This Mediterranean orzo salad wth grilled vegetables is great because it's adjustable. The basics--proportions and the dressing--are a good foundation to build from. You can use whatever veggies you'd like, and you could use goat cheese instead of feta if you prefer. I left out the olives because my husband doesn't like them, and it was still delicious. I forgot to add the fresh parsley the first night I served it, and it was still good. I used a bit of fresh oregano that I grew, as well, and it added a nice touch.
I used 2 small zucchini, 2 small yellow squash, one orange bell pepper, and one medium-sized Vidalia onion. I probably didn't need all the zucchini, but they looked so pretty at the farmer's market, I couldn't help myself! The largest time sink in this recipe was grilling the veggies--I used my indoor grill pan, and it took three batches to get them all cooked.
I served the orzo salad with grilled pork chops on Saturday night, and the leftovers with salmon grilled indoors on my grill pan on Sunday (pictured). It was great leftover.
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Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Grilled Vegetables, recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking blog
Time: 30-45 minutes. Serves: 8.
for the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Dash of dried oregano (or fresh, but not more than 1/2 tsp.)
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
for the salad:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 zucchini, cut into spears (more if small)
- 1 yellow squash, cut into spears (more if small)
- 1 medium-sized onion, red or sweet, sliced into rings
- 1 whole bell pepper, red, yellow, or orange, sliced
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Dash of oregano, to taste
- 1 cup of orzo, cooked per instructions
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp of crumbled feta (I used 1/4 cup)
- Handful of kalamata olives, sliced (optional)
- Combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a small bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat a large grill pan over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
- Slice the vegetables then drizzle the olive oil over them and season them with oregano, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Toss to coat evenly.
- Place vegetables on the hot grill pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until tender. The onion and bell peppers may take longer than the zucchini and squash. Set the vegetables aside to cool before dicing.
- Cook the orzo in salted water per instructions, then drain well. Pour the cooked orzo into a large bowl.
- Add the diced grilled vegetables, fresh parsley, feta cheese, and olives (if using) to the orzo.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette onto the mixture then toss to coat evenly (you may not need all of the vinaigrette). Taste and re-season if needed. Serve immediately and enjoy.