Friday, June 8, 2012

Orzo & Fresh Spinach Salad

Our garden harvest of fresh spinach is over, but I still have some left and we are tired of sauteing it with garlic and olive oil every night. Why bother? Fresh, crunchy, hearty spinach leaves is what I crave, that's why I grew it in the first place.

Julie to the rescue.
I happened to click on just at the right moment. She posted her famous simple orzo and spinach salad that she makes for pot-luck dinners.

I love orzo. It feels so good in my mouth, sort of like pasta shells (my favorite of all pasta shapes!).

Orzo goes with so many things, and everyone seems to be happy eating an "orzo salad" at a party. Why is that? The texture is just perfect, unlike rice.

In this salad, the fresh leafy spinach is the star, there's nothing fancy going on here. I was so tempted to add olives or cherry tomatoes, but I resisted and stuck to the recipe. The simplicity was what made this so good. It felt light, yet so flavorful. Am I rambling too much? Sorry.

I made this 2 hours ahead and left it out at room temperature. I served it with cedar plank grilled salmon and everyone asked for the recipe. I had to laugh, because it has 4 ingredients, not counting the oil and vinegar.

Julie's Orzo & Spinach Salad w/ Feta: (adapted from Dinner w/ Julie)

1 1/2 cups orzo (small rice-shaped pasta)
1 small bunch fresh leaf spinach (not baby spinach)
half a red onion, finely chopped
1/2 – 1 cup crumbled feta
grated zest and juice of a lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook the orzo according to the package directions; drain well, running under cool water, drain, then dump into a bowl.

Slice your spinach into chiffonade (roll and slice into thin ribbons) and add to the orzo in the bowl.

Add the onion, feta and lemon zest.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, and drizzle with the rice vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat well. Taste it and adjust the seasonings if it needs it. If you are going to refrigerate this, bring to room temperature before serving. Serves 4-8.


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Linda said...

sounds like a perfect recipe to me!! How can you go wrong with orzo and spinich!! Yummm

Proud Italian Cook said...

Going to a BBQ this weekend, I might just be stealing this!

lea said...

looks nice and easy. Love Feta!

Joanne said...

Orzo is my favorite pasta for salads and spinach is one of the few greens my family can agree to eat! Love this.

Katie C. said...

This was fast and easy and tasted great. It makes a lot (for 2 people) but seems to have a decent "shelf life" - we ate it all over several days. I used a 4 ounce package of feta. I might add some thyme next time (pun not intended) just because I have a lot of it growing in my garden.