Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Yield: 2-3 main dish or 4-6 side dish servings
A short list of ingredients comes together with ease for this wholesome, vegetarian salad that can be enjoyed warm or cold. The base recipe is delicious as is, but the list of optional add-ins shows how flexible it is as well.


  • 1 cup (188g) orzo (gluten-free if needed)
  • 3 ½ to 4 cups fresh baby spinach*
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained chickpeas (may use a full 15-oz can if eating salad as a vegetarian entrée)
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese (round the cup if you’d like a little extra)
  • ⅓ cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup (60-80 ml) Balsamic Vinaigrette, Greek Vinaigrette, or Zesty Italian Vinaigrette, more or less to taste


  1. Cook the orzo: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the orzo and boil until tender, about 11 minutes from when the water returns to a boil. Check a minute or two early so as not to overcook – or give an extra minute or two, if needed. When done, drain the orzo very well.

    While the orzo is cooking, place the spinach in a large bowl. When done, add the well-drained but still hot orzo to the bowl, followed by the chickpeas, olives, and feta. Pour the vinaigrette over top, and then toss to evenly coat the ingredients.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with an additional drizzle of vinaigrette, if desired.


* I use about 3½ ounces of spinach. For easy measuring, figure 1 ounce = 1 lightly packed cup = 1 big handful. You may also adjust the proportions of this salad, as desired, making it more of a green salad or more of a pasta salad.

Optional add-ins:

  • Chicken: You can stir in 1 large chicken breast, chopped (leftover grilled or rotisserie is great; for ease I like Parchment Packet Chicken baked with Greek seasoning). Or top plated portions with chicken breast, sliced, using a half to a whole breast per serving, depending on appetite.
  • Cucumber – about 1 cup, chopped
  • Red onion or scallions – 3 to 4 tablespoons minced red onion or 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • Red pepper – For the sake of color, this makes a nice alternative to the tomatoes. I like about ½ a red bell pepper, very thinly sliced. Alternatively, you could use roasted red peppers.
  • Sun dried tomatoes (about ¼ cup, chopped – I use jarred tomatoes in oil, well drained. Could use the dry variety that needs to be soaked in hot water. In this case, scoop a ladleful when the orzo is cooking and soak 5 minutes before draining well.)
  • Artichokes – one small (~6-ounce) jar marinated hearts, well drained and quartered.

More recipes at