A Squared: Recipe Re-Do: Spinach, Tomato, & Orzo Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Friday, April 4, 2014

Recipe Re-Do: Spinach, Tomato, & Orzo Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

April has arrived and although the temps are still frigid here in Chicago, I have been channeling spring with my cooking lately... I'm just really done with soups, roasts, and chili for a while. You know what I mean, right? So today, I'm sharing a revamped version of one of my favorite spring and summertime side dishes: orzo salad.

This grown up pasta salad makes a perfect side dish to a variety of proteins. I love to serve it with seared shrimp or with grilled chicken breasts (which is how we enjoyed it this week). You could also toss in some cheese and/or toasted pine nuts and turn this into a delicious meatless entree too!

The sweet and tangy vinaigrette gets great flavor from a combination of lemon juice, vinegar, and honey. Combined with grape tomatoes, red onion, spinach, and sweet basil running throughout, this orzo salad is super refreshing.


  • 8 oz. dry orzo
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 10.5 oz. grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 6-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  When fully cooked, drain orzo and do not rinse.  In a large (non-metal) bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Add the warm orzo and chopped red onion to the vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Let the orzo mixture sit for 10 minutes to allow flavors to incorporate. Add spinach, tomatoes, and basil to the orzo mixture and toss to combine.  Season with additional salt and/or pepper to taste.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Looking for another great pasta salad? Try Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Pancetta!

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