Spinach and feta orzo. What happens when you pair the flavors of spanakopita with an orzo pasta salad? You get my brilliant and irresistible Spinach and Feta Orzo! The idea came to me the other day when my mom set out to make spinach and rice soup. The concept was even better in reality than I had imagined.
This recipe uses all the main components of spanakopita (spinach and phyllo pie): creamy feta, earthy spinach, and anise-y dill. These all-star Mediterranean ingredients are combined with orzo, one of my favorite tiny pasta shapes (aka pastina).
Orzo is shaped like rice, but it is in fact a wheat-based pasta, and therefore not gluten-free. It’s commonly used in soups, broths, and pasta salads, and is popular in Italian and Greek cuisines. Orzo’s tiny size means it cooks quickly and also has a lovely silky mouthfeel. You can find orzo in most grocery stores in the pasta aisle. The name itself is misleading as orzo means “barley” in Italian when there’s absolutely no barley in it.
Spinach and Feta Orzo
- 1 cup orzo (8 ounces/190 grams)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped frozen spinach (100 grams)
- 100 grams feta (about 3/4 cup) measure with your heart
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- Cook the orzo in salted water until al dente. Note: the water should be as salty as the sea as it's your only chance to flavor the orzo. Salt the water after it comes to a boil, stir, and add in the orzo.
- In the meantime, warm the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to cook until softened, about another 2 minutes.
- Add the frozen chopped spinach to the pan and cook until fully thawed. The pan should be dry when you slide a wooden spoon through the mixture.
- Drain the cooked orzo from the water and add it into the pan. Stir.
- Crumble in the feta and dill. Stir until the feta has warmed through, serve, and enjoy!