Easy Layered Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad.
I have the prettiest spring salad today!
I can’t remember when the last time I posted a salad, but umm, today I am in a salad state of mind.
This easy layered Mediterranean orzo pasta salad is so fresh and is literally bursting with color and flavor!
And it’s so easy to put together too!
Actually the day I made this salad I kind of just walked into my pantry and started grabbing ingredients…which means it’s one of the best recipes, because for some reason the random recipes are always best.
Since this salad wasn’t planned, going to the grocery was most definitely not going to happen. It was one of those “use what you got” salads. AKA “the pantry salad”.
I am one of those people who pretty much always keeps a stocked pantry, and to be honest, I get a little anxious every time I know I am out of my backups…for my backups.
But ahh, the other day I ran out of peanut butter and almost cried. I was SO sure I had another jar, yeah, well I didn’t. I am actually thinking I need to start a list, or maybe make one of those chalkboard walls, so I can try to keep better inventory. Clearly, I am a little freakish about my pantry. Someday, I want one of those huge walk in pantries with pretty shelves of organized food. You know, like the ones straight out of a magazine? Yeah, I want that.
Thinking I could keep it organized for a good two hours before things were all over the place… again.
The point is, this salad is a pantry staple salad.
Or at least it was for me. I ALWAYS have these mediterranean ingredients on hand. What? I really LOVE mediterranean style food and I kind grew up on these flavors (hello, my dad’s Friday Night Pasta Dish), so for me, they are total staples.
OK. SO. I really created this recipe with an Easter picnic in mind, but honestly, it would be great to make from today through the end of summer. Even then, you could still make it with a few substitutions pretty much anytime of the year.
The best part is, you can prepare this salad completely in advance and just grab and go whenever you are ready for it. Whether its Easter brunch, an Easter picnic, as a packed work lunch or whatever. It’s good for SO many things. You can even veganize it by just leaving out that feta cheese. I mean, I would never, ever do that, but everybody’s got their own thing going on.
Oh, and you can make this in cute jars for individual servings or you can layer it in a big glass salad bowl. Either way it’s super fun. I guess I like the glass jars better, but I kind of have a thing for glass jars. Yup, weirdo alert for sure.
Double oh? Those flowers?! I am sorry if they are just too much for these photos, but oh my gosh, I love them and I could not help but include them in these photos. A super kind women I work with sent them to me and I have been enjoying every minute of them. Plus, it’s spring and flowers should be everywhere! <–TRUTH.
Easy Layered Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 pound orzo pasta use gluten free if needed
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can chickpeas drained + rinsed, 14 ounce
- 1 ounce jar marinated + roasted artichokes lightly chopped, 12
- 2 ounce roasted red peppers or 1 jar roasted red peppers sliced, 12
- 1 cup fresh basil + 1/4 cup fresh parsley + 1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled (omit if making vegan)
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 6 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- in a glass jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice + zest, balsamic vinegar, garlic, crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Assembling the Salads
- Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain.
- Grab 4-6 (16-28 ounce) glass jars. Evenly layer each jar in order with dressing, chickpeas, roasted veggies (the artichokes and red peppers, orzo, basil, parsley, mint, kalamata olives, feta cheese, pine nuts). Fill the jars to just the top with spinach. Top the salads off with cherry tomatoes. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 1 day. To serve, you can either eat straight from the jar or dump out into bowls.
Also, this salad? It will get you over the Wednesday hump…it’s those colors!