It has it all--sweet, savory, and salty!
16 oz. box whole wheat orzo pasta
3 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups (about 3 oz.) fresh arugula or fresh spinach, torn bite-sized
1 cup (4 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried cherries
12 very small fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, stems removed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice, seeds removed
1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
Several dashes of ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook uncovered until tender, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss. Spread pasta out onto a ungreased baking sheet to cool slightly. *If you mix everything with the hot pasta, the leaves will wilt and the feta will soften, making it less than desirable.
Add pine nuts to a dry medium saucepan, over medium-low heat. Shake pan frequently to avoid burning and to ensure even browning. When the nuts are fragrant and browned, take the pan off the heat. Watch carefully as they can burn quickly! Transfer pine nuts to a plate to cool.
Once orzo and pine nuts are cooled, transfer both to a large serving bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, arugula or spinach, feta cheese, cherries, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix gently to combine. Serve immediately.