With Mothers’ Day just around the corner, I thought I should put up a recipe my mom has been requesting for a while. I was holding off in order to perfect the dressing amount and ratio. I found that I like it to start off a little stronger than most vinaigrettes because as the dish settles together, a lot of that power is lost, resulting in a milder taste. I really love all of the flavors in this dish, but it is easily adaptable and hard to really screw up. If you don’t like olives, leave them out. Really love sun-dried tomatoes? Add some more! Forgot to pick up basil at the store? Oh well! (Although, I personally love it as written :))
In fact, that is the beauty of this recipe. You see, my mom is allergic to an extremely large number of food items (sugar, pepper, yeast…you get the picture), but not to anything in this recipe (well, except for the pepper, which is easy to leave out!)
The picture is actually taken of the Easter variation that my mom loved so much…it had a bit too much oil, so the recipe has been slightly altered since, but it was my prettiest picture ;).
1 c orzo
1 bag of spinach
1/2 c sundried tomatoes
1/2 c chickpeas
1/2 c pitted calamata olives, halved
1/2 c feta cheese
For the dressing:
1 oz pine nuts
3 large leaves of basil, shredded
2 large leaves of mint, shredded
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
pepper, salt to taste
Cook orzo according to package directions, adding spinach immediately before draining. Pour over icebath to cool, drain.
Meanwhile make the dressing by combining the first 3 ingredients in a mortar and pestal and grinding. Add the olive oil and grind together. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly. (remember that the feta is a salty cheese so I don’t add very much salt to the dressing)
Add the remaining ingredients to the spinach/orzo mixture and mix through. Stir in the dressing to coat. Cover and refrigerate until cool–about an hour to overnight. This step is important because the vinegar might be a bit overpowering at first, but the ingredients mesh together and it turns out really delicious!