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Orzo-Spinach Summer Salad

From the recipe box of travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers.

orzo-spinach summer salad
orzo-spinach summer salad

This simple salad is based on one I’ve bought many times at the Whole Foods take-out counter.  It travels well and is perfect for a summer picnic.  Be sure to toss the orzo with a little olive oil when you put it in the strainer, and let it cool completely before mixing everything. 

1 lb. orzo pasta (approx. 2 cups dry), cooked and cooled
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 ribs celery, chopped; or 1 small red onion, chopped
2 cups packed (or two handfuls) baby spinach leaves
¼ lb. feta cheese
1 cup pitted kalamata olives (or other pitted olives)
          Combine in a large serving bowl.  Mix gently. 

dressing

1 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. black pepper
          Put in a jar with a top and shake.  Add to salad, and mix again.  Let stand for a few hours  to blend the flavors. 

2 Tbl. pine nuts
          Sprinkle over top.

          You can vary the flavor of this salad by subtracting some of the ingredients above and adding some of these below.
●mint leaves
●basil leaves
●oregano leaves
●parmesan cheese

Serves 6 to 8.

(www.berkeleyandbeyond2.com; copyright Carole Terwilliger Meyers)