Greek Orzo Salad
I know pasta has this whole sigma with it, but I am an Italian girl, and I refuse to kick pasta to the curb! I grew up in a house that had pasta for dinner at least once a week, so life without it just seems unfair. Pasta can actually be very good for you. It is a great vehicle for any flavors you can think of, and can be loaded up with veggies.
Greek salads are one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant, but I never really think to make them at home. I have been into making food ahead of time, and having my fridge stocked up with easy, quick meals, so the thought of merging Greek salad and pasta together seemed like a match made in heaven.
This salad is light and full of texture and flavor! I love the acidic bite from the tomatoes, the tanginess from the red onions, and crunch from the cucumbers. To round out the background flavors, I add in lemon juice (of course), red wine vinegar (for bite), and lovely rich olive oil. All this mixed with the comforting flavor of pasta and a creamy/tangy bite of feta, creates a perfect dish.
This make ahead salad is great for party prep and weekly meal prep. My husband likes to pack it up for work, because he can add chicken to it if he wants the protein.
Tips for perfect Greek Orzo Salad
*Make sure not to overcook the pasta! You want the pasta to be al dente, or have just a little bite to it.
*Make sure the water the pasta is cooking in is well salted....salty like the sea! This creates the flavor that you need to prevent it from being bland.
*I like to add in some of the red wine vinegar and lemon juice while the pasta is still hot. It soaks in the flavors a bit better. Then, I add in the rest once the pasta has cooled.
*Use good olive oil if you can! Since the olive oil is being added for flavor, you want to try and use a good one.
* Allow the pasta to cool before adding in the veggies. You don't want the veggies to lose any crunch, or the cheese to melt.
*Add more of anything you like!! I like lots of lemon juice, so I added more than what is in the recipe. Feel free to do whatever you like to adapt the recipe to the taste you like. Add olives, capers, chicken, anything!
*Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and the pasta salad should last about a week.
Greek Orzo Salad
1 lb orzo pasta
5-6 teaspoons red wine vinegar
the juice from 1-2 lemons
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large (or two small) cucumber, cut into cubes
1 red onion, thinly diced; if you aren't a huge red onion fan, then just use half of the the red onion
1/2-1 cup feta cheese; crumbled
1/2-1 cup parsley, chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a good amount of salt to flavor the water
Add in the pasta, and cook until al dente (so the pasta has a little bite to it)
Drain and place in a large bowl
Mix in the juice from half of a lemon and two or three teaspoons of the red wine vinegar, about 1/4 cup olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt; mix well
Allow the pasta to cool
Mix in the red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley
Mix well, and then add in the rest of the red wine vinegar, as much lemon juice as you like, and enough olive oil to flavor the pasta and help to prevent the pasta from sticking together
Mix well again, and then fold in the crumbled feta
Serve room temp, or place in the fridge to cool and serve cold