Laura Bush’s Salmon Orzo Salad

Laura Bush’s Salmon Orzo Salad

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I need some greenery. Since there’s not much of it outside, a colorful and healthy meal can go a long way toward getting past the January blahs. (This really is my least favorite month. It’s like a thirty-one-day hangover from the holiday season, a month to overcome, rather then enjoy.) Of course, this requires an attitude adjustment, because why spend a whole month of your life just waiting for it to be over? That’s what makes this salmon orzo salad so welcome today.

Laura Bush's Salmon Orzo Salad

Laura Bush sent me this recipe in October, and I’ve been saving it up for a day like this. It has three basic steps – sauté the veggies, cook the orzo, grill the salmon and put it all together in a heaping plate of flavor and color. And the salmon orzo salad is such an excellent combination of nutrients in one dish that it makes me feel as though I’m redressing the excesses of Christmas, just by cleaning my plate!

This recipe reminds me of working at the White House for Laura Bush, because it is typical of the kinds of meals she chose for her guests: beautiful, modern, healthy, and flavorful. It takes a thoughtful and hospitable hostess to tick all those boxes. With thanks to Laura Bush for today’s contribution to America’s Table!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 35 minutes


  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus one tablespoon for drizzling on salmon before cooking
  • 1 small jar capers, rinsed
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, washed and cut with melon baller or make a small circles
  • 1 medium zucchini, washed and cut with melon baller to make small circles
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into thirds
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, assorted colors
  • ½ kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup orzo, cooked and drained, about 8 minutes. Do not rinse pasta.
  • 1 small jar artichoke hearts, quartered
    • Note: reserve ½ the juice in the artichoke hearts jar for the salad
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • 4 four-ounce salmon filets (bones removed)
  • Adam’s reserve citrus seafood rub from HEB (If you can’t find Adam’s reserve seafood rub easily, I recommend using another seafood rub, which are usually found in the spices section of your grocery store.)

For the Dijon vinaigrette dressing:

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the orzo:


  1. Sauté all vegetables except spinach in 3 tablespoons olive oil, until tender.
    Laura Bush's Salmon Orzo Salad Asparagus
    Laura Bush's Salmon Orzo Salad Zucchini and Squash
  2. Pour all ingredients into a large bowl, including the spinach.
  3. Top with hot orzo, which will wilt the spinach.
  4. Pour half jar of artichoke hearts juice to salad.
  5. Add Dijon vinaigrette dressing.
  6. For the herbed salmon filets:

    Drizzle filets with olive oil.

  7. Grill over medium heat, 2 minutes per side
  8. Grill four lemon halves until charred.
    Laura Bush's Salmon Orzo Salad Salmon
  9. Put orzo salad onto plates, place salmon on top of salad and garnish with charred lemon.
    Laura Bush's Salmon Orzo Salad

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *