It seems I always need a quick-and-easy dish to take to potlucks, picnics, reunions and on short road or kayak trips. A food that doesn’t need constant refrigeration. Something the majority of people will eat. And a dish you can take in a reusable container that you can leave with the host.
For the past several years it’s been a pasta salad recipe that the old guy found in one of his cooking magazines. It’s done well by us, but I was tired of it and looking for something a little different.
So, we’re coming back from the casino one afternoon and I knew I needed a dish for an upcoming potluck I would be attending. I remembered that I had three boxes of orzo in the pantry because I never cook it. It’s not one of favorite pasta styles and I don’t like it in soups. It comes with the three pack that we buy so it just seems to accumulate in the pantry.
I got out the phone and started surfing while he was driving. I keyed in orzo recipe and tons came up. I scrolled through till I found this one from The Pioneer Woman. It was easy, plus I had most ingredients at home.
Let me tell you, everyone loved this salad including me and the old guy! There were very little leftovers and I found that to actually be disappointing. Everyone continues to ask for the recipe when I take it somewhere and we haven’t tired of it yet – I’ve made it at least four times in the past two months! Give it a try, and let me know what you think. It’s a crowd pleaser!
Mediterranean Orzo Salad (from The Pioneer Woman)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 whole lemon, juiced (it’s so much better with fresh rather than jar)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces orzo (I used the entire box), cooked, drained and cooled
1 cup red grape or cherry tomatoes (I used the mixed heirloom organic package)
1 cup yellow grape or cherry tomatoes (see above, they added lots of color)
1 cup Kalamata olives, halved
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 whole red onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley ( I used cilantro to add a kick)
Preparation: in a jar or bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper until totally combined (I used my stick blender, did a nice job).
Place the orzo and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Stir to continue, taste and adjust seasonings, and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Top with more feta and parsley.
This is a great side dish or main dish salad. Make it a meal and serve with grilled chicken, fish or burgers.