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Summer Orzo Salad

One of the things I love most about the abundance of fresh summer produce is getting creative with what’s in season. A pasta salad with veggies is an easy side to make and bring to a barbecue, serves many, and can be changed up with whatever appeals to you at the farmer’s market.

For this orzo salad I added zucchini and summer squash to the standard cherry tomatoes and also threw in chopped baby spinach for color and texture. With the requisite feta cheese and a zippy dressing, it is a winning combination. Make this salad your own with any kind of small pasta (ditalini? bowties?) and veggies (sugar snap peas? asparagus?).

This recipe makes a TON so you may consider halving it!

Summer Orzo Salad
Salad
1 lb. box of orzo
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large shallot
1 clove garlic
olive oil
1 8 oz. package crumbled feta cheese
* * *
Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper

*Cook orzo according to package directions; drain and pour into mixing bowl. Swirl a bit of olive oil over the orzo and mix to prevent the pasta from sticking together, then allow to cool (I put the pasta in the fridge to cool quickly.)
*Slice zucchini and summer squash into 1/4″ rounds and then quarter. Half or quarter tomatoes.
Chop shallot and mince garlic.
*In a saute pan, add olive oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmery, add zucchini, squash, tomatoes, shallots and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until shallot is tender. {Cooking the tomatoes is optional. I find uncooked onion and garlic to be too strong on the palate (and offensive to the breath!)   Since these vegetables (yes, garlic is a vegetable) mellow when cooked,  I like to give them a quick saute.)
*Allow veggies to cool while you prepare the dressing.
*Combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
*Add veggies and dressing to cooled orzo. Fold in feta cheese.
*Serve chilled.

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Jennifer L. Griffin

Thursday 12th of July 2012

I have some squash in the fridge right now and I think most of the other ingredients...must try this one! Perfect in this dreaded hot hot weather!

Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful}

Wednesday 11th of July 2012

I am totally making this recipe this week! I am a huge fan of orzo already so I'm completely sold that this is going to be delish! Thanks for the dinner inspiration!

cestMoi Sandy

Tuesday 10th of July 2012

I just love Orzo! We had Orzo just Sunday!Thanks for sharing.Have a great day!

Sandy

Andrea

Tuesday 10th of July 2012

This looks so yummy! It just might be on the menu tonight!

Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground

Monday 9th of July 2012

Looks fabulous, Lisa! I like all the colorful veggies. Have a great week!Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground