MEDITERRANEAN ORZO SALAD
Everyone needs a few go-to summer entertaining dishes in their back pocket. These are the dishes that you turn to when the weather is hot, you don’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen, and you have a crowd coming over. This Greek Orzo salad is exactly one of those recipes. It’s incredibly easy to make, has a lovely fresh, light taste, and is easy to make ahead of time. It’s even served slightly chilled or at room temperature. It’s truly a winner!
One of the keys to making this salad work is cooking the orzo completely. This is not the time you want the orzo to be cooked al dente. It is essential that it is easy to bite all the way through. The timing of cooking the orzo varies from home cook to home cook, so just scoop a little bit out of the boiling water and taste it as it cooks. The softened pasta is needed because it will adequately absorb the dressing and give the whole salad incredible flavor.
We call this orzo salad Greek because it contains all the same ingredients as a Greek salad. I simply chop the ingredients while the orzo cooks because it really doesn’t take long to do. Then, when the pasta is cooked, I toss the ingredients together, and then drizzle the dressing on top and toss it really well.
At this point your salad is ready to serve. If you’ve made it in advance of eating it, simply cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in fridge. It can stay in the fridge like this for up to one day and the flavor won’t be compromised.
Alternatively, you can serve the salad warm just after you’ve made it. This also tastes wonderful! The versatility of this salad is nearly unmatched in the summer. I serve it alongside grilled fish (link), chicken kebobs (link), and stuffed feta burgers. It really accompanies just about everything nicely. Enjoy!
MEDITERRANEAN ORZO SALAD
This is a refreshing pasta salad for summer. It’s a great alternative to Greek salad and pairs really well with grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp. We served this at our Greek restaurant and it was always popular. This salad tastes wonderful the next day because letting it sit overnight allows the pasta to absorb the juices and all the flavors.
Makes 6 – 8 servings
1 pound of orzo
2 small green peppers, seeded, cored and finely diced
1 large English cucumber, finely diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
½ chopped red onion, finely diced
1 cup of kalamata olives pitted and sliced
½ bunch of fresh parsley
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups of crumbled feta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the orzo. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not cook it al dente, cook it completely so it is soft to the bite. Soft pasta is needed because it will completely absorb the dressing and the flavors of the salad.
When the pasta is ready, drain the cooking water and rinse it off to cool it down. Let it sit until you are ready to use it.
Prepare the vegetables and add them all to a large bowl.
Add the sliced olives and parsley to the bowl with the vegetables.
Prepare the large dressing by mixing the lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper together.
Using clean hands, toss the pasta with the prepared vegetables until they are evenly incorporated. Then, drizzle in the dressing and toss the salad well is you go so it’s evenly coated.
Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and garnish with extra parsley and it’s ready to serve.
If you are preparing this salad ahead of time, cover the serving dish with plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge. Put it out at room temperature about 30 minutes before you’d like to serve it.
Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact email@example.com or call 203.658.8659.