Since the weather has been getting warmer here in the Midwest, I have been searching for appetizing salad recipes. There was a salad recipe that we were served by friends in Georgia when we were there to visit last year and yesterday, I emailed her and asked if she could please find it and share it with me. I made it for lunch today and it is as delicious as I remembered!
My grocer also sells fresh living basil with the roots still on. What a heavenly scent!
If you are craving salads like I am, I hope you give this one a try - it is fresh as springtime!
Orzo Salad with Spinach, Tomatoes and Basil
1 lb of fresh spinach (baby or regular), washed, dried and stems removed
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
The zest of 2 lemons
1 and 1/2 cups orzo, cooked according to package directions and drained
24 basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt (or Mediterranean Sea Salt with Lavender) & Pepper
Pile the spinach leaves into stacks and slice thinly into julienne strips. Prepare the basil leaves the same way. Halve the tomatoes and zest the lemons.
Cook the orzo.
Place the julienne spinach into a medium bowl, add the halved tomatoes and lemon zest. After the orzo is drained, add the hot, cooked orzo to the same bowl. The heat of the orzo will wilt the spinach and warm the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil, add the sliced basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, toss and either serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
It tastes best served immediately but is still wonderful cold. This salad would also be wonderful with toasted pine nuts!