It's hot out these days! When it's so hot outside, turning on the oven isn't high on anyone's priority list. That's where this simple orzo salad comes in. After boiling some pasta and browning a couple of chicken sausages, you can turn off the stove, stir in the other components, and sit down to a cool summer meal.
I find orzo so versatile. I've used it in lots of salads in the past, as well as in risotto-like dishes. My go-to is usually an orzo salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil, but recently I wanted to switch it up a bit. Here, the orzo serves as just the right background for some flavorful Mediterranean components: feta, kalamata olives, and roasted red pepper. A little baby spinach adds some green and balances the intense flavors, and some chicken sausage turns the dish into a complete meal (vegetarians can try it with chickpeas).
This cool summer salad makes a nice light dinner for four (or a more filling dinner for three). Try it with some crusty bread on the side to round out the meal.
Orzo Salad With Chicken Sausage, Spinach, And Feta
This simple orzo salad features chicken sausage, spinach, feta, kalamata olives, and roasted red pepper and makes a flavorful one-bowl summer supper.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
1 cup orzo
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 spinach and feta chicken sausages
2½ ounces baby spinach, chopped
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 jarred roasted red pepper, chopped fine
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (I used O Cabernet Vinegar)
½ cup crumbled feta, plus extra for serving
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo until al dente according to package directions. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in olive oil, and set aside.
Meanwhile pan-fry the sausages in a medium skillet according to the package directions. Transfer the sausages to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. When they're cool enough to handle, quarter them lengthwise, and then slice them ¼ inch thick. Let the sausages cool completely.
Stir the sausages, spinach, olives, roasted red pepper, and vinegar into the orzo.
Stir in the feta, and then let the salad sit briefly so the flavors can meld.
Serve (at room temperature), garnishing with extra feta.
To double the recipe and serve a crowd, simply double all the ingredients.
This recipe has some salty components, which I love, but if you think it might be too salty for your tastes, feel free to cut back on the feta and olives or hold off on adding them until the end, and just add them to taste.
The salad is best the day it's made, but any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and eaten the next day.
What are you making to keep cool this summer?