To commemorate, I’m providing this recipe for a delicious, vivacious orzo salad. It is brimming with tastes from the Mediterranean, including Kalamata olives, feta crumbles, toasted almonds, and juicy orange.
Although I don’t use oranges as frequently as I do lemon and lime, this salad serves as a good reminder to use those quiet, sweet oranges while they’re in season.
A lesson in pasta salads was also included in this orzo salad. initial lesson? To prevent the pasta from becoming sticky and uneven, it must be rinsed right away after cooking. The salad gains body while maintaining a reasonable oil content when some of the starchy boiling water is added to the dressing.
So that tastes can mingle and the pasta can soak up some of the moisture, let the salad marinade for at least 10 minutes. It doesn’t taste all that special until after a short period of repose, at which point it tastes amazing. Believe me!
Simply leave out the portions about raisins or olives if you dislike them. Even though I prefer it best as described, the salad still functions great without them. To make this salad vegan, simply omit the feta. Whatever way you prepare it, it is delicious.
The deli salad at a nearby grocery store called Hen House served as the model for this salad. Which implies that it travels nicely for lunch (and I assume picnics) and keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.
Also read: Sunshine Salad Dressing
- 8 ounces of orzo made with whole wheat (I used DeLallo brand)
- 1/2 cup of raw almonds
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- half a cup of pitted Kalamata olives
- Green onions, cut to a cup
- 12 cup golden, preferably, raisins
- 12 cup feta cheese crumbles (optional)
- 1/8 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and 1 teaspoon of orange zest (from 1 to 2 oranges, preferably organic)
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
- White wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons
- 1 medium clove of chopped or crushed garlic
- 4 grains of salt
- black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- Boiling water with salt in a big pot. Continually follow the instructions on the orzo container to cook it until al dente. Save around 12 cup of the pasta boiling water before draining. Orzo should be drained and rinsed under cold running water as soon as possible until it is no longer heated. Good drainage
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until aromatic and beginning to turn golden on the edges. Chop the almonds after moving them to a cutting board.
- Combine the cooked orzo, chopped almonds, parsley, olives, green onions, raisins, and feta in a sizable serving bowl (if using).
- Combine the orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Stir add 1/4 cup of the pasta boiling water that was set aside.
After adding the dressing, toss the salad to incorporate. At first glance, there may seem to be too much clothing, but relax. To taste, add pepper to the dish.
- To give the orzo salad time to absorb the dressing, let it sit for at least 10 minutes (or up to several hours in the fridge). Serve after adding more salt, if desired, to taste. For up to four days, leftovers store well in the refrigerator.