Spinach Orzo Salad is easy to make and bursting with Mediterranean flavors. Loaded with tender baby spinach, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, this may be the best orzo salad ever. And this main dish or side is ready to eat in under an hour. This orzo salad recipe is vegan with a gluten-free option.
Spinach Orzo Salad is one of my favorite recipes.
Once I start eating it, it's hard for me to stop.
It contains three of my favorite Mediterranean diet pantry staples: kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts.
Adding any of these ingredients to your favorite recipes takes them to another level.
And when you add all three, the results are the best orzo salad ever!
Is orzo a pasta or rice?
Orzo is a small pasta shaped like rice.
As Southern Living explains in the article This Is the Difference Between Orzo and Rice,
Rice is rice. Orzo is only shaped like rice.
So if you're wondering if you can substitute rice in place of the orzo in this spinach orzo salad recipe, you can, but then you'll end up with a rice salad rather than a pasta salad.
And since orzo is readily available, even in gluten-free varieties, stick with orzo for this Spinach Orzo Salad.
Is orzo eaten hot or cold?
Since orzo is a pasta, it can be eaten either hot or cold.
In addition you can serve it topped with a simple garlicky tomato sauce like in Cherry Tomato Pasta with Fresh Basil.
But it's also really wonderful served cold in salads like Mediterranean Orzo Salad and this Spinach Orzo Salad.
To speed up the cooling process, once the orzo is cooked and drained, toss it with a little olive oil and spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet.
This way the orzo won't clump together, and it will cool fairly quickly, in about 15 minutes.
Spinach Orzo Salad ingredients
For this orzo salad recipe you will need the following ingredients:
- orzo (Choose gluten-free if you have a sensitivity like I do.)
- olive oil
- baby spinach
- sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (Choose ones that are already julienned.)
- kalamata olives (Choose ones that are sliced, if possible.)
- pine nuts
- fresh basil
And for the dressing you'll need:
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- fresh garlic
- salt and pepper
Is orzo pasta good for you?
Pasta is part of a healthy plant-based Mediterranean diet.
But preparation and moderation is key.
As you can imagine, we don't want to eat it in super-sized quantities with unhealthy sauces.
However, it's a great staple to keep on hand to enjoy with a little heart-healthy olive oil, vegetables, fresh herbs, and legumes.
To learn more, check out the short article Eat Pasta Responsibly on the Mediterranean Diet.
Spinach Orzo Salad Recipe
This recipe makes about 4 servings as a main dish. If you are making it as a side dish, you'll have about 6 servings.
You can either serve it right away, or cover and refrigerate it for later.
Orzo salad lasts a few days in the fridge.
It's delicious for lunch or as part of a spread with other salads.
And don't forget to bring Spinach Orzo Salad to your next potluck and watch it disappear.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!
Spinach Orzo Salad
FOR THE ORZO SALAD
FOR THE DRESSING
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the orzo according to the package directions.
- Drain the orzo and spread it out on a baking sheet. Toss the orzo with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let cool, about 15 minutes.
- Place the cooled orzo in a large salad bowl along with the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, and basil.
- In a small jar or bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat. Enjoy right away or cover and refrigerate for later.