This Orzo Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Spinach, and Feta is a light, fresh dish that is a delicious choice for a summer BBQ menu.
It’s May, the kids will all be out of school soon, and regardless of the fact that we are still over a month away from the official start of summer, I’m already there. I’m so ready to fire up the grill and eat as many meals as possible outdoors. I love summer cooking!
Pasta salads are one of the first things to pop into my mind when planning a summer BBQ menu. Although this tasty salad would work any time of year, it’s just perfect on a plate with grilled chicken or steak and it’s an awesome choice to make and take to a potluck.
I looooove orzo in pasta salads. It is so unique and such a nice change from the typical pasta you find in most recipes.
The first step is to cook the orzo in chicken or vegetable broth to add a boost of flavor. After it cools you’ll mix it with chopped baby spinach, fresh basil, green onions, and jarred roasted red peppers. Add some toasted pine nuts and lots of crumbled feta for a sharp, tangy bite.
It’s all tossed together with a simple Lemon Honey Vinaigrette that adds a bright, lightly sweet, complement to the ingredients.
Make it a meal by simply topping it with some grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak. Pour a nice chilly glass of white or rosé wine and you’ve got yourself a delicious, summer meal.
Looking for more ideas on how to round this out into a meal? Here you go!
Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken
Jim’s Country Style BBQ Ribs
Grilled Greek Chicken Kabobs with Feta Dill Sauce
Whiskey Balsamic Steak
Grilled Greek Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce
Smoky Grilled Paprika Chicken
Check out my entire collection of summer pasta salad recipes.
Orzo Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Spinach, and Feta
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups orzo pasta
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, blotted dry and chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped baby spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (heat them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often until golden)
For the Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:
Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and honey. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the Orzo Salad:
Bring broth to a boil in a good sized saucepan or pasta pot. Add orzo and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain well in a fine mesh colander but do not rinse. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with 1 or 2 teaspoons of the prepared dressing to prevent it from sticking. Let the pasta cool to room temperature. If making in advance, cover and refrigerate cooled orzo until ready to assemble salad.
Toss the cooled pasta with the roasted red peppers, spinach, basil, and green onions. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle the feta and pine nuts over the top and toss lightly. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe