Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a simple vegetarian side dish recipe that’s packed with fresh and zesty flavors.
Guess what? We’re hittin’ the 50s later this week – whee!
I know I sound like a broken record, and have inaccurately predicted this about 16 times in the past 2 months, but this time I think the warmer (ish) weather is here to stay. That said, when Ben and I got married on April 5, 2008 there was a freak snow storm 3 days beforehand, so who really knows.
Anyway, if the weather holds up over the next couple of weeks I’m thinking about breaking out the grill for the season. Next week we’ll be in Charleston, but the week after that – STEAKS. Or something. Ugh, I just need a dish with that flame-kissed flavor. Sizzling, and slightly charred – you know what I’m talking about!
The thought of grilling season has me dreaming of picnic and BBQs recipes, so I whipped up this awesome little side dish to serve at any spring or summer get together – Mediterranean Orzo Salad.
This simple, orzo-based side dish is packed with the fresh and zesty flavors of tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, capers, fresh parsley, and a zingy Lemon Dressing, plus it’s great warm or cold.
This is the perfect side to serve with grilled chicken, fish, or steak. Totally addicting, too, so grab a fork and a friend and get ready to dig in!
How to Make Mediterranean Orzo Salad:
Start the Mediterranean Orzo Salad with 6oz orzo (gluten-free if you need it!) which is pasta that kind of looks like rice. It’s a great little shape for side dishes! Cook the orzo in salted, boiling water until al dente, then drain and set aside to cool off for a bit.
Meanwhile, whip up the Lemon Dressing that will dress the pasta salad. First add 1/4 cup lemon juice and lots of salt and pepper into a food processor or bowl, then add 1 teaspoon honey, and 1 clove garlic (minced if you’re going the bowl/whisk route). Process or whisk while slowly drizzling in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Taste then add more salt and pepper if necessary, and then set aside. You could definitely make this ahead of time, FYI!
Next, to a large bowl add 1-1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half. I can’t wait until I can pluck these babies right off the vines in my garden. Last summer I planted two Sweet 100 plants and was harvesting 20+ super-sweet cherry tomatoes PER DAY at the height of the season!
Next add 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced into rings.
Followed by 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.
Next add 1/4 cup chopped parsley (also a garden staple!)
and 2 Tablespoons capers. Just…yum.
Toss everything together with the cooked pasta and enough lemon dressing to coat then serve immediately or pop into the fridge until you’re ready to eat. I hope you love this light and flavor packed side dish recipe – enjoy!
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Mediterranean Orzo Salad is a simple vegetarian side dish recipe that's packed with fresh and zesty flavors.
- 6oz dry gluten free or regular orzo pasta
- 1-1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 Tablespoons gluten-free capers, drained
- For the Lemon Dressing:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- salt and pepper, lots
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cook pasta according to directions on package then drain and set aside to cool slightly.
- For the Lemon Dressing: combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and garlic in a food processor then process while slowly drizzling in olive oil. Taste then add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Combine cooked pasta with remaining ingredients then drizzle with enough dressing to coat. Toss then serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
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