Tuesday, July 05, 2005


While She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were waiting for Mr. Air Conditioner Fix-It Man to show up, we stayed with our friends Laura Belle and Don, the better to avoid melting into puddles of oily goo. Laura Belle never lets friends go hungry, so she whipped up (among other things) an excellent Orzo Salad – perfect summer fare. And now you can enjoy this fine salad too.

Laura Belle’s Mediterranean Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (8 oz)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes plus a little olive oil (See note)
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 6-oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
  • ¾ cup feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • Italian seasoning (optional – see note)

Start off by cooking the orzo according to the package instructions. Then add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pepper, and salt.

Drain the artichokes, reserving the liquid. Coarsely chop the ’chokes, then add them and the reserved juice to the orzo mixture and toss to coat.

Now, throw in the feta cheese and pine nuts. (I like to toast the pine nuts to a golden brown in order to enhance their flavor, but this is optional. Use a skillet or a toaster oven, but whatever you do, don’t burn ’em!) Add Italian seasoning to taste, and you’re good to go.

This recipe was adapted from the June 2005 issue of Cooking Light magazine. The original recipe calls for oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, but this results in a greasy orzo salad. Feh. If you can, use the kind of tomatoes that come in a pouch and simply add a little olive oil to soften them.

The original recipe being a little bland, Laura Belle recommends adding 2 tbsp dried pesto seasoning with a little olive oil. If you prefer not to add any more oil, just use any dry Italian seasoning blend to add some flavor...or even better, throw in some fresh oregano.

You can eat this as a side dish, but it makes an excellent meal all by itself.

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