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Blueberry Spinach Salad With Lemon Orzo

December 31, 2010


OK. This blog post isn’t about Warren G. or regulating, but I’m really serious about my new lifestyle so it needed a powerful start. Also, cooking doesn’t need to be boring. Crank up the tunes. Do a little jig.

Ever since I read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food I have been determined to cut fake food from my diet as much as possible.

Before I read the book I didn’t realize much of the food we eat is mostly imitation food or food-like substance.

He makes the very good point that ever since we industrialized food on a large scale and started worrying about nutrition we have been fatter and sicker than ever. Essentially he proposes eating what you want as long as you know what the ingredients are and where they came from.

This means a lot more time spent cooking and a lot less time at the drive-thru or by the microwave.

I love thinking outside the bun as much as the next person, but I also like being healthier than the next person so I have to cut that crap out.

This week for dinner I made a giant spinach salad with blueberries, crushed almonds, Greek feta cheese and a homemade balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing. Both nights this salad took up half the plate:

The first night I served it with orzo, which is a pasta that looks like rice, and grilled Halloumi cheese, which is a very tasty cheese made in Cyprus. While I realize orzo pasta isn’t whole wheat, I feel I’m definitely getting closer to eating all whole foods.

Blueberry Spinach Salad

– Bag of spinach or baby leaf spinach

– Fresh blueberries

– Small bag of crushed or sliced almonds (found in the baking section)

– Feta cheese (block of white cheese that’s pre-crumbled, or you can buy the block and roughly chop it)

– Balsamic vinegar (found in the dressings section of my store)

– Extra virgin olive oil

I’m making the salad for two people, so I use a quarter to half of the spinach, the whole pot of blueberries, and a quarter to half the block of feta, and then however many almonds looks good.

You have a lot of freedom with this, so you don’t have to worry about messing it up.

Wash the spinach. I lay it out on a big dish towel and pat it dry, otherwise the salad is too wet. I’m not going to lie. This part is a hassle and it sucks, but it’s worth it.

Wash the blueberries and shake off excess water. Roughly chop the feta cheese into smaller chunks. Throw all of this, including the almonds, in a big bowl.

For the dressing you don’t need a lot. Start out small because you can always add more. In a small pot mix 2/3 olive oil with 1/3 of balsamic vinegar. Because it’s oil and vinegar they want to separate, so mix it quickly with a fork until it’s all combined, then immediately pour it over the salad.

At this point you can jumble it all up and cover your plate. YUM!!

Simple orzo with peas and lemon

– Bag of orzo pasta (orzo looks like rice, but it’s pasta)

– Frozen peas

– Extra virgin olive oil

– Juice from 1/4 to 1/2 a fresh lemon

– Sea salt

– Pepper

– Dried basil (in the spices and herbs section)

All you need to do is boil the orzo and frozen peas together for about 8 minutes. In terms of how much to make, you’ll have to be the judge depending on how many you are cooking for. First times are always an experiment! Drain, and drizzle with a little olive oil and the lemon juice. I don’t really measure the herbs, so I’d suggest just sprinkling to taste.

Halloumi cheese

You can find this in the cheese section, and it comes in a small block. I don’t know if it’s as common in the US, but I know you can get it. Trust me when I say it’s worth the price. Slice about 1/4 to half an inch thick, and grill in a pan until each side is slightly browned. Maybe 2-3 slices per person. The cheese is pretty salty so it’s better in smaller amounts.

Smack your lips and wash it all down with a nice glass of red wine. Enjoy!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2010 2:48 pm

    That salad looks delicious!! And I LOVE Michael Pollan! I’ve had the same revelation after reading his book, and have changed a lot about my diet. This blog is so great! I’ll be back to steal recipes:) Thanks for letting me know about it!

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