I love the Greek flavor profile and always need my fix regularly. Luckily a few weeks ago our local Greek Orthodox church had a festival which I attended to get us food two days in a row. Last week, I decided it was again time to ind luge in some classic Greek flavors so I threw together this orzo salad. I always love how the perfect bite has all different tastes and textures. The cool cucumber with the juicy tomato, the saltiness from the olives and the creaminess from the Feta cheese!! John and I had it for dinner with some grilled shrimp and chicken which made for a light and summery dinner. It also would be great as a side dish for a BBQ with your burgers and dogs.
1/2 Box Orzo (About 1 1/4 cups)
1 Large Red Pepper - Diced
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes - Halved
1 Large Cucumber - Peeled, Seeded & Diced
1 Cup Kalamata Olives - Pitted & Halved
12 oz Reduced Fat Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Oregano
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
Adapted from www.food.com - Christine's Yellow Kitchen
Start by bringing a pot of salted water up to a boil for the orzo and cook it according to the package. Drain the pasta and let it cool. While the pasta is cooking and cooling you can prep your veggies. Peel, seed and dice your cucumber, dice your tomatoes and dice up your peppers. The olives I bought were already pitted and sliced, I rinsed them off a bit so they wouldn't be overly salty. Put all of the vegetables in a very large bowl. Set aside.
Now it's time to make your dressing for the salad which is just a basic red wine vinaigrette. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. If you don't have fresh oregano on hand it is perfectly fine to use dried oregano instead, use 3/4 Tsp. Set aside.
Once the pasta has cooled completely add it to the big bowl of vegetables and stir to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over top and toss so that it has covered everything completely. Allow the salad to sit in the in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Since we had this for dinner with grilled shrimp and chicken we just topped our bowls with the crumbled feta cheese before we ate but if I was serving this as a salad I would mix in the feta right before serving and leave a little to sprinkle on the top.
Linked at: http://www.thecountrycook.net/