Spinach Orzo Salad
Spinach Orzo Salad -- another go-to summer salad!
A delightful summer salad -- or any time of year salad! Quick and easy, full of nutritious ingredients, colorful and tasty! Prep ingredients ahead and you'll be tossing this together in no time.
Orzo is a type of pasta that is rice-like. The pasta is shaped small and is often used to mix with rice in dishes, such as pilaf. My favorite Orzo pasta is by DeLallo. I choose the whole grain variety and cook to al dente, which means "firm to the tooth." Pasta that is slightly undercooked will be chewier and have a lower glycemic index, minimizing the sudden rise in blood sugar, normally associated with pasta. This is healthier for everyone -- not just diabetics, who are watching closely the glycemic index of foods. This salad is particularly light -- I think you will love it!
Spinach Orzo Salad
When choosing your ingredients, use home-grown, grass-fed and organic ingredients whenever possible.
1 1/3 cup (8 oz or ½ pkg) DeLallo Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
6 TBSP red onion, chopped (or thinly sliced green onions)
2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced (approx. 12 oz uncooked)
4 oz (approx 1 cup) crumbled Feta cheese (or your favorite cheddar, cut in small cubes)
5 oz (approx 5-6 cups) fresh baby spinach (lightly chopped, just before serving)
6 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
5-6 TBSP lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 TBSP garlic, freshly pressed
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tsp dill weed (or 1 TBSP fresh dill weed)
¼ tsp freshly ground peppercorns
Add dressing ingredients to a pint wide-mouth Mason jar. Using a stick blender, puree until mixture emulsifies and is smooth. (If not using a stick blender, press the garlic, add to other ingredients and whisk together).
Put a pot of water on to heat while you prep the other ingredients. When water comes to a boil, add 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt, then add the Orzo. Stir. When water returns to a boil, time for 7-8 minutes (1-2 minutes less than package recommended time), stirring a time or two to prevent sticking. Pasta will be al dente ("firm to the tooth"). Drain in a colander (do not rinse). Add to a large mixing bowl and cover with the dressing you have prepared. Lightly stir to coat pasta.
Dice the cucumbers and red bell pepper; chop the red onion. Add to the pasta. Add the diced chicken, veggies and crumbled feta. Lightly chop the baby spinach and add to salad just before serving.
This salad is best served immediately after it has been made.
This recipe makes 10 cups and will serve 6-8 as a main dish, or more as a side dish. Leftovers can be refrigerated to enjoy on the next day.
Enjoy nutritious main dish salad recipes throughout the summer!