When nutritionists and doctors review popular diets in terms of nutrition, health benefits and long-term success rates, the Mediterranean Diet is always near the top. Personally, I love a diet where you are encouraged to eat bread dipped in olive oil and have a glass of wine with dinner. This salad combines the flavors of the Mediterranean in an easy throw-together meal. Add what you like and take out what you don’t, it’s perfect for a light summer dinner or a lunch that you can take to work all week. Bread and wine optional, but encouraged.

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Orzo Greek Salad

  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 14 oz can of artichoke hearts
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup red onion
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 cups baby spinach (packed down)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper
  1. Remove stem and seeds from red pepper, slice into strips and place in pan with 10 whole cloves of garlic. Toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool.
  1. Cook orzo pasta according to directions. Empty cooked pasta into colander and rinse with cold water. Place rinsed pasta in large mixing bowl.
Prepare other ingredients
  1. Chop artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, red onion, roasted garlic, and baby spinach into bite size pieces. Place chopped ingredients in mixing bowl with pasta. (Also add olive oil from dish used to roast the garlic and pepper.)
  2. Add capers and kalamata olives (and 4 oz. feta cheese if using) to mixing bowl with pasta.
  1. Combine in a small mixing bowl: 5 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp dijon mustard. Whisk ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
Combine and serve
  1. Add dressing to mixing bowl with pasta and toss.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
  4. Serve cold.

This salad can be made vegan by eliminating the feta cheese.