This dish is a favorite of my husbands. I can’t really blame him since it looks so inviting and colorful! It has been said that we eat with our eyes first and I am a firm believer that this is true. I love colors, textures, and different flavors…this is something I am constantly thinking about when developing new recipes. (Thank you judges on “Chopped” for bringing this important cooking lesson to my attention.)
Disclaimer: Orzo, besides being fun to say, looks like grains of rice BUT in fact is pasta. I want to get this out of the way so no one is confused a) when they go to look for it in the store and b) when they take a bite and find out it is not rice. It is unsettling to take a bite of something you thought was one thing but is really another!
Spinach and feta seems to be a very classic Mediterranean pairing and some things just shouldn’t be messed with. To compliment the Mediterranean theme this pasta dish boasts bright cherry tomatoes, oregano, fresh lemon, and fruity olive oil. Spinach fresh from the farmers market round out this veggie filled dish. The leftovers are gone, but my mouth is watering already…
This is an easy summer dish that would be great to take to a potluck or cook-out because it can sit at room temperature (no mayo!). I have used this as both a side dish or served as a main dish with grilled chicken or shrimp. Look at this backyard beauty!
- 16 oz orzo pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 6 c. fresh spinach, large pieces torn if desired
- 1 lemon; we need both the zest and juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil (approximately)
- 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add orzo pasta; cook until tender and drain. Meanwhile, add halved cherry tomatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano; toss to combine. Tear spinach and add on top of the cherry tomatoes.
Pour hot drained orzo pasta on top of the veggies and toss continuously until the spinach begins to wilt. It will look like a LOT of spinach at first, but it wilts way way down, I promise.
Next add the zest and juice of the lemon over the bowl (be careful not to let the seeds get in) and drizzle the olive oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper as needed. The very last step is to sprinkle feta cheese over the pasta and veggie mixture and gently stir to combine.
You want to stir feta at the last minute so you can keep the chunks somewhat intact. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!