Woah! What’s this? An actual recipe on here? And no baby pictures? It’s hard not to overshare Lars pictures because we’re obviously in that “OMG OUR BABY IS THE BEST THING EVER” phase and pretty much want to shout it from the rooftop, but I’m trying to contain myself.
So yes! We’re back in action with food. Actually, I made this before Lars was born. I really haven’t done much in the kitchen the past couple of weeks beside make this quinoa salad, assemble lots of fruit and yogurt bowls, and stuff lactation cookies in my mouth. BUT! I’m starting to get that itch again to cook. Especially with all of the fresh produce popping up in farmers markets and my garden, it’s one of my favorite times of the year to be in the kitchen.
I love making grain or pasta based salads like this one at the beginning of the week to have for a quick and easy lunch until it’s gone. Even more so, now that I barely have time to brush my teeth in the morning (I seriously never understood when people said this until actually being a new mom), it’s nice to have food prepped and ready to eat whenever my internal lunch bell rings.
Another important thing about meals these days? They need to be able to be eaten with one hand. Well, ideally it’d be no hands since holding Lars and supporting his head typically need two hands, but I’ve found if I’m in juuuuust the right position, I can get by holding his body and head up with one hand and shoveling food in with the other. So sandwiches or anything slurpy are not my thing right now.
This caprese orzo salad is just perfect for all of the summer produce happening right now. My garden is about to be overflowing with ripe tomatoes at any second and my basil plant is out of control. We all know what this means: bring on the caprese!
Juicy tomatoes, just-picked basil, chunks of fresh mozzarella, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette is all this salad needs with the orzo. Simple, but so tasty.
This is the type of salad that gets better the next day as the flavors deepen and soak into the pasta. It was perfect with my Greek Chickpea Salad at our family picnic and made for perfect lunch leftovers the next day. It’s a breeze to whip up and even easier to eat the entire batch…it’s summertime meal perfection. Enjoy!
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach
- 10 oz mozzarella cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Bring small pot of water to boil.
- Add orzo and cook 9-11 minutes, until al dente.
- Strain and let cool.
- Prep the tomatoes, basil, spinach, and mozzarella.
- To make the dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a mason jar and shake well to combine. Alternately, you can combine them in a bowl and whisk well to combine, but I prefer the mason jar method.
- Once orzo is cooled, combine with tomatoes, basil, spinach, and mozzarella. (Side note: if orzo becomes sticky while cooling, just rinse with cold water and it should "unstick")
- Toss mixture with dressing.
- Season with additional salt and pepper, to your preference.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.