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Cold Orzo Greek Summer Salad

This salad can be served room temperature or cold. That's the beauty of the dressing. Change up the vegetables and cheeses to your liking for your family and BBQ's. I make the entire pound of pasta for it makes a great lunch the next day.  Make this salad year around using root vegetables, broccoli,  cauliflower, but make sure to steam or roast them first before adding to the salad.

Course Salad
Cuisine California Greek
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. orzo, cooked
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes or Parmesan cheese
  • 5-6 leaves fresh basil, torn
  • 1/2 cup pitted whole Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used a garlic infused) or more
  • 1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar or more
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir several times. Cook until almost ready, al dente. (see package instructions) Remove and strain. Rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl and cool.

  2. Mix the olive oil and vinegar into the pasta while still warm and let it sit as you prepare the vegetables. This allows the dressing to soak up into the pasta.

  3. Cut all the vegetables and add to the pasta. Add the cheese and basil before serving, this will help it from crumbling and also keeping the basil green. If using green beans, cauliflower, or broccoli you may want to steam them until tender before adding to the salad.

  4. When you have the pasta ready, refrigerate it overnight or for a couple of hours. Taste again for salt and pepper. Add more dressing if needed. 

Recipe Notes

Use any soft vegetable you may have in your refrigerator. Add zucchini, corn, radishes, green beans, baby tomatoes, and celery. Change out the feta for Parmesan, goat cheese or any hard cheese. Use dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, dill or basil, if fresh ones are not available.