Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This recipe is full of flavor, healthy and a great alternative to typical BBQ sides.  I have been making this salad for quite a while. It is similar the Italian rice salad my grandmother use to make but she didn’t use the feta cheese or smoked mozzarella and hers was made with a mix of Italian meats and cheeses, I may have to make that for my blog…note to self!   I also like to make this salad with farro as well, for those of you unfamiliar with farro, it  is a healthy ancient grain that is full of protein, fiber, and is high in magnesium,  it is a very popular grain in Mediterranean, Moroccan Italian, and Egyptian cultures, and has been used in cooking for centuries. as well as the orzo, and both are superb.  It is such a light salad, chock full of healthy Mediterranean goodies, that are not only heart healthy, and good for you, they taste amazing.  I love to use a combination of Kalamata olives and black olives, and it has to be good old feta for me, along with some buttery smokey, smoked mozzarella, you could use fresh that isn’t smoked, but if you can find good fresh smoked mozzarella in your neck of the woods, treat yourself to a “flavorgasm” and pick some up, yes “flavorgasm I just coined a phrase, and if you have ever had fresh smoked mozzarella you will get it!   The tomatoes, and fresh herbs along with the lemony zing from the vinaigrette are just so lovely in this, and feels like summer on a plate!

If you are tired of potato and macaroni salad, this one definitely foots the bill for a change of pace.  You can make this with any combination of veggies but I like to keep the Mediterranean flavors.  I hope you give this Mediterranean Orzo Salad a try.  It really is perfect for a light lunch or side dish.

Sinfully,

Susan xoxo

 

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Mediterranean Orzo Salad

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The perfect summer salad that is full of flavor, fresh, and light!

  • You can vary what you put in this salad as it is a blank canvas with the orzo as a starter or even the farro, I like the Mediterranean flavor profiles with the feta, cucumbers, fresh oregano and mint, but it can really be made with a mix of different influences.
  • Credit: CrazySexySavor.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of orzo pasta
  • 1 English cucumber diced
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup of chopped black olives
  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted in boiling water or you can use the ones packed in oil
  • 6 oz. of diced fresh smoked mozzarella
  • 1 pint of chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup of diced feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh oregano (Fresh oregano can be overpowering, I love the taste but if you are off put by it, scale back to half the amount)
  • 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh parsely or basil
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

For the lemon vinaigrette

  • Zest of one lemon
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of Dijon mustard
  • splash of white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 3/4 cup of EVOO
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

To Make the vinaigrette

  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper, whisk to combine, continuing whisking as you begin to stream in the EVOO in a steady stream to make an emulsion.  This will only be achieved if you continue to whisk and drizzle. When emulsion has formed after about three minutes or so, and all the EVOO is whisked in, set aside.

 

Directions

  1. If using sun dried tomatoes not packed in oil, place your sundried tomatoes in a small glass bowl and cover with a boiling water to make them soft and pliable.
  2. Chop all the veggies, I like to thinly slice my red onion, taking a half a red onion and slicing it in half again to make half-moon slices, chop olives, cheeses, and herbs set aside.
  3. Cook orzo according to package directions.  When pasta is done al dente is best for this recipe, rinse in cold water, just for a minute or so, you want the pasta warm but not hot, so the dressing adheres to it, but not so hot that the cheeses begin to melt.
  4. In a large non reactive bowl, add in all the veg, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheeses.  Mix well.  Add in the warm orzo, then drizzle in the lemon vinaigrette.  Mix well to combine then add in the fresh herbs.  Check for seasoning, add more Kosher salt or cracked pepper to taste as needed.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night to meld flavors.  Just before serving, sprinkle on more fresh chopped mint if desired.  Devour!

©  CrazySexySavor.com 2018.  All rights reserved.  Images and content copyright protected.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. chefkreso says:

    Can I have a bowl of that salad, looks awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But of course!! Lol!! Thanks Chef!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much flavor! YUM!

    Like

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