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I’m bringing this delightful Mediterranean Orzo Salad recipe up from where it formerly appeared. It remains a huge favorite of ours, and I’ve had a few emails lately from people trying to find it. They couldn’t remember the name, so for those folks, here is it, right up at the front of the blog again.
This is a great salad to make on a busy weekend morning because you can get it put together in the morning, and consequently, it is in the fridge, waiting for you at dinner time.
Great make-ahead option
You can make it up to about 48 hours before you plan to eat it and as a result, it will just keep getting tastier and tastier as the flavors blend and complement each other. That also makes it a really good choice to take as your contribution to a party or get-together, because it travels well in a cooler. I do like to use plenty of fresh herbs in this for the same reason because they need a little time to really release their flavors and letting the salad marinate gives the herbs time to do their thing.
Life out here along the creek…
Often at the end of a busy day, we like to relax on the porch with a glass of wine and a few snacks. We might be waiting for the grill to heat up for Herb Grilled Chicken and enjoying the quiet while the hummingbirds chase each other. As the shadows get longer and it starts to cool off a bit, we adjourn to the house. Larry gets that chicken on the grill, and I put the finishing touches on the rest of the meal.
This may not be everyone’s idea of heaven, but it pretty much fills the bill for us, and all in all, this is the kind of evening we enjoy as often as we can – either just the two of us or with some friends and family added in.
This is also a very good salad to take to a picnic or cookout as I mentioned previously. It will be safe sitting on a picnic table for a while because there is no mayo to go bad. It is also a crowd-pleaser, and unusual enough that it is not likely to be duplicated by other guests. Here is how I like to make it. And, this is my favorite knife: Misen Chef’s Knife. A good knife is essential when you have a lot of chopping to do.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- Fresh herbs - rosemary basil, parsley, oregano, thyme. Whatever you have on hand and what you enjoy. You want about 4 or 5 tablespoons total, once they are chopped medium fine. *see notes if you have to use dried herbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 grinds fresh black pepper
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- a small drizzle of honey - 1/2 teaspoon or so
- 1/2 cup good quality fruity olive oil
- 10 ounces dry orzo
- 1 large red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 large green bell pepper diced
- 2 large scallions cut into thin slices
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes cut into thin ribbons, or chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
- 5 to 6 ounces feta cheese finely crumbled
- additional olive oil if needed
Make the vinaigrette
- Cut the garlic roughly, sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt, and mash to a paste, using the side of a knife blade, or the tines of a dinner fork. You can also use a micro-plane to shave it finely.
- Put the garlic, chopped herbs, salt, and pepper into a small, high-sided bowl.
- Add the vinegar and honey, and whisk until the salt is dissolved.
- Whisk in the olive oil slowly, until it is all incorporated and emulsified. Set aside.
Make the salad
- Cook the orzo, according to the package directions.
- Drain the orzo well, and place it in a large bowl.
- Mix in the vinaigrette.
- Add the peppers, scallions, tomatoes, olives, and feta, and stir gently to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
- Before serving, stir again, and if needed, add another few tablespoons of olive oil - only if all of the vinaigrette has been absorbed. You just want a nice coating, not the salad swimming in the vinaigrette.
The other great thing about Mediterranean Orzo Salad is that it’s very scaleable; easily doubled or tripled if you are feeding more people. You can also switch up the veggies if you like, or turn it into a one-dish meal with the addition of some grilled chicken, or maybe salmon. Undoubtedly this makes an even easier meal.