Orzo, Kale, and Spinach Salad

Orzo Salad 1

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.Β  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.Β  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 Salad 2

Orzo, Kale, and Spinach Salad

Serves 8 – 10

Orzo, Kale, and Spinach Salad Printable Recipe Link



  • 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

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 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.

Kale and Caramelized Onion Pizza

I feel like it’s been a while since my last post. It’s been a little crazy around my house trying to wrap up the school year for both of my boys. Last week was preschool graduation for Finn…serious stuff! And this week is the last week that Max will be a second grader. I am really looking forward to summer and all of the good food that comes with it! I love salads and plan to post as many summer salad dinners as I can. I also can’t wait for our tomatoes to finish doing their thing in our garden so I can come up with some super yummy tomato recipes.

The Kale Pizza was last night’s dinner. I really wanted to post something since it had been over a week, but I really wasn’t in the mood to spend too much time in the kitchen. It all started with the left over meatballs that I had made the night before and needed toΒ  use up. What do meatballs have to do with Kale Pizza you ask? Well…I figured I would make a meatball pizza to use up the meatballs but didn’t feel like it was very blog-worthy. Thus was born the Kale Pizza. Something a little different, and a little healthy too. I felt like it would justify the not-so-healthy meatball pizza that we were going to be devouring. BTW…my meatballs are on my top ten list of favorite things that I make (and my family’s) and I will post them some day for sure! They are my Sicilian mother-in-law’s recipe and really good.

This kale pizza is really simple to make. The only thing that required a little time was prepping the kale and sauteing the onions. I have seen bags of washed and trimmed kale at the market lately so you could go that route and save some time. Just make sure you get all the big pieces of the stems out because the are tough unless you cook them for a long time.



You will use what seems like a ton of kale for this, but it cooks down to a much smaller amount.




All those vitamins and health benefits of the kale MUST counteract the fact that it is layered over creamy ricotta cheese and topped with more cheese…right?



You will cook your onions until they go from this…






…to this. It takes about 20 minutes on low heat.






That big bowl of kale cooked down to this.


You will start by spreading some some ricotta on your pizza crust. Then you top it with your kale and onion mixture and some shredded cheese. I used an aged cheddar and parmesan mix that I found at Trader Joe’s. It was really good!

Kale and Caramelized Onion Pizza


  • One store bought pizza crust (or make your own)
  • 2 small sweet onions, halved and sliced thin
  • olive oil for sauteing
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (sharp white cheddar, Gruyere, or mozzarella would be good)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

Start by sauteing your onion slices in a large frying pan with a few turns of olive oil over medium low heat. You want to cook them until they are lightly browned and very soft – about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them and stir every so often to keep them from burning. Lower the heat if they are getting to0 brown. Once the onions are done, add the kale to the pan. You will need to do this a few handfuls at a time and add more as it cooks down. Season well with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is tender. If you happen to have a splash of dry white wine lying around, you could throw it in the pan and cook for a few minutes more (I always seem to have a splash of wine lying around πŸ™‚ but if you don’t, skip it). Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes while you start assembling the pizza.

To assemble the pizza: Spread the ricotta evenly over the crust. Next layer the onion and kale mixture. Last you will add the shredded cheese. Bake the pizza directly on the oven rack (if it’s pre-baked) for about 10 to 15 minutes. When the cheese is all melted and the crust has browned a bit, you can turn on your broiler and let it brown on top for a minute or two. This gets the cheese nice and bubbly and crisps up a few pieces of the kale…kinda like a kale chips – so good! Let the pizza rest for a few minutes and serve.

Now I know that right about now you are wondering…”But what about that meatball pizza she mentioned earlier??”Β  Not to worry, I will tell you about the meatball pizza. I basically just threw my leftover meatballs and sauce on a pizza crust and covered it with shredded mozzarella cheese. It was really good!! I did slice the meatballs in thirds first because the were big. The leftover sauce made a perfect pizza sauce. I topped it with a little fresh chopped parsley.

Max actually liked the Kale pizza better than the meatball pizza…and he LOVES meatballs!



Kale Cashew Shake

Let me start out by saying that I LOVE MY VITAMIX!! I’m not quite sure how I ever lived without it. It is definitely my favorite kitchen appliance!Β  I have been making all kinds of delicious smoothies and juices with it for myself and my family. One of my favorite lunch shakes is this Kale Cashew Shake. You could make this in a regular blender but I don’t think it would blend the cashews and kale quite as smooth as the Vitamix. You could try it with cashew butter or almond butter instead of the whole cashews.

It is delicious, healthy, and filling. You can work with the ingredients to suit your taste. Sometimes I add a little honey or a couple of pitted dates to sweeten it up, or if I need it to carry me through to dinner I will put in some protein powder. I use a vanilla flavored whey based protein sweetened with Stevia so it is low in sugar. The protein powder also makes it a little sweeter.

Kale Cashew Shake:

  • a couple of big handfuls of kale (about 3 or 4 leaves with ribs/stems removed)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed or flax meal
  • one half of a banana
  • 1/3 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (or any other milk/non-dairy drink)
  • a handful of ice cubes

Blend all ingredients thoroughly


Add a scoop of protein powder or a teaspoon of honey before blending. You can also add a couple of pitted dates to add sweetness instead of the honey.