Saturday, April 25, 2009

Orzo Salad - Garden to Table!

This salad is the perfect way to use cherry tomatoes from your garden if you grow them.  Or, visit your local farmers' market if you have one.  If you can get freshly grown local tomatoes they are the best! I won't complain if you have to get store bought though, this salad will still taste great :)

This was a salad recipe that we were served by friends in Georgia when we were there to visit last year she was kind enough to share it with me. I made it for lunch today and it is as delicious as I remembered!

With grated lemon zest, cherry or grape tomatoes and fresh spinach and basil, it is full of fresh, healthy and tasty flavors. Two of my favorite things to grow in the summer are tomatoes and basil, a wonderful combination.

If you are craving salads like I am, I hope you give this one a try!

The original recipes does not call for Mediterranean Salt salt but I think it adds a wonderful flavor. I prefer Sarah's Sea Salt.

Orzo Salad with Spinach, Tomatoes and Basil
Printable Recipe

Serves 4-6

1 lb of fresh spinach (baby or regular), washed, dried and stems removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
The zest of 2 lemons
1 and 1/2 cups orzo, cooked according to package directions and drained
24 basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt (or Mediterranean Sea Salt with Lavender) & Pepper

Pile the spinach leaves into stacks and slice thinly into julienne strips. Prepare the basil leaves the same way. Halve the tomatoes and zest the lemons.

Cook the orzo.

Place the julienne spinach into a medium bowl, add the halved tomatoes and lemon zest. After the orzo is drained, add the hot, cooked orzo to the same bowl. The heat of the orzo will wilt the spinach and warm the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil, add the sliced basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, toss and either serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

It tastes best served immediately but is still wonderful cold. This salad would also be wonderful with toasted pine nuts!


  1. I was actually on the net earlier looking for something new to make for dinner...I am so glad I stopped here before giving up!!!

    This is exactly what I am in the mood for!!! Yummy!!! Throw in a piece of fish...a perfect dinner!!!

    I love the red plates...gorgeos...and of course you know I am crazy over the Mackenzie Childs!!! I leave that collander sitting out all the time.
    Tooo cute!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for the dinner suggestion;)!!!

  2. Great you think walnuts would work with it?

  3. That is a beautiful salad Susan and I am sure it tastes just as wonderful. I have been seeing a lot of salad recipes lately containing orzo. I'm going to have to get on the banc wagon!

  4. Thank you, Cathy, Kathleen and Suzy :)

    Kathleen, I just went into the frig, grabbed a spoonful of the salad and put a walnut on the top and tasted it. It wasn't bad but I still think pine nuts would taste better and add to the overall Mediterranean taste of the salad.

  5. A lovely-looking salad: will make it this weekend! Thank you for the recipe.

  6. That salad looks so delicious, Susan! I'm loving the change now to lighter fare! Perfect for a spring weekend lunch! The tomatoes on the cutting board, great picture!

  7. Susan, what a wonderful sounding salad. I, too, could make a meal of it and be content. However, John couldn't or won't ... The grape tomatoes around here are surprisingly tasty year round.

    I love the last photo ... so sharp and vibrant.

  8. Susan, this is one of our very favorite summer meals! I make it a lot. And yes, delicious with pine nuts. Terrific pics, as always!

  9. That sounds refreshing.I love all the ingredients..your MC colander is still a favorite!

  10. Thank you, Juno, Carol, Cynthia, Jayne and Monique. I'll be having the leftovers for lunch again today :)

  11. This dish really does remind me that summer is just around the corner!

    Looking delicious and you know how I feel about those gorgeous red cabbage bowls..has to make everything taste better.

    Now I know what they mean when they say... you eat with your eyes first!!

  12. Hey- quick question- though the food looks fab I just have to ask you this-- where did you get your amazing colander??
    Thank you!

  13. Thanks Barb and Meredith! Meredith, it's from the Mackenzie-Childs collection and was purchased at a local store that carries the brand. Glad you like it ;)

  14. Susan, stop by Linderhof, I have something for you.

  15. Susan, this salad does sound really good and speaks of summer. Your photos are amazing as always but I think you could make a piece of cardboard look tasty with your beautiful red dinnerware and photography skills.

  16. Now there's a healthy salad I can eat! Thanks for posting it... And the beautiful photos!

    Really Rainey

  17. The salad looks wonderful and I also noticed your colander, its so pretty! I love salads that include pasta to make them a meal.

  18. The salad looks incredible. Fresh and flavorful. I would love to find fresh basil!! The basil around here (Cincinnati, Ohio) has been picked for sometime and not as fresh as I would like. Thanks for sharing.


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