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Warm Spinach, Orzo & Pistachio Salad

by Toni Lydecker

Makes 1 generous serving (2 to 2 1/2 cups)     
Prep: 10 minutes           Cook: 10 minutes

My daughter Kate acquired this recipe from a college friend, and it’s become one of our favorites. It’s wonderfully flexible—you can go heavy on the spinach or, if you like, cut back and add a little more orzo. The salad tastes good right away, while still warm, but if you have some left over, save it as tomorrow’s treat.

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a large pinch
1/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 heaping tablespoon roasted pistachios

1. In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the feta, olive oil, vinegar, a large pinch of salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

3. Drain the orzo through a strainer (not a colander—some of the orzo may escape through the holes!) and add to the bowl. Gently stir to coat the orzo with the dressing. Add the spinach, onion, and pistachios, and toss once more.

©Toni Lydecker, Serves One: Simple Meals to Savor When You're on Your Own; (Lake Isle Press, 2005)

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