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Pasta Delight with Greek Orzo Spinach Salad

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The question I get all the time is, “If I eat a plant-based diet, how do I not get bored?” A fair question. Many think that eating a mostly plant-based diet will severely restrict them. However, I believe that by eliminating items that many call “food” but really are nothing more than processed chemicals made in factories by giant corporations that intend to get you to buy, buy, and buy some more of their stuff–not food, you’ll realize that real food options exist, taste far better, and provide plenty of satisfying options.

This is what I had for lunch today. It’s a simple fresh linguine lemon, basil pasta from my favorite Italian Market in Little Italy. During the day, I am typically pressed for times between film shoots, writing articles, and TV/speaking engagements, so quick, easy, and delicious are mandatory for me. Thankfully this meal qualifies in all areas. And often, I can’t make a meal. That’s when the second most popular question is asked, “What can I buy for lunch if I didn’t have time to make a meal at home the night before?”

Glad you asked? 🙂 Because this is often the case for many, including me and I frequently work from home!
Serving up a mostly plant-based meal that’s a combination of prepared and foods you cook is a great way to simplify the prep time. But knowing what to include can be challenging. Much of the food combining that I do, is simply trial and error. If I serve it up and my team likes it, or better yet, my daughter eats it–then I’ve got a winner. This one went over very well.

The salad is greek orzo pasta layered on spinach with strawberries, blueberries, red peppers, some sesame seeds, a tiny bit of feta cheese, and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. For the salad, you can often pick up a small container at Whole Foods or if you’d like to make it yourself, follow the recipe below.

Greek Orzo Salad

Pasta Delight with Greek Orzo Spinach Salad

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The pasta is a tasty and a bit tangy. And notice, it’s not the majority of the plate! If I don’t have time to make a fresh arrabbiata sauce, I’ll use Rao’s from an old Italian restaurant in New York. When I make the sauce fresh, I also use the Rao’s Cookbook,  You can get the sauce at Whole Foods stores. I add some red pepper flakes and capers for a spicy zest.


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cans marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 to mato (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 cucumber (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 c cubed feta cheese
  • 1 2 ounce can black olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper


  • Lightly salt and bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  • Combine pasta, cucumber, onion, feta, olives, parsley, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, oregano and lemon pepper. Toss and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.
  • Serve over spinach and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar.
Author: Phoebe Chongchua

For dessert, try a refreshing strawberry sorbet.


Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia brand journalist who consults and writes on wellness, all things plant-based, fitness, lifestyle, and travel. She is yoga certified and earned her certificate in Whole Food Plant-Based Eating in 2010 through eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's also a top podcaster for her marketing/storytelling podcast, The Brand Journalism Advantage at

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