Growing up with a mother who worked full time, our family dinners were pretty darn predictable since mom religiously stayed true to her famous five. Those meals usually consisted of fried pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy, Italian spaghetti and meat sauce, tuna and noodle hotdish, homemade soup, and pot roast on Sundays. Of course, she detoured from those meals whenever she had the time to get creative, but no matter what she served for dinner; it always came with a salad.
Old habits die hard. It wasn’t until I entered my thirties that I even considered preparing a salad that wasn’t made from iceberg lettuce, wedged tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and Wishbone Italian dressing. In my mind, that’s what salad with dinner looked like. Then, I discovered a love for all things ethnic, including food, and a whole new world of flavors and ingredients came clearly into focus and introduced me to what I had been missing all my life; a love for salad.
Call me unsatisfied if you will, but I can never get enough of a new salad recipe. It seems like there isn’t enough time in life to discover all of the incredibly delicious options available now, and those yet to be created when it comes to a good salad. After all, there is hardly an ingredient on earth that can’t be incorporated into this beloved dish. And yet, once in a while, there is one that I come back to again and again. That one for me is this Mediterranean Orzo and Spinach salad. It’s not a new invention by any means since there are many interpretations of this salad floating in the culinary universe. However, I prefer my version because, of course, it has a subtle Mediterranean influence infused into the flavor. In my opinion, a great salad should never be predictable or boring, but instead, leave you wanting more when the bowl is empty. To me, that is the beauty of this dish. I always want more.
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