Tax day has come and gone, meaning it is time for the annual Feast. We have a lovely barter deal with our friendly CPA to prepare and file our taxes. She gives us a nifty planner to fill out each year, we add the required forms and documents, hand it to her and she does all the rest. While she certainly is honest in the preparation, she also knows how to get us every single deduction possible no matter how seemingly insignificant. Gotta love that. And in return, I make her family a feast for dinner just after tax season ends. Talk about a win-win situation!
Each year I ask her what she would like, and each year she gives that awful response that cooks hate, “oh anything since everything you make is great.” Sigh, no direction there to point the way. Fortunately, her teenage son was home while I dropped off the paperwork this year, so I asked him. Bingo! He had an answer. The beef skewers with peanut sauce were a hit with him last year, so this year the meal was built around that along with shrimp and vegetable skewers. This Mediterranean orzo salad, loaded with veggies, was the perfect accompaniment. It was simple and delicious, with clear flavors that don’t overwhelm the main dish.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 3 TBS red onion, chopped
- 3 TBS kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled, divided
- Cook the orzo according to the package directions, omitting salt and oil. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large bowl, combine orzo, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, olives, salt and pepper.
- Prepare artichokes and vinaigrette by removing the artichokes from the jar, leaving the oil behind. Chop artichokes and add to orzo mixture. Add 1/2 of the feta cheese to the oil in the jar, put the lid back on the jar and shake to mix.
- Finish salad by adding feta vinaigrette to the orzo salad and tossing gently. Sprinkle with remaining feta.
- May be served cold or at room temperature.
- This was easy to double by just using a larger jar of marinated artichoke hearts.
- Check your grocery store’s olive bar for kalamatas so you don’t have to splurge for a whole jar. Unless they are a staple in your pantry, of course.
- This recipe was originally printed in Cooking Light magazine in 2005.
- The full menu: beef, shrimp and vegetable skewers, peanut dipping sauce, Joe’s Stone Crab sauce, Caribbean Cocktail sauce, grilled asparagus, Mediterranean Orzo salad, lemon pound cake with fresh strawberries.