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Mediterranean Orzo Salad

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16 oz. bag orzo
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil, chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz bad of prewashed spinach, chopped or ripped into smaller pieces, remove any thick stems
1 (14oz) can artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
1 package crumbled low-fat feta cheese
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Place dried tomatoes in colander. Pour orzo  and hot water over tomatoes. Shake out any excess water and move, while still warm, to large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the spinach. Stir to combine. This will wilt the spinach. Add the rest of the ingredients except the vinegar and cheese, including the last tablespoon of oil.

Taste. If still dry or bland add more oil, pepper or herbs.

Once at room temperature add the cheese and vinegar. Crumble any big pieces of feta even further for better distribution. Chill for an hour to allow the flavors to meld. Then bring back to room temperature and serve.

This make a LOT of orzo salad and is best made for a large gathering. Can be halved.

Lasts for 4-5 days without losing any flavor or texture. In fact is often better the next day.

Using basil or garlic infused oil makes it even more flavorful. 

(LD) 

 

 

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