When Summer is too hot for mayonnaise-based anything, give this super light and refreshing orzo salad a try. It might just be the hit of your next gathering. The best part, this works with just about any vegetables and herbs you have on hand. Just one rule – toast your orzo before boiling for a subtle, nutty flavor.

Here’s our version, we’d love to hear what you tried in comments! 


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dried orzo pasta 
1 onions, chopped fine (we used red in the picture)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water, more as needed
4-5 big handfuls of fresh chopped or baby spinach (it cooks down dramatically)
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, the best, in season tomatoes you can find 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons of chopped, fresh parsley (or herb of your choice) 
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


In large, wide saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add orzo to pan and stir in the oil for 2-3 minutes until orzo browns all over. Orzo will crisp up. Add chopped onions and salt. Stir for another minute.

Add water and turn up to medium high. Cook, until orzo is cooked through (about 7-9 minutes) adding more water if the orzo becomes dry, similar to a risotto.

Turn off heat and add spinach. Stir until cooked down, add chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and parsley.   Chill for an hour in wide / flat dish to cool quickly. Add feta before serving, and optionally, more herbs. 







Other additions you might want to try:

sautéed  mushrooms
artichoke hearts 
black or green olives 
diced cucumbers 
shredded carrots
zucchini / summer squash
chopped red or green pepper
chopped grilled or roasted eggplant
sliced cherry tomatoes
chopped garlic scapes
chopped green or broad beans
chopped asparagus  
chopped green onion

Alternate Herbs:

cilantro, mint, basil, rosemary  



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