Eating light on busy night


This is a light weeknight meal and a nice end to an active day. I'll keep these ingredients on hand throughout most of the summer because this dinner finds its way to my table at least once a week in those busy months.

Orzo is a small pasta that has a wonderfully smooth mouth-feel; it's sold at many supermarkets. However, other small pasta (shells, penne or even corkscrews) would work.

When cooking any pasta entrees, be sure to make heating the pot of water the first thing you do. Even if it hits a rolling boil before you're ready, you can reduce the heat to a simmer until the pasta is ready to be added.

Beverage tip

A light, crisp white wine would go well with this dish. Try a pinot grigio from Italy or California, or a Portuguese vinho verde. For the kids, try milk with a sprig of mint to dress up the glass.


Buy chopped olives and crumbled feta from the deli counter.

Buy thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes in a jar.

Purchase cleaned baby spinach in bags.

Orzo Salad With Spinach, Feta and Olives

Preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

1 box (16 ounces) orzo

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package (10 ounces) fresh spinach, washed, trimmed

1 package (6 ounces) pitted kalamata olives, quartered

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 package (4 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, cut into strips

Prepare orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add the oil and garlic. Cook 20 seconds. Add the spinach; cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Remove to a colander; drain, squeezing out extra water. Place in a serving bowl. Add olives, cheese and tomatoes; mix well.

Drain the orzo; return to pot. Stir over medium heat until extra water evaporates, about 1 minute. Add to vegetable-cheese mixture. Toss; serve.

Per serving: 487 calories; 20 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 25 milligrams cholesterol; 63 grams carbohydrate; 16 grams protein; 868 milligrams sodium; 5 grams fiber

- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

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