Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cooking: Italian Chopped Spinach Salad (Recipe)

I love this chopped salad--so many great flavors and textures. And with the chicken it works as a main course. Or leave the chicken out and serve it with something else. It was inspired by a salad I ordered in an Italian restaurant years ago and my sisters and I have been making it ever since. It's got lots of the things I love (seems they keep cropping up in the recipes I share) like spinach and orzo pasta and chicken. But there are capers and sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts too.

Click to read the recipe.


For Salad:
  • 4 packages baby spinach leaves (10 oz each)
  • 8 oz orzo pasta (cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained)
  • white meat from one large rotisserie chicken (tear it off in small chunks)
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes (or 5 Roma tomatoes) (seeded and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (rinsed if they are in oil) (chopped)
  • 8 T capers
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

For Dressing: (make at least 3 hours ahead)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

To make the dressing mix all the ingredients in a blender and let it rest for at least 3 hours (can be made the day ahead) so the flavors mellow a bit.)


Thinly slice the spinach--grab it by handfuls and chop--and throw it in a large salad bowl.

Add the orzo.

Add the rotisserie chicken.

Add the tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, olives and capers.

Add the Parmesan cheese.

Mix all ingredients well. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve.
(I like it room temperature or chilled)


Federica said...

ciao Anneliese! sono Federica dall'Italia e da poco tempo seguo il tuo blog e mi piace moltissimo, complimenti!!! La tua ricetta sembra veramente buona ma credo che abbia poco di italiano...noi gli spinaci abbiamo l'abitudine di mangiarli cotti e non crudi, soprattutto amiamo le verdure per accompagnare i secondi piatti (come carne e pesce) ma non mischiandoli tutti insieme! La tua ricetta però è sicuramente da provare!!!
un caro saluto dall'Italia!

Sandy said...

This looks so delicious!! The hubby and I both love capers (and anything with Italian in the name to eat!!) so I will definitely give this a try. Thanks for sharing it with us :)

@jenhalloran said...

Yum -- can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing. Thinking I might also try substituting quinoa or couscous for the orzo (since I always seem to have those on hand).

Anneliese said...

@Federica: Ciao! Thank you for leaving a comment. I used Google translate... Perhaps it would be more accurate to call this an Italian-inspired salad. :-) You are right, when visiting Italy last year I certainly never saw salads such as this. I think the chopped salad, and salads with lots of ingredients tossed in, is a very American idea! I just love tossing togetherr a lot of the Italian flavors I love. Maybe it suits our busier lifestyle--throw it all in one bowl instead of making separate courses! Interesting to think about the differences...

@Jen: quinoa or couscous would both add a bit more healthy to this salad. You'll have to let me know if you like the nuttier flavor. I need some quinoa inspiration!

Corrabelle said...

This looks so delicious...I might throw a bit of fresh basil in to mine. I think we'll try this tomorrow!

Federica said...

ciao Annaliese! I'm sorry to write in italian but I'm not very good in english!!! i like your salad and i would like to make this summer!
baci from Italy!!!

Margo Caddell said...

I made this last night for dinner and it was wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer said...

On my next shopping list for sure!

Jennifer said...

On my next shopping list for sure!

Curly Birds said...

Oh my, this looks very yummy! I will definitely be trying it this week.

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