Orzo Spinach Salad

I love a good pasta salad, especially if it's light and zesty. Kalamata olives, spinach, feta and toasted pine nuts transform this orzo salad from something simple to a gourmet meal that could easily be served in Greece, Spain or Sicily.  

This has been lately my go to salad for lunch and, being portable, for summer BBQ's and picnics. It's so good looking, everyone wants to eat it, even the meat lovers. I sometimes make double portion and eat it for a few days straight, I love it so much. It stays fresh up to three days in the fridge, and if you don't mix it with the dressing, you might get another day out of it. 

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 4 ounces orzo pasta
  • some salt
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 3 ounces feta cheese
  • 10 Kalamata Greek olives pitted
  • 2 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of dried basil
  • salt and black pepper to taste 

Cook the orzo according to the packaging, make sure not to over cook it. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool quickly.

Toast the pine nuts on the frying pan until they are lightly browned. Stir often to avoid burning. Chop the onion finely and slice the Kalamata olives. Prepare the cheese.

Take half of the spinach and puree it in a food processor or blender, adding one tablespoon of olive oil or water. Separately roughly chop the other half of the spinach. In a large serving bowl mix the spinach puree mixture in with cooked orzo until the pasta is well coated with the purée. Then gently mix in the remaining spinach and the rest of the ingredients.

In a small jar or a glass combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, dried basil, little bit of salt and pepper. Put a lid on the jar and shake or whisk it with a fork in a glass to combine all. The jar method is much faster and gives better emulsion. Pour the dressing over orzo salad and gently mix in until well incorporated.

You can serve it straight away or chill in the fridge first.


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