In my collection of recipes I have many that I inherited from my parents and grandparents. However, my recipe for Greek Orzo Salad is one created by my youngest daughter that I have added to my “inherited” favorites. She has a knack for creating simple, healthy dishes that have lots of flavor. Many of her creations came from her days as a college student, where time was critical and she often had to use what was available in the pantry and fridge.
But, leave it to Mom (me) to come along and change or “doctor up” her recipe. I take her Greek Orzo Salad recipe, made simply with cooked orzo, tomatoes, black olives and feta cheese and add in artichokes, onions, roasted red peppers, garlic stuffed green olives and whatever else I can find in the pantry. My daughter and I do not disagree on much, but how to make this salad is one of the exceptions! It is an ongoing, “friendly” battle of what makes the perfect Greek Orzo Salad. She makes it simple, I make it complex. Overall, it is a wonderful, light salad that can be served as a side dish or as a meal all by itself.
What we do agree on when making this salad are the few tricks we have learned. First of all, we marinate just the cooked orzo pasta in the dressing for an hour before adding the other ingredients. This allows the warm pasta to soak up all the fresh flavors of the herbs and spices.
Next, we have discovered an incredible whole wheat pasta, thanks to my other daughter, that makes this salad just a bit healthier. Delallo pasta has a rich flavor without being too heavy. It also does not have that “scratchy” texture some whole wheat pastas have. You can find it in many grocery stores in the Italian specialty food section. Finally, the last trick is to have lots of vegetables and add-in’s to make it full of different flavors and textures. I guess that is my trick.
A few things you can learn from this recipe…simple does not necessarily mean simple flavor, healthy does not mean it lacks flavor, and, you can doctor up a recipe as much as you like. But, one thing is for sure, when I make Greek Orzo Salad with my daughter, there will be one bowl of her version and one of mine. Finally, anytime you cook with your children, it will be a memory made in your kitchen. So, just have fun with this recipe. It is delicious, no matter how simple or complex. Enjoy!
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta (I use Delallo whole wheat orzo pasta)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut in ¼ inch slices
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 small jar roasted red peppers, diced
- 1-15 oz can artichoke hearts, quartered
- ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup garlic stuffed green olives, sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced
- ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
- Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, but do not rinse with water. Place in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt pepper and spices.
- Pour over orzo and stir to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Add in vegetables, olives and cheese. Refrigerate an additional hour. Serve cold.