the salad for a protein-rich main course.

Garlic Shrimp: Sauté garlic shrimp with butter and lemon juice for a flavorful and light protein option that complements the salad beautifully.

Lemon-Herb Salmon: Roast or grill salmon fillets with a lemon-herb marinade for a healthy and flavorful addition to your meal.

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables: Grill or roast a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and Mediterranean herbs.

Quinoa: Serve a side of cooked quinoa seasoned with herbs and lemon juice for added protein and fiber.

Crusty Bread: Offer slices of crusty bread or garlic bread on the side for dipping into the salad dressing or enjoying alongside the meal.

Fresh Fruit Salad: Prepare a refreshing fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits such as berries, melons, grapes, and citrus fruits for a light and refreshing dessert or side dish.

Greek Yogurt Tzatziki: Serve a side of Greek yogurt tzatziki sauce for dipping grilled meats or as a creamy topping for the salad.

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas): Serve stuffed grape leaves filled with rice, herbs, and spices as a flavorful and aromatic appetizer or side dish.

Hummus and Pita Bread: Offer a platter of hummus with warm pita bread or pita chips for dipping alongside the salad.

Tabbouleh Salad: Prepare a refreshing tabbouleh salad with bulgur wheat, chopped parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lemon juice, and olive oil for a light and tangy side dish.

Roasted Potatoes: Roast small potatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and herbs until crispy and golden brown for a hearty and satisfying accompaniment to the salad.

Try these other recipes:

A bowl of orzo salad with feta on a wooden table.

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Spinach and feta salad.

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Two wooden bowls filled with spinach, feta, and orzo salad.
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Spinach Feta Orzo Salad

Spinach feta orzo salad is a refreshing and flavorful dish, combining tender orzo pasta with fresh spinach, tangy feta cheese, and a zesty lemon dressing.
Course Salads
Cuisine Greek
Keyword feta, greek, orzo, pasta salad, salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 273kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat until lightly golden and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the chopped spinach, crumbled feta cheese, and toasted pine nuts to the bowl with the cooked orzo.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and champagne vinegar until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Pour the olive oil and vinegar dressing over the orzo salad ingredients in the bowl. Toss gently to coat everything evenly.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You can add more olive oil, vinegar, salt, or pepper according to your preference.
  • Chill the orzo salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve the chilled orzo salad as a side dish or light main course. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 313mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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3 Comments

  1. Does this recipe use champagne or balsamic vinegar?—both are mentioned. Really want to try this, but want to get the right flavor. Thanks!!

    1. This recipe used balsamic vinegar, you can substitute champagne vinegar if you don’t have balsamic vinegar.