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Spinach and Feta Orzo Salad

This zesty, make-ahead spring salad is simple to prepare and bursting with flavor.

Makes 10-12 servings

1 pound orzo pasta
1 cup slivered almonds
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces baby spinach, chopped
6 ounces (about 1½ cups) feta cheese, crumbled
1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Cook the orzo in a large pot of salted water (it should taste slightly like the sea) until tender but firm; about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly in cold water. Drain well and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, toast almonds until lightly golden; about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon zest and pepper until combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Keep whisking until the vinaigrette has emulsified.

To the vinaigrette, add pasta, almonds, spinach, feta and thyme. Toss until everything is combined and serve immediately. This salad can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator

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MEREDITH STEELE is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer and author of InSockMonkeySlippers.com, an award winning family food blog celebrating creative and fresh foods. Her recipe development and photography company, MBS Recipe Development specializes in multimedia recipe development for commercial and small business who’s clients include everyone from Ziploc® to small wineries. Meredith’s work has been published online, in various print media, and has been nominated for the SAVEUR awards. She can also be found across the pond writing a monthly column for JamieOliver.com. When Meredith is not in the kitchen, she’s roaming Dallas, Texas with her husband, curly-headed pixie of a daughter, and big floppy-eared dog.

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