Friday, May 14, 2010

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Fresh Greens

I do love a sturdy salad. This one travels well, and if you take it to a potluck, you might as well take copies of the recipe with you. People are going to ask.

The recipe is from an old Cooking Light magazine now long lost. I usually stick pretty close to the original on this one, but I did substitute fresh sliced farmer's market arugula for some of the spinach, and local green onions for the red onion. And I added garlic and oregano. I usually add more spinach than it calls for; it seems to be absorbed in the salad, and I love upping the nutrient count!

Reminds me of our old family joke ... whenever Mom says "I made it just like the recipe called for," we wait a beat and say, "Except ..." Sure enough, almost always she's made some kind of substitution. But that's creative cooking!

The green onions were from my friend Elizabeth, and the tomatoes I used were grown by my Dad and dried by my Mom. How grateful I am for the sharing of bounty.

You'll want to at least double this recipe; the salad keeps well, but you probably won't have any left.
From Cooking Light magazine, adapted as described above

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes,* drained and chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion or sliced green onion

1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

2 cups (or more to taste) baby spinach or arugula, or a mixture, chopped
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and place in a large bowl. Stir in the garlic, oregano, tomatoes, and onions.

Drain artichoke hearts and RESERVE THE MARINADE. Cut artichokes into quarters or eighths as you prefer. Place marinade in a small bowl, and the artichokes in another bowl.

To the artichokes, add the kalamata olives.

To the marinade, add salt and pepper and whisk well.

Pour marinade over orzo mixture and stir well. Add feta cheese and spinach, and stir well. Add olives and artichokes and mix gently.

Makes six servings.

*Or use fresh tomatoes, or dried tomatoes that you have soaked and to which you add a little olive oil. If you use oil-packed tomatoes, they may be seasoned already; adjust garlic and oregano accordingly.

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