Greek Orzo Salad

August 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

I had a great greek orzo salad at the Whole Foods ready-made counter about two years ago. I loved the flavors in the pasta salad so much that I started to dissect the salad (to figure out what was in it and how I could make it).  I first tried to make the salad for my husband, and he gave me the nod of approval.  The second time I made this pasta salad was for one of my bridal showers, and it was a hit.  I really knew it was a good recipe when my aunt asked for it and started making it for her friends and for family BBQs.

It is a great cold pasta salad that has so many flavors working at once, that it is both an awesome side dish and a great stand alone dish.   It’s easy to make and can be made ahead of time too.  If you have a BBQ to go to or a luncheon and need to bring a dish, this one is perfect.  It is also great on top of some fresh spinach, for a light lunch.  Is it better than the Whole Foods version?  Make it, taste it, and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 medium purple onion
  • 1 cup pitted whole kalamata olives
  • 1 1/2 cups whole sun dried tomatoes that have been packed in olive oil
  • 2 oz. of fresh basil (about 1/2 of a container of Trader Joe’s organic basil does the trick)
  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 box orzo
  • 1/4 cup of the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Directions:

1.  Start of with cooking the orzo according to the directions of the box of the pasta.  Remember to generously salt the water, so you can flavor the pasta.

2.  Once you have started the pasta, cut up the yellow and orange bell peppers into large chunks.  Put all of the bell pepper into a food processor and pulse until you reach your desired size of bell pepper.  Be careful not to pulse the bell peppers too much, or you will get a bell pepper paste and not pieces of bell peppers.  When you have pulsed the bell peppers to the desired size, out them in a large bowl.

3.  Next, cut a whole purple onion into large chucks.  Put the onion into the food processor ad pulse until the onion has been chopped.  Add the chopped onion into the bowl with the bell peppers.

4.  Add the kalamata olives to the food processor and pulse until they are chopped.  Add the olives to the bowl with the bell peppers and purple onion.

5.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until they are chopped up.  Pulsing the sun dried tomatoes may take longer than the other ingredients because they are tougher.  When the tomatoes have been chopped, add them to the bowl.

6.  Pull the basil leaves off of their steams and put the leaves into the food processor.  Pulse the basil leaves into small pieces.  When the basil has been chopped, add it to the bowl.

7.  When the pasta is done, cool it off by pouring the pasta into a colander and draining it.  Next, run cold water over the pasta in the colander until the pasta is cold.  When the pasta is cool, add it to the large bowl that has all of the chopped ingredients.

8.  Add 1/4 cup of the sun-dried tomato olive oil to the pasta and the chopped veggies.  Toss the ingredients in the bowl to combine and coat with the oil.

9.  Add the feta cheese and pepper to taste.  Toss the pasta to evenly distribute the cheese.  Refrigerate the pasta until it is cold, and then serve.

Spinach Artichoke Orzo Salad All Week

May 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a bag of store-bought fresh spinach
  • 32 oz. artichokes (jar or canned)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup lite Italian dressing, plus more to taste
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups cheery tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered
  • 1 box orzo
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Combine artichokes, spinach, Parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing in a Ziploc bag and marinate for 1-2 hours.

2.  Meanwhile, cook orzo according to the directions on packaging.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Let cool to room temperature.

3.  Cut the tomatoes and chop the bell pepper.  Put them into a large bowl.  Stir in the cooled orzo pasta.

4.  Chop the  artichoke and spinach (try to keep all of the dressing in the bag).  Add them to the pasta.  Add the dressing and Parmesan cheese from the marinated artichokes (inside the Ziploc bag) to the bowl.  Toss everything together.  Add pepper and more dressing to taste.

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