Orzo with Spinach and Tomatoes

by Anne Bennett on July 11, 2017

Orzo R2

I’ve just returned from Italy, where they eat pasta in more moderate amounts than we “Olive Garden” Americans. How can we enjoy pasta without feeling like we’re indulging? Check out this recipe from Food Network star Rachael Ray. It’s loaded with spinach and grape tomatoes. Lemon zest and feta cheese lend a tangy zing. Pasta and virtuous veggies. The Weight Watcher in me is on board, 100%.

Rachael, self-proclaimed specialist of 30-minute meals, has never been the go-to gal for healthy fare. However, even she has to watch what she eats; this salad was featured in a show called “Clock and Waistband Friendly.” Catchy title. (Not.)

I made her salad as written and thought it was virtuous but just a tad bit bland. I added 1/2 cup of low-fat feta cheese and sprinkled on fresh lemon juice and POW. Pay-dirt!  Serve this cool summer salad with grilled shrimp or chicken and call it a complete, and healthy dinner. Leftovers make for a lovely lunch.

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1 (5-oz.) package of fresh baby spinach
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 lemons, zested
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Salt and pepper

Cook orzo in a large pan of boiling salted water just until al dente. Don’t overcook. While orzo is cooking, stack spinach leaves on top of each other and thinly slice to make julienne strips. Pile shredded spinach into a large serving bowl.

Halve grape or cherry tomatoes — I used both yellow and red — and add to bowl with spinach. Add lemon zest.

When orzo is cooked, drain and add to bowl. Allow everything to sit for a minute or two — the heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach, warm the tomatoes and release the flavor of the lemon zest.

Drizzle 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over the pasta and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and feta cheese and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6
WW SmartPoints per 6 servings: 6

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Laurie June 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm

YEA ! I’m back ! This recipe sounds delish and I’m going to make it when I return from vacation. Glad your aol thing got fixed and I have been reunited. I missed the HP !

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