Before Irene, I was brainstorming on what I could throw together that would last in my refrigerator or a cooler for a few days without spoiling. I decided to do a play on a dish I learned a few years ago in a healthy cooking class I had taken through an adult education program. Instead of orzo, like the recipe called for, I used quinoa.
First I’ll give you the original recipe with my changes is below:
Orzo Quinoa with Spinach, Feta, and Olives I used tomatoes I got from the farmers market instead of olives
12 oz whole wheat or regular
1 pound spinach leaves that have been trimmed, washed, and drained, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
10 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped I used about 10-20 cherry tomatoes that I quartered. You can add more or less to taste. 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts I forgot to do this. But mine still came out great. But if you have pine nuts, I would definitely recommend you lightly toast them in a cooking pan and then add them to the recipe. They will enhance the flavor. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil I forgot this as well…lol
3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt , or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) I didn’t add this either. I thought it would conflict with the flavors.
Add 1 diced garden-ripe tomato.
Substitute cooked rice for orzo orzo is a good option as well, but it has a different consistency than quinoa. You will either hate or love it.
orzo quinoa according to package directions. A dd spinach for the last minute of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Quinoa does not need to be drained or rinsed after it cooks. It is like rice in that way. Also I didn’t add the spinach at that point because I didn’t want it to cook too much.
Place red onion, feta,
olives and toasted pine nuts in a mixing bowl. Add orzo and spinach. I added the fresh spinach at this step instead of cooking it.
In a small bowl, whisk together the
olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Pour over orzo mixture and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature.
This dish is very versatile because it tastes good cold or warm. Serve with your favorite glass of white wine. Yum!