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spinach orzoThis recipe is a great cold pasta salad and can be interchanged with other grains   as wild rice, millet, or making it all raw using zucchini noodles. This recipe is virtually all raw & is vegetarian but can be vegan by removing the cheeses and using other source substitution.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package orzo pasta
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 kilo feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • handful of mizithra cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup or 20 Kalamata Greek olives pitted, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • handful of fresh chopped parsley/cilantro
  •  3 Tbsp olive oil (add more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp basil fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon/thyme
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add salt. Add the orzo to the pot & leave uncovered, cook on high heat for 8-10 minutes, or whatever your pasta package says is appropriate for al dente (cooked but still a little firm). Drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly.

2 Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small skillet on medium heat until they are lightly browned, stir occasionally. Make sure you do not burn the pine nuts. (option – just toss in the pine nuts raw!)

3 Take half of the spinach and purée it in a food processor or blender, adding one tablespoon+ of the olive oil. Roughly chop the other half of the spinach. In a large serving bowl mix the spinach purée olive oil mixture in with cooked orzo until the pasta is well coated with the purée. Then gently mix in the remaining spinach, the red onion, feta cheese, mizithra, celery, pine nuts, and the Kalamata olives.

3 In a small jar, combine the remaining olive oil (2 Tbsp+), balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, mustard, basil, and dried tarragon/thyme. Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine. (You can also just whisk together these ingredients in a small bowl, but the jar method works great to get a good emulsion.) Pour over orzo spinach mixture and gently mix in until well incorporated.

4 Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Yield: Serves 4.

Enjoy! 🙂

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