Greek Orzo and Spinach Salad
Cook's notes: Another salad for summertime dining. Olives and feta give a salty punch to this pasta salad. Bell peppers and sun dried tomatoes add a subtle sweetness. Spinach and fresh basil add a pop of freshness. The herb vinaigrette dressed pasta keeps better than a mayo based one.
Recipe serves 4-6.
Orzo, also risoni, is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. Orzo can be served alone, as a soup accompaniment, as part of a salad or pilaf or baked in a casserole.Ingredients:
- 1-1/4 cups dried orzo (rosamarina) (8 oz.)
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
- 8 oz. feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
- 1 cup chopped roma tomatoes or 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry on a paper towel and chopped
- 1/2 cup diced red peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 2 TB. snipped fresh basil
- 3/4 cup diced red onions
- 1/3 cup olive oil or lemon olive oil
- 2 TB. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp.each dried parsley flakes and dried oregano or 2 tsp. dried Italian herbs
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Cook orzo according to package directions. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add torn spinach leaves that will wilt when added to warm pasta.
- Add feta, tomatoes, peppers, olives, fresh basil and onions. Stir to combine well. In a jar with a screw top lid, place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and parsley or Italian herbs.
- Shake vigorously to combine and pour dressing over pasta mixture; toss to coat.
- Cover and chill in refrigerator 6-24 hours to meld flavors.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts right before serving.