Monday, July 6, 2015

Mediterranean Inspired Orzo Salad

Here's a new favorite salad of mine, created in my mind a while ago, and served on the table tonight. It's light and tasty and will make every little taste bud dance in your mouth. I promise it will, and the pastabilities are endless!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Serves 6

2 T canola oil
1 large onion diced
Kosher salt
1 cup uncooked orzo
Additional salt and pepper
1-3/4 cups water

1/2 English cucumber peeled, seeded and thinly sliced in half moons
4 scallions chopped 1/4 inch
4 oz roasted grape tomatoes halved
10 Kalamata olives halved
2-3 oz feta cheese chopped 1/4 inch
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 T store bought hummus
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T light soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To cook the orzo: In medium size saucepan on medium low heat, heat your canola oil. Add the chopped onions and some salt and pepper. Cook uncovered on stovetop to soften the onions, not brown them. After about 5 minutes they will be translucent and ready to accept the orzo. Add the cup of orzo and coat with the buttery onions. Add a bit more salt and pepper (the orzo has absolutely no flavor if you do not season it). Stir to combine onions and orzo and let the orzo toast a bit (2-3 minutes). Add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest simmer and cook 12-13 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

While orzo is cooking, make your dressing and prep your veggies. The dressing is so simple...just put all ingredients into a medium size jar, shake and dressing is done. Even though there's soy in the dressing, I add a pinch or two of salt. It's up to you, but I like that little extra pinch in there.

Place all salad ingredients into a medium size bowl and toss with a 1/4 cup of dressing.

Now add the cooled orzo and dress with another 1/4 cup of dressing. Add some more cilantro leaves and serve in lettuce cups if you desire.

And now for the re-mixes: How about adding a cup of chick peas or artichoke hearts? And if you'd like to take this out of the vegetarian arena, give some small dices of salami a try- I bet that would be delish. You could also switch out the cilantro for mint. Or try a creamy goat cheese, buttery fontina or tangy blue. My favorite addition/idea to this salad so far will be to add some falafel croutons. I haven't tried that yet, but I will for sure. And soon!


Cynthia Martinez said...

This sounds amazing honey. I have to have the salt for health reasons, I know! But anything with a Greek dressing has my interest right away. Maybe if I were born Greek or Italian I would like olive but I don't now. However I love a dirty martini.LOL This is a must make for me and I will do the crouton version.

Anonymous said...

Wow Linda! This looks and sounds really amazing! My hubby would never taste it! But I bet I could eat the whole batch myself. :-)

Linda said...

Cynthia- thanks for stopping by. I know you need the salt, I don't but I likey. Yes likey! As far as the Falafil Croutons, I found a MIX in the store. Now I'm not sure how good it is, but I'm going to try it tomorrow and let you know if it's worth going that route. Falafils from scratch are just too time consuming on a work night. I'll keep you posted. Love you sweetheart, xxoo

Linda said...

Haha Donna, how right you are. I think it's part of their genetic makeup. Maybe that Y chromosome? I'm sharing most of this with a girlfriend at work tomorrow, saving a bit for dinner and am going to see how the warm falafils work with the salad. Thank you for reading, miss you

Anonymous said...

Miss you too Linda! Yum, I bet that the falfils will be great!

Hope I might get to see you again at the World Food Championships in November! I would LOVE that! I miss you too!!!!

Linda said...

I'd like to go Donna. Just started entering a few recipes to jap. Hopefully good ones....That would just be fabulous to get together again!