Sunday is the day my whole typically gathers for a weekly meal. I am super fortunate in this regard as my kids are pretty grown up (24, 21 and 16) and only the latter still lives at home! As my children have gotten older, this event becomes more and more rare:( I usually attempt to make my kids favorite meals or at least a favorite food or side dish. Douglas, (24), has always been most appreciative of my cooking and one of this best-loved foods is pasta salad. I experiment with variety of ingredients and he gives me his opinion. This one was quite a hit (he rated it a 9 out of 10) so I thought I would share. Best news is the whole wheat orzo gave it a really rich flavor along with the other ingredients so I was able to to use a minimal amount of dressing.
Grilled Red Pepper & Sautéed Spinach Whole Wheat Orzo Salad
4 large red bell peppers, grilled, peeled and chopped
1 large container of baby spinach, drained and squeezed dry
1 can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 16 oz. box of whole wheat orzo pasta
Paul Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing (to taste)
- Grill red peppers until the outsides become charred. Let cool slightly. Place peppers in a bowl with a cover. This will help make charred skin easier to remove. Let sit for 10-15 minutes and remove skin and seeds. Chop and set aside
- Saute the spinach in a small amount of olive oil. Remember it may look like too much spinach but it REALLY shrinks up!
- Place spinach in a colander and squeeze as much of the water out as you can. It seems like you can do this forever! When dry, chop spinach and set aside.
- Cook orzo according to directions. Drain and give it a quick rinse with cool water and place in a bowl. Add a little bit of the olive oil and vinegar dressing and toss.
- Drain and rinse chick peas and black beans.
- After everything is fairly cool, add all ingredients to the orzo. Add about a quarter cup of the dressing, stir and refrigerate.
- Add a little more dressing and stir prior to serving.
This salad is LOADED with nutrients and fiber and I guarantee you will love it! As always with things considered “healthy,” monitor portion size as healthy doesn’t always mean low calorie! Enjoy!