I love the Orzo and Spinach Salad that Whole Foods makes and thought about replicating it at home. A quick search on the internet brought me to one that sounded promising, and I made a few modifications. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature and would be great to bring to your next BBQ.
Recipe adapted from Food.com
- 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta (can be whole wheat)
- 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb crumbled feta cheese (2 cups)
- 1/2 small red onion, very finely chopped
- 3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water.
- Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts,olives, basil, salt and pepper. Toss with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.
I love a tasty wheat berry salad any time of year. Wheat berries are so healthy (filled with fiber, protein and iron) and they have a wonderful chewy texture and a nutty, earthy flavor. This is my favorite recipe that I’ve tried so far – it’s salty, sweet, nutty and chewy. Since this recipe yields about 3 cups, I sometimes double it since it’s great leftover for lunch or dinner (or bites in between). It’s best served warm or at room temperature. Note: I make a vinaigrette with my leftover basil dressing — I just add a splash of vinegar and a pinch of sea salt.
Recipe from the blog Whipped.
Wheat Berry Salad with Feta, Pine Nuts & Basil
1 cup soft wheat berries, rinsed
3 cups water
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more as needed
1 cup loosely packed basil plus 5 additional large leaves chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Combine the wheat berries, water and 2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until plump and chewy, about an hour or so. The berries should stay al dente, and the only way to be sure they’re done is to taste a few. Chewy but firm. Drain and season to taste with more salt.
To make the dressing, put olive oil and 1 cup clean, loosely packed basil leaves in a blender with a pinch of salt. Drizzle desired amount over wheat berries and stir to coat. You can also substitute a store bought pesto mixed with extra olive oil to make it runny enough to use as a dressing.
Toast pine nuts in a pan or oven (I use a toaster oven) until light brown. Toss pine nuts, crumbled feta and ribbons of basil into the salad.
HINT: Stack basil leaves on top of each other. Roll them up the long way to create a “cigarette” shape. Slice it very thin (1/8 inch). You will have nice ribbons of basil for garnish or salads.
This is a wonderful and interesting dish – a great option for a vegetarian night. There are so many tastes (and textures) going on: salty feta and olives , sour dried cranberries, bitter kale, sweet red onion, and aromatic garlic. I could eat this once every two weeks — and I don’t know why I don’t! It’s great with linguine, but also great with healthier penne (we often use Barilla Plus or Barilla Whole Grain). In this photo I tried a brown rice penne from Trader Joe’s which was also good. Two notes: 1) whole wheat pastas don’t reheat that well (so chewy!) just in case you plan to make enough to have leftovers and 2) I thought 5-6 cloves of garlic was plenty (recipe calls for an entire head).
Recipe from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod.
Pasta with Kale, Kalamata Olives, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Garlic & Feta
This pasta dish is also known as “crazy spaghetti” because it is crazy good-a family favorite!
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound spaghetti or other pasta (we use whole wheat)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers-pits removed
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cook onion in the remaining oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add dried cranberries and cook until plumped, about 1 minute.
2. Add kale leaves into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until aldente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain pasta.
4. Toss pasta with kale, Kalamata olives, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta cheese and garlic chips over the pasta dish and serve warm.