When I’m in need of a salad recipe, there are several bloggers that come to mind. There’s Georgia of The Comfort of Cooking, Aggie over at Aggie’s Kitchen, and then there is Val. No, not this Val, I’m talking about Val SoCal. Her blog and her recipes are just like her – light, breezy, and beautiful. And true to that SoCal vibe, her site feels like summer all year round.
This wonderful pasta salad is adapted from her version and is at the very top of my list of fabulous salads. I’ve made it a bunch of times and it’s one of my favorite dishes to bring to a summer gathering. It makes a lot, it’s light and delicious, and everyone loves it.
I highly recommend making it ahead of time and letting it sit in the fridge since the flavor and texture only improve with a little chilling time. In fact, the leftovers will be just as tasty since the salad holds up incredibly well in the fridge overnight. Try topping it with some sliced, grilled chicken for lunch or an easy dinner the next day. Heaven.
Even though orzo looks like rice it is actually pasta and can be found in the dry pasta section of your grocery store. Boil it according to the package directions, drain it and then rinse it with cold water. Drain it really well again and set it aside for now.
Let’s get started on prepping the other ingredients.
You can use either red or the darker purple grapes like these. The contrast is so pretty in this salad. Cut the grapes in half and mince up your red onion.
Mix together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes. Remove them from the oven, coarsely chop them and set them aside. Sorry, didn’t snap a photo of the nuts.
Combine the cooked and drained orzo, onion, baby spinach, the dressing, and about half of the grapes and feta. We want to save the rest to garnish the top of the salad so it will be beau-tee-ful!
Combine the mixture and then top it with the remaining grapes, feta,and the toasted walnuts. To make it ahead of time, add everything except the walnuts then cover and chill it for as long as needed, up to 24 hours. Add the toasted walnuts just before serving.
Take it from the Val from NorCal, you need this salad in your life.
Orzo, Grape, Feta Salad
Servings: 8 to 10
- 1 pound package orzo pasta
- 2 cups red grapes, halved
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup walnuts
Boil orzo according to package directions. Rinse with cool water and drain well. Transfer to a large serving bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts in a small dish and bake for 5 minutes or till warm and lightly toasted. Remove from oven, coarsely chop, and set aside.
Combine oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, garlic powder, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Add the half of the grapes, all of the baby spinach, and all of the red onion to the orzo. Add dressing and half of the feta and toss well to distribute the dressing. Top with remaining grapes, feta, and chopped walnuts. Serve.
To make ahead: Follow as directed above but don’t add the walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with walnuts just before serving.
Adapted from ValSoCal