What’s Cooking: Orzo, Chickpeas, and Spinach

What’s Cooking: Orzo, Chickpeas, and SpinachI pulled together a super-delicious, super-quick, and super… well, reasonably healthy dinner tonight, and it turned out so well I thought I’d share. I didn’t have a recipe, just a sense of things I thought would taste good together – and fortunately, I was right. Here goes:

1 cup orzo, uncooked
1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package fresh baby spinach (5 ounces)
20 kalamata olives, sliced
1 tablespoon zatar*
4 ounces feta cheese
lemon slice

Cook orzo per box instructions, drain. Add chickpeas and olive oil, cook until chickpeas are warm. Add spinach, cover until it starts wilting. Stir to mix in with orzo and chickpeas; add olives and zatar. Stir it up and leave it on the heat until it’s as warm as you want it. Serve with feta crumbled on top and a squirt of lemon juice. Don’t salt – between the olives, zatar, and feta, it’s quite salty enough.

(The lemon was a late add. It was out to go in my water and, once I tasted my creation, I thought it needed something else – and a squeeze of citrus turned out to be the perfect finishing touch.)

This makes somewhere between three and four servings, depending, I suppose, on how hungry you are. (In tonight’s case, very.) According to the food tracker on my phone, it has 358 calories if done as four servings, 477 if three. It also took less than a half-hour to make, which made me very happy. (Hungry!)

What’s Cooking: Orzo, Chickpeas, and Spinach

* If zatar is not available at your usual grocery store, it’s definitely available from Penzey’s.

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12 thoughts on “What’s Cooking: Orzo, Chickpeas, and Spinach

  1. wendalicious January 5, 2012 / 8:50 pm

    Wow, that looks good. Stealing!

  2. lunchandsandwichideas January 5, 2012 / 8:56 pm

    I love all of the ingredient so I must try it. I didn’t know about zatar, I think the only thing missing for it is savoury. It looks delicious and would be perfect in a lunch box.

    • Sarah January 6, 2012 / 6:30 am

      Thanks! I thought it would be easy to bring for lunch, too, but alas I have a work thing at lunch today so I’m not bringing food. I’m hoping it keeps ’til Monday!

  3. Common loon January 5, 2012 / 11:40 pm

    What is zatar / where do I look for it in the grocery store?

    • Sarah January 6, 2012 / 6:27 am

      See my reply to Mom’s comment…

  4. Mom January 6, 2012 / 4:45 am

    @ Loon — Google “zatar” — it appears to be a creole-type spice. There is a brand name called “Zatarian” that has a Pre-seasoned rice mix & the website has yummy recipes to boot. It is used to season crawfish, rice casseroles, etc. (my guess would be the spice isle near the Old Bay / Cajun seasonings).

    • Sarah January 6, 2012 / 6:26 am

      Yikes! Not Zatarains! Love their stuff, but that’s not at all what I used.

      Zatar is a Middle Eastern spice blend. If you click on the word “zatar” on the list of ingredients, I linked it to the Wikipedia page that explains what’s in it. I think it’s a little obscure for the grocery store, so there’s a Penzey’s link at the bottom under the photo, too. I think most of the components of zatar are easy to get, however, so you could also make your own.

  5. Mom January 6, 2012 / 4:48 am

    P.S. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!! “Pull togethers” are the best 🙂

  6. Tom M January 6, 2012 / 3:21 pm

    I was wondering about adding either some sauteed onions and/or garlic. In addition to Zatar or substitute therefor////

    • Sarah January 6, 2012 / 3:33 pm

      Yes, I think either would be tasty, though I’d lean a little more towards garlic. In fact, I almost added some, but I was too hungry to go through the rigmarole of peeling and dicing it.

  7. Fran January 6, 2012 / 7:45 pm

    Delicious, Sarah. Whenever you suffer “writer’s blog block”, feel free to share a culinary creation. Yum. 😍

  8. Eileen January 7, 2012 / 12:43 pm

    Googles za’atar recipe and found this:
    http://mideastfood.about.com/od/middleeasternspicesherbs/r/zaatar.htm

    I do this for things like pumpkin pie spice and other seasoning blends that I don’t like to pay extra for. So if you can’t find zatar or za’atar at your local store, try finding the ingredients and make your own!

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