Monday, January 18, 2016

College Orzo Salad

Like most in college, I didn't know my way around a kitchen and I definitely didn't have the money to do anything about that. But I did know I liked pasta and I was trying to eat healthy. Not really easy to do on a tight budget. But I did my best and it helped me discover my creative side in the kitchen. That's how this orzo salad came to be. I needed something cheap, filling, and wholesome. My dorm room became the place for my friends to escape a little from all the demands of school. I'd make this easy salad and we would forget that we weren't at home. Those simple dinners turned into long nights chatting and dreaming, and then finally, without realizing it, we had created a new home together. It's silly for pasta to mean this much, but then why does it taste so delicious?

Back in the day with two crazy fellas
Anyway, throughout all these years, I still make this salad. It's great for a light dinner and can do double duty as a filling lunch the next day. But I decided it was time to "ADULT UP" if you know what I mean. It used to be a very simple salad, not a whole lot of flavor ... just straight forward and simple. But it needed more .... so I gave it more. Now it's a complete meal in one bowl with a kick of flavor and spice to boot. So, let's go for it! 

  • 2.5 cups cooked orzo
  • 5 ounces spinach, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • Two 18 ounce jarred, diced tomatoes (find it at Whole Foods ... canned works too)
  • 1/4 fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers 
  • 4 links chicken sausage 
  • Salt, pepper, chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1.5 cups feta cheese 

  1. Heat a quart of salted water, and bring to boil. Add the orzo and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and toss with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic over medium high heat for about 1 minute. Add the jarred tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, pepper, chili flakes and basil. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  3. Cook your chicken sausage according to the package and slice. I like to bake mine.
  4. Add the spinach and sausage to your tomato mixture and then turn off the heat once fully combined. You don't want the spinach to get too wilted. 
  5. Grab a big bowl and combine the tomato sauce and orzo. Once combined, toss in the feta cheese. 
Enjoy! Follow by email below to never miss a beat with Karen's place :)

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