Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Have you ever woken up in the morning already excited about what you're going to cook for dinner that night? This dish did that to me. I was craving it all day long and started making dinner early because I couldn't wait to devour it. You can serve it as a side dish, but for a main dish I sauteed some diced chicken in olive oil to toss in with it to make it a little heartier. I could seriously eat this for dinner every single night and never get tired of it!


Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil

Salad:
12 ounces orzo pasta
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (heat them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often until golden)
*Optional: add diced cooked chicken for a main dish

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and oil. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside. For the salad, cook the orzo in the chicken broth until tender according to package directions. Drain well but do not rinse. Let the pasta cool to room temperature, tossing often so it doesn't stick together (stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing if the pasta is overly sticky). Toss the cooled pasta with the tomatoes, chives or green onions, basil, and spinach. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the feta and pine nuts over the top and toss lightly. Serve at room temperature.

*Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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