Balsamic Orecchiette with Spinach, Craisins, & Feta


Just 3 more days till Christmas— and believe it or not, I’m giving you a savory recipe today!

A simple, healthy, festive, savory pasta dish that’s perfect as a quick lunch or an easy holiday side dish. For, perhaps, well, Christmas. Or Christmas Eve. Or Christmas Eve Eve. Or any day for that matter!

But believe me when I say, this pasta is simple at it’s BEST.



I actually first played around with this pasta combo when I hosted Christmakkah with my friends back a few weeks ago. We had a huge potluck complete with festive cocktails, crispy latkes, lots of salads, ALL the dips, this pie, and, of course, some decadent cookies. **Swoon** (Can you tell I’m still dreaming of this spread??) Ohhh, and this pasta salad! Which I originally made using whole wheat orzo (and it was just as delish, I might add), but that’s besides the point.

Anyways, I fell in love with this combo! The tender spinach, the tart craisins, the crunchy pecans, the salty feta, the pop of sweetness from the balsamic— it just screamed Christmas to me with each bite. So I knew I must share it with you all, especially as we inch closer and closer to the big day.



Let’s talk a few perks of this pasta:

  1. This dish takes all of 15 minutes, basically as long as it takes your pasta to cook, then you just toss all the ingredients together with some rich balsamic vinaigrette.
  2. It’s naturally vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese or substituting avocado instead. And you don’t need to be vegan to make that masterful choice 😉
  3. Feel free to use any pasta you have on hand, or go gluten free!
  4. It’s a total crowd pleaser— for veggies and meat-eaters alike!



Well, I’m off to go teach my last day before our holiday break <— insert every party emoji in here!!! It’s been a longggg week, with all my students’ excitement at it’s peak, but we’ve certainly had a lot of fun with some celebratory activities thrown into our usual routine. But believe me when I say, this teacher is ready for a calm, relaxing break!

Speaking of break, we’re heading to Atlanta this weekend for Christmas to be with my family, then jet-setting north to New York to be with Nate’s family later in the week. It’s bound to a busy break, but I’m so excited to catch up with friends and family, spend lots of time in the kitchen, and, not to mention, have a week off! What about you?? Traveling? Staying home? A little of both??

Enjoy these last few days of holiday prep everyone and, if I don’t “talk” to you before then, have the merriest of Christmases, full of family and good food 🙂

This recipe is featured in “20 recipes for National Cheese lovers day” on TheKitchenAddiction.


Balsamic Orecchiette with Spinach, Craisins, & Feta

Serves 6-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish


  • 10oz whole wheat orecchiette (or pasta of choice)
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

for the dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Step 1
Cook pasta according to direction on package. When el dente, drain water. Place 2 handfuls of spinach in the warm pasta pot, then top with the drained pasta (making the spinach wilt).
Step 2
Whisk together your dressing: olive oil, balsamic, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir to coat. Top with craisins, pecans, and feta, and stir to combine one last time. Add any desired salt and pepper, then serve warm or at room temperature.


Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


    • Aww you are too sweet Lucia! Happy Holiday to you and your family!

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