Spinach and Orzo Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I’m trying to work my way through a large tub of spinach this week before it gets wilted, so today I threw a bunch of it into a really simple salad with orzo, sun dried tomatoes (another ingredient I’m trying to use up), and some of my leftover feta that I have stashed in the freezer. I topped it all off with a super simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette. I absolutely LOVE  super simple salad like this Spinach and Orzo Salad. For me this would be a great light lunch, but you could also serve it along side some of your summer grilling!

I kept my salad simple because, like I said, I was using up leftovers. But, if you want to take it further you could always add some thinly sliced red onion, maybe some kalamata olives, grilled chicken, or chopped artichoke hearts. This salad is super flexible!

Spinach and Orzo Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

A quick homemade balsamic vinaigrette makes this simple Spinach and Orzo Salad extra special. Serve as a light lunch or a side with dinner. BudgetBytes.com

A quick homemade balsamic vinaigrette makes this simple Spinach and Orzo Salad extra special. Serve as a light lunch or a side with dinner. BudgetBytes.com
4.55 from 11 votes
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Spinach and Orzo Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

A quick homemade balsamic vinaigrette makes this simple Spinach and Orzo Salad extra special. Serve as a light lunch or a side with dinner.

Total Cost $5.50 recipe / $1.38 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.22
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.03
  • Salt and pepper to taste $0.03

SALAD

  • 1/2 lb orzo $0.50
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach $1.50
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes $1.50
  • 2 oz feta $1.12

Instructions

  1. Prepare the vinaigrette first to allow the flavors time to blend. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon, about 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a jar or bowl. Whisk until the ingredients are combined, or place a lid on the jar and shake for 10-15 seconds. Set the dressing aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the orzo. Once boiling, add the orzo and continue to boil until tender. Drain the orzo and allow it to cool just slightly.
  3. While waiting for the orzo to cook, chop the sun dried tomatoes into small pieces. Place them in a bowl and cover with hot water (I used a ladle full of boiling water from the pot just before adding the pasta). Let the chopped sun dried tomatoes sit in the hot water for about 5 minutes, then drain.
  4. Place the baby spinach in a large bowl. Add the drained and still warm orzo to the bowl, along with the soaked sun dried tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese. Pour the balsamic vinaigrette over top, then toss until the ingredients are combined and coated with vinaigrette. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

A quick homemade balsamic vinaigrette makes this simple Spinach and Orzo Salad extra special. Serve as a light lunch or a side with dinner. BudgetBytes.com

 

Step by Step Photos

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Make the balsamic vinaigrette first to allow the flavors a few minutes to blend. This dressing is super easy and only takes about five minutes. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, about 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to either a small jar or a bowl. Place a lid on the jar and shake for 10-15 seconds, or whisk it in a bowl until combined. Set the dressing aside.

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Cook 8oz. (about 1 cup) orzo according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain it in a colander, and let it cool for just a few minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sun dried tomatoes. These are the type that I use and in my local store they are in the produce department. I used about 1/2 cup of these tomato halves, which was about 11 pieces. The pieces are large, though, so we want to chop ’em up.

Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Since these are the dry type of sun dried tomatoes (as opposed to oil packed), we want to soften them up some. Place the chopped tomatoes in a bowl and cover them with hot water. I just ladled some of the boiling water that I was boiling for the orzo (before I actually added the orzo) over the tomatoes. Let them sit in the hot water for about 5 minutes, then drain them.

Spinach Orzo Tomatoes Feta

Place about 4 cups of fresh baby spinach in a large bowl. Add the drained and slightly cooled orzo (it should still be warm–this helps wilt the spinach just a bit), softened sun dried tomatoes, and 2 oz. crumbled feta.

Drizzle on Balsamic Vinaigrette

Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over the salad (I used the entire batch of vinaigrette).

Mix Spinach and Orzo Salad

Toss the ingredients together until they are combined and coated in the balsamic vinaigrette. The spinach leaves will soften after a few minutes as they absorb the dressing and heat from the orzo. I like to save just a little of the feta to sprinkle over top as well.

A quick homemade balsamic vinaigrette makes this simple Spinach and Orzo Salad extra special. Serve as a light lunch or a side with dinner. BudgetBytes.com

And that’s it! Could this Spinach and Orzo Salad be any easier?? Good food doesn’t have to be complicated.