Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds and herbs: the Mediterranean diet offers health, sustainability and also a wide variety of tastes and textures. Nutritious and delicious at the same time, Mediterranean meals are not about one, but all the countries in the area coming together in one dish.
What is Orzo?
If you have never heard of it, orzo is a short-cut pasta which is shaped like a long grain of rice. This white flour vegan pasta comes in several types and shapes, there is even a gluten free orzo which can also be an option for the recipe. Whatever the shape, this pasta is the perfect match for a flavor packed and fresh salad, even a vegan one. If you’re a fan of meal-prep, orzo is also a good option as you can cook it ahead and store it for a couple of days in your fridge until the moment of serving.
Orzo salad is a typical Mediterranean delight and, as the main title goes, this is just one of the many healthy options this colorful and healthy cuisine has to offer. Like any salad, it can come together in just a few minutes and this one in particular goes with almost any other dish you may want: chicken, meat or you can even have it as the main dish.
Next you’ll find a list of must-have ingredients, but don’t be afraid of trying it out and making your own version of it by adding many other veggies and seasonings.
Orzo Salad and Dressing
- 2 cups of orzo.
- 1 cup of sliced cucumber.
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes.
- ½ cup of chopped green onions.
- ½ cup of chopped bell pepper.
- ½ cup of sliced olives.
- ½ cup of pine nuts.
- ½ cup of feta cheese
- ½ cup of chopped parsley.
- ½ cup of chopped dill.
- 1 tbsp of salt.
- ¼ tbsp of black pepper.
- 4 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 clove of garlic.
- ½ tbsp of oregano flavor.
- Feta cheese.
Preparation – Salad:
- In a medium size pot, put water to a boil and pour two cups of orzo. Let it cook following the instructions in the package.
- Take the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half to bring some juice to the salad. Place them in a big bowl.
- Take the bell pepper, cut around the core, slice it up and chop it in small cubes. Place that together with the tomatoes.
- Take the orzo out of the heat, drain it and run it under water one time. This will prevent the past from clumping together. Let it cool down a little.
- Take two or three green onions and chop them, use both the green and white part. Do the same with the cucumber.
- Add both chopped veggies to the bowl.
- If orzo is cool enough, incorpore it as well.
- Now take the fresh parsley and chop it down. You can trim part of the stem, but not all of it as it contains part of the flavor.
- As for the dill, cut the stem off and add the chopped leaves to the bowl.
- Now add the sliced olives and pine nuts to the mix.
- Cut the feta cheese in small cubes, add it and mix all the ingredients together.
Preparation – Dressing:
- Squeeze the juice of two fresh lemons and mix that with ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil. You can also zest the lemon.
- Use a clove of garlic and chop it really small. Add it to the mix.
- Season the juice with some oregano, add salt and black pepper at taste.
- Whisk and pour the mix all over the salad.
- You can use English cucumbers which are seedless and sweeter. If you cook this in advance, leave them for the last minute before serving as they are a watery vegetable.
- No need to let the orzo to reach room temperature. The warmth will allow it to absorb all the taste coming from the rest of the ingredients.
- If you want to go all the way down the vegan road, you can use tofu-based feta cheese.
- As a main dish, this recipe serves four people. As a side dish, it could serve up to eight people.
A versatile, nourishing, colorful and diverse meal, isn’t that what people would want on their table?