This is a great unique pasta salad. It’s different than traditional pasta salads; somehow it seems a little more elegant. But it’s completely make-ahead and tastes great served up next to some freshly grilled hamburgers or steaks. It’s also a great potluck dish, which is where I first tasted it. My friend Hillary brought this to a potluck dinner we were at recently, and I loved it. Actually, everyone loved it and kept raving about it. Well, everyone except Mike, but he doesn’t like feta cheese, so we’re discounting his opinion.

It’s really simple to make, and it has such a unique flavor. The combination of white pepper, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese is just perfect. It’s delicious as a side salad, but I think you could even add some chicken or other protein and turn it into a main dish. I liked it so much when I tried it that I immediately asked for the recipe and made it as a side dish for our Mother’s day cookout last weekend. Mike didn’t give a rating, since he refused to eat it, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy it.

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Spinach and Orzo Salad

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
~3/4 of a (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
~1/4 cup olive oil (more if it's too dry)
~1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, basil and white pepper. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold.

adapted from All Recipes