An Italian’s Take on a Greek Rice Salad

I do always try to look for the silver lining in everything.....and in addition to some good conversations with my daughter and getting lots of computer work done during the 4 hour gymnastics practices, my daughter and I have bonded over good, healthy food that is easily eaten on the road to her new gymnastics gym in Brockton, MA. These lunches and dinners need to be high in protein & veggies and not require a stovetop or microwave to heat up. We have both found some awesome recipes and will happily share them as they are great to take with you to work or school AND rather than leaving you sleepy, they give you energy (light but filling!).


Being an Italian cook, my pantry is full of Italian ingredients and I tweaked this recipe to use Arborio Rice, but you can use whatever is in your pantry. I do have to say....I am in love with this new way of cooking Arborio Rice (like pasta). Try it out for yourself!

Greek Style Rice Salad

(takes approximately 1/2 hour to make)


Ingredients:

2 cups Arborio Rice

1 cup Sundried Tomatoes (packed without oil - just dried - usually located in grocery aisle where dried plums/raisins are)

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

8 oz bag/container of pre washed Baby Spinach

2 teaspoons of Minced Garlic

2 cups Feta Cheese, crumbled

½ cup pitted Kalamata Olives, sliced

1 teaspoon dried Oregano

2 teaspoons coarse (Kosher) Salt, divided

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (15 ½ ounce) can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Lemon wedges (optional)


Instructions:

1. Fill a medium pot with water and 1 tsp coarse salt. Bring to a boil and add 2 cups of Arborio Rice. Cook for 18-20 mins (taste to see if al dente at 18 mins). Drain. Set aside.

2. Cut the Sundried Tomatoes into 1 inch pieces.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil, garlic and spinach and saute for 2-3 mins (until just barely wilted). Add tomatoes.

4. Combine rice, tomatoes, spinach mixture, 1 tbsp of olive oil, feta cheese, olives, oregano, salt to taste, black pepper, chickpeas and toasted nuts - mix well.

5. Serve with lemon wedges if desired. Eat at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.


Optional/Notes: My daughter omits the olives and feta cheese but adds in shredded chicken.

I pack a side of fruit to round out my meal....nutritious and delicious!


Challenge: Note how you feel after each meal for a week and file the information away....this mindfulness will give you so much insight into what works for your body/energy and what doesn't.