This is a great summer salad that goes well with any backyard barbeque or potluck. It’s perfect to make ahead because the kale and spinach are hearty greens that hold up well with dressing. In fact, I think it tastes even better the next day. I made it to go with my Mediterranean grilled meatballs…that recipe is on the way soon! It would also make a great weeknight dinner with a little grilled chicken on top.
There are a few things that make this dish stand out. The bold flavors of the sun dried tomatoes, olives, and feta really make this salad. I like to buy olives from my grocery store’s olive bar so I can get a couple of different types. It’s nice to be able to buy exactly as much as you need, too. A really good feta also makes a difference.
I love Pastures of Eden which is sold at my local Trader Joe’s. It’s an imported sheep’s milk feta and it is mellow and delicious. Even my husband likes it and he is not a big fan of feta cheese.
This recipe really feeds a crowd. We served it to company and had leftovers for lunch…yum! You can cut it in half or just use less pasta if you don’t need as much. It keeps really well for a few days in the fridge. I promise you, if you serve this salad at your next summer gathering…your family and friends will think you are a culinary genius!
Orzo, Kale, and Spinach Salad
Serves 8 – 10
- 1 lb of orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- one bunch of dinosaur kale (also called Lacinato or Tuscan kale), ribs removed and chopped
- 12 ounces baby spinach, chopped
- one red bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup of assorted olives of your choice (I used a combo of green and kalamata), sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (I like the kind in olive oil)
- handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup of toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
Make the lemon vinaigrette first by combining all of the ingredients and mixing well. Slowly whisking in the olive oil at the end makes for a nicely emulsified dressing that won’t separate. But…you can always throw everything in a small mason jar and shake it really well! Just remember to shake it again before dressing your salad.
Cook the orzo in a large pot of salted boiling water until it is just al dente. I like to cook it just a minute less than it needs so that it still has a little bite once it has absorbed the dressing. Drain the orzo, add it to a large salad bowl, and toss it with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil so that it does not stick together. Let it cool down to room temp. Add the rest of the ingredients and the dressing and mix well. I like to save a little cheese and some pine nuts to sprinkle over the top before I serve it.