Caramelized Shallot Orzo Salad

Caramelized Shallot Orzo Salad

If you dream of caramelized onions but need more substance than this is the pasta salad for you, but I refuse to call it pasta salad. In truth I hate pasta salad, well not every pasta salad, but most of them, they are greasy, gloppy and worst of all their main ingredient is cold pasta, that’s the part I hate. Cold pasta sticks to your teeth in a weird way and isn’t a pleasant texture, but depending on the pasta you use you can combat that problem. Orzo is the answer, the tiny little oval shaped pasta that people mistake for large rice.

Along with a bunch of caramelized shallots, onion’s fancy cousin, you have lots of lemon, bright green onions, spinach and crunches of toasted almond. This salad is great served at any temperature but I like it best slightly warm to room temperature, it also pairs well with seafood like my grilled halibut with citrus butter.


Caramelized Shallot Orzo Salad


  • 8 shallots or 1 large red onions
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10 green onions, sliced
  • ½ c whole almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 4 c packed spinach (½lb), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c packed parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • zest and juice of 1 lemons
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 ½ c uncooked orzo


  1. Put a pot of water on to boil while you prep the salad ingredients.
  2. Slice the shallots into half moons and caramelize on medium low heat with a little oil and pinch of salt. When they start to gain color and stick to the bottom of the pan add the garlic and sauté for another two minutes. Add the cooked shallots to a large mixing bowl.
  3. To the mixing bowl add sliced green onions, toasted and chopped almonds, spinach, parsley, salt, lemon zest and juice and the olive oil.
  4. When the salad ingredients are ready cook the orzo, once done drain and add to the salad ingredients, the heat from the hot orzo will wilt the spinach.
  5. Mix together, taste and adjust for seasoning, serve at any temperature, I like it at room temperature.

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