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Spinach Salad with Orzo

I’m a spinach monster, and I’m all over this spinach salad. Spinach is a very good alternative when you’re starting to burn out on mesclun or kale salads. And it’s one of the healthiest foods ever, packed with vitamins that (yes, Popeye) boost your bones and fight colds. Spinach is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits as well. It has a slightly sweet flavor, which is why a lot of people like to add something sweet to a spinach salad, like strawberries or poppy seed dressing, which is always delish. But by adding a little pasta to your salad, along with salty feta, zesty red onion, and subtly sweet almonds- you end up with something hearty, filling, and flavorful. (You can skip the almonds if you’re not a nut nut.)

1 (16-ounce) package orzo pasta
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese (1 cup)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package instructions or to your liking. (I prefer it al dente, or a little bit firm.) Drain, rinse, and refrigerate it until it’s cool enough not to wilt your spinach.

Mix the spinach with the feta, onion, almonds, basil, and white pepper in a large bowl. Toss with the orzo and finish with the oil and vinegar.

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