Thursday, June 23

Pesto Orzo & Vegetable Salad

Pesto Orzo, Broccoli, & Spinach Salad

I make big batches of homemade pesto that I keep in my freezer so that I always have some on hand to add to meals. This orzo and vegetable salad uses some of the pesto, along with roasted broccoli, baby spinach, and feta cheese. This recipe can easily be adapted to whatever vegetables you like, but the combination of nutty roasted broccoli and just-wilted spinach is a great juxtaposition of flavors and textures. One great thing about this salad is that it's equally delicious served hot, cold, or at room temperature. I love dishes that are versatile enough for a main meal or a side dish, and since the salad has a few days of shelf-life, it makes for easy lunch leftovers.

Pesto Orzo with Feta, Broccoli, & Spinach:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook 1 lb. orzo* according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, toss 1 lb. broccoli florets with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast broccoli in a 400°F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
  • Drain orzo, reserving 1/2 c. pasta water.
  • Toss orzo with 1/3 c. pesto,** pasta water, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 6 oz. of washed baby spinach leaves.
  • Continue tossing until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
  • Then stir in 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese and broccoli.
  • Divide onto plates and serve; refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves four - six
*Rice-shaped pasta.
**Made using this recipe. Or purchase high-quality pesto in the refrigerated section of some grocery stores.