Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Greek Orzo Spinach Salad

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
Directions:
  • 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. 

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