February 7, 2015

Greek-Inspired Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Greek Inspired Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Feta

This Greek-inspired pasta salad is so simple and easy to make. It's light and flavorful, with the Mediterranean flavors of lemon, oregano and feta cheese - just perfect as either a side dish, or as a main meal. I like to serve it alongside some pan-grilled chicken for an easy supper.

Now, being that it is winter, I will admit that I have taken some liberties with my choice of vegetables. Zucchini, tomatoes and bell peppers aren't exactly winter vegetables in most parts of the United States. They are in-season right now in parts of Florida, so you may have a chance of at least buying some that have been grown domestically. If you find that the fresh vegetables are too expensive right now at your market, of if you have some objection to buying vegetables out of season, just go ahead and substitute frozen veggies. You can can actually buy frozen blends of zucchini, peppers and onions that would be perfect for this recipe.

 As for the tomatoes, I actually find that the grape and cherry tomatoes are fairly decent in the winter (as opposed to some of the cardboard-like slicing varieties that can be purchased in the winter.) You can also just leave out the tomatoes, or substitute some sun-dried tomatoes. 

Greek Inspired Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Feta


Recipe
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the Salad
8 ounces orzo pasta
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 small sweet onion (red or yellow), sliced into thin wedges
1 medium zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½  teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

2. While the veggies roast, cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and set aside and allow to cool slightly.

3. Prepare the dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.

4. Assemble the salad by tossing the orzo together with the roasted veggies, the dressing, and the crumbled feta. Season to taste, then serve. 



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