Orzo Salad w/ Summer Vegetables


When my mom suggested we go see an outdoor modern ballet, my first thought was....what amazing picnic food are we going to make?

For years I've heard my mom express her dislike for pasta salads and I was determined to change her mind. I thought about the delicious summer ingredients that were in season, and became inspired to make this pasta salad.

Needless to say, my mother's view on pasta salads has COMPLETELY done a 180...at least her view on my version of pasta salad. ;)

The ingredients that we chose, tomatoes, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, basil, parsley, feta and toasted pine nuts, complimented each other so well. The great thing about pasta salad though, is that you can use pretty much anything you have on hand - for both the dressing and the salad.

This dish will hopefully become one of your go-to summer favorites.

ORZO SALAD W/ SUMMER VEGETABLES

INGREDIENTS

Salad

8 oz. gluten-free or regular orzo

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered and lightly salted

1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 cup julienned basil

2 tablespoons parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing

2 tablespoons finely diced shallot

1/3 cup champagne vinegar

3/4 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the orzo to package instructions. Be sure to stir when first adding so it doesn't stick together. Cook al dente or until it still has a bite so it holds up in the salad. Refrigerate until cool.

2. Add all the ingredients in the dressing to a mason jar and shake to combine. Set aside.

3. Add all of the chopped vegetables to a bowl with the cooled orzo. Pour over 3/4 of the dressing and mix to combine. Add the feta, pine nuts, parsley, salt, pepper, and basil and toss to combine as well.

4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. If the pasta has absorbed all the dressing and you want it to be a less dry, add the rest of the dressing.


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