A pasta salad that is low in pasta, high in veggies and diverse in flavor – heck yes. To all you women of child-bearing age (and especially those who are actually, currently bearing children), you will want to eat this salad. Let me explain.
Iron is found in abundance in meat sources (especially liver, but seriously, gross). If you find yourself eating meat free more often than not, like I often do, your body could be low in iron, zinc, and several B vitamins. Due to that awesome, special, invigorating time of the month we can become iron deficient, leading to extra tiredness and lethargy. Dark leafies contain a fair amount of iron, but your body doesn’t absorb it well unless eaten with vitamin C. The orange and bell pepper in this recipe are straight up bursting with vitamin C. Ever wonder why mandarin oranges are often found in spinach salads? Maybe our taste buds lead us to that which is most beneficial!
This salad comes together in the time it takes you to boil pasta (about 10 minutes) and doesn’t require any special equipment. Yesterday I ate a big bowl for lunch but I’ll serve it to our friends tonight alongside burgers – like most pasta salads, it’s better on day 2! Serve with grilled chicken, fish, or meat for an weeknight meal (you don’t need a veggie and a grain, you have both in here).
Oh, and just so you know, orzo is JUST PASTA. It’s small pasta. If you can find whole wheat (DeLallo makes some) it’s a better choice.
Orzo Salad with Spinach, Pepper and Feta
1 c. uncooked whole wheat orzo
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
1/4 heaping tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 c. fresh spinach, lightly packed
1 yellow, orange or red bell pepper, diced
1/3 c. thinly sliced red onion
1/2 c. feta cheese
1. Add orzo to boiling water with 1/2 tsp. salt and cook for recommended time on package (probably 10 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, add spinach, bell pepper and onion to a large mixing bowl.
3. Heat oil (3 tbsp) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and, when hot, cook garlic until lightly golden and fragrant. Turn off heat and add juice and zest of orange.
4. Drain pasta when finished cooking and add to skillet with juices/garlic. Add salt and pepper and toss to combine.
5. Add orzo to veggies in large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add feta and mix until combined. Add salt to taste.