Cook the Book: Warm Spinach, Orzo, and Pistachio Salad

Cook the Book: Warm Spinach, Orzo, and Pistachio Salad

Book CoverOne of the easiest dishes to prepare when you are dining alone is a big salad. Take out a mixing bowl, whisk up some dressing, and rummage through the fridge to see what ingredients inspire you. Since you're not sharing, there’s no need for a plate. Simply toss and enjoy!

Todays Cook the Book recipe, excerpted from Serves One, is for Warm Spinach, Orzo, and Pistachio Salad. The hot orzo wilts the fresh spinach ever so slightly, while the pistachios and red onion add crunch. Feta cheese is the perfect finishing touch. But don't feel like you have to follow this recipe exactly—it's perfect for playing around with. For a heartier dish cut back on the spinach and add more orzo, substitute pecans for the pistachios, or gorgonzola for the feta.

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  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a large pinch
  • 1/4 cup orzo
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 heaping tablespoon roasted pistachios


  1. 1.

    In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, combine the feta, olive oil, vinegar, a large pinch of salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

  3. 3.

    Drain the orzo through a strainer (not a colander—some of the orzo may escape through the holes!) and add to the bowl. Gently stir to coat the orzo with the dressing. Add the spinach, onion, and pistachios, and toss once more.