Paella Salad

So I wanted to start off this entry by apologizing… Once again, I found a recipe with shrimp as the main protein.  I’m going to blame it on the fact that I bought a gigantic bag of frozen shrimp, and so when I was grocery shopping for this week’s meals, the thrifty broke college kid in me figured “I’ve got shrimp… Let’s use it!”  So yeah, my bad.  I promise this is delicious though!!

Operation Salad (or whatever I was calling it) was very successful last week.  My meals didn’t weigh me down (literally and figuratively) and I felt great.  With that in mind, I decided to keep that operation in motion with this week’s first “Me and My Kitchen” entry!  Word of advice: Serve this dish cold!  I found it was even better the next day, which makes it absolutely perfect for work.

Paella Salad: Makes 4-6 servings


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 8 ounces orzo pasta (about 1.25 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads (I know it’s a random and expensive ingredient, but it’ll be worth the investment because the odds are high you’ll make this salad again!! But if you can’t afford it, one my readers sent in a great tip that can save you money!)
  • 2.75 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 8 ounces peeled, deveined shrimp, cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup halved small cherry tomatoes (or for people who don’t like tomatoes… 0 cups of halved small cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 ounces dry-cured chorizo (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Add orzo and stir until golden brown (about 3 minutes)
  • Add garlic and saffron and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
  • Pour in broth and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer until orzo is tender and broth is absorbed (about 12 minutes)
  • Transfer orzo to large bowl and stir in the peas and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Set aside to cool
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in heavy medium skillet over high heat
  • Add shrimp pieces and sprinkle with paprika
  • Stir-fry until shrimp is opaque (about 2 minutes)
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly
  • Stir shrimp (and oil from the skillet) into the orzo, breaking up the pasta as you stir
  • Stir in red pepper, tomatoes, chorizo, green onions, and parsley
  • Drizzle 2 tablesppons sherry vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil over all
  • Season salad with freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine

This is the second time I’ve made this dish and there’s something about making it that really relaxes me.  Maybe it’s the amazing smell when you add the garlic and saffron (my boyfriend was over studying and even he commented on how great it smelled).  I don’t know what it is.  But now that classes have officially begun, I was grateful for the 30 minute escape making this salad was able to provide.  They say “guilt free leisure time” is a rare thing in grad school, and I already agree, but knowing that I’m taking this time for me and me alone made it a very justifiable break from studying consumer market segmentation.

P.S. If you try any of these recipes, I’d love to hear how they turned out!  Or if you found a way to spice them up and made them better, that’s great feedback too!  …or if you almost burnt down your kitchen attempting to make it… I’m no expert, but I can probably give you some pointers.  Happy eating everyone!

3 thoughts on “Paella Salad

  1. Pingback: Herb and Lemon Chicken with a Pea and Pasta Salad | Eating My Feelings

  2. I used this recipe as an inspiration and tweaked it. It was a serious hit with me and my boyfriend! I used the Mahatma yellow rice mix instead of buying saffron: they’re little pre-flavored packets of rice that make one pot of rice for only $0.75. I compensated for the increased sodium by using these sodium-free chicken bouillion packets I found (their secret is they use potassium instead). I added the tomato and cucumber, but left out the protein and just used it as a side dish for my lunches throughout the week. Thanks for the recipe!

    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Saffron can be obnoxiously expensive, so next time I’ll try the Mahatma yellow rice mix – such a great idea. To help other readers save money (and eat happily), I added your tip to the “Tips and Tricks” page – Thanks for sharing!!

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