Monday, June 20, 2011

Salad Days of Summer

Last Summer, I decided to do myself a favor and have one go-to dish that I could whip up for all those barbeques and last minute backyard picnics that pop up once the weather turns warm.  That idea served me so well; I wanted to share the recipe with you.
Orzo Salad with Feta
One cup of orzo
Half pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
Half of a seedless cucumber, peeled (I leave little ribbons of the skin on for added color) and rough chopped)
3-4 ounces crumbled feta (I use the Whole Foods brand, comes in a 6 ounce tub)
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped basil (if you love basil like me, you can add more)
1 and ½ teaspoons of  red wine vinegar (lemon juice also works really well, but increase it to 2 Tablespoons)
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons kalmata olives, rough chop, if desired.
(If you happen to have fresh mint on hand, a couple of  leaves very finely chopped adds a nice flavor element.  No need to make a purchase just for this)
Cook the orzo in well salted water according to package instructions.
While the orzo cooks, whisk the vinegar and oil in a bowl.  Taste and adjust as desired, add salt and pepper to taste.
Once the orzo is done, toss in the vinaigrette (the warm orzo will absorb the flavors perfectly) sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs, toss again.  Next add the vegetables and olives if using.  Lastly, add the feta and gently toss (you do not want to completely break up all the crumbles of feta, it’s nice to have some little bits running throughout and some bigger pieces).
Enjoy!  This is one of those dishes that really is fool proof.  Love feta?  Add more.  Do not have cucumber on hand?  Use the entire pint of tomatoes. 
Make it a meal
And fresh cooked shrimp or cubes of grilled chicken to make a one dish summer meal, perfect for packing up in a picnic basket.


  1. This looks lovely - if only it was summer here in NZ! Will definitely be saving this recipe up for summertime in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Andrea x


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