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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Orzo Salad Recipe, Other Attempts at Italian Food

I've said it before, but I really appreciate that G knows what he likes. Even though I do most of the cooking for us, a lot of it is influenced by him - by meals he has eaten that he'd like re-created, by foods he likes but could be better, by flavors he likes, or sometimes simply by stuff on Kitchen Nightmares (the "After," not the gross melty "Before" stuff!). I also appreciate how calm and cool-headed he can be when I'm...not.
So while I panicked and froze up trying to come up with something to make for the dinner party, G simply said, "Orzo salad." And so it was. Not having tasted whatever it was that orzo salad called to mind for him, I looked up pasta salad recipes, read a little about orzo and kind of just hounded him for information. We came up with a pasta dish that also incorporates a protein for something really filling that tastes good and is perfect for a dinner party, or anything where you want a make-ahead dish.

Orzo Salad, serves about 8-10

1 c orzo pasta, dry
1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 TBS olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 c cooked small white beans (about half a 15 oz. can)
1 bunch asparagus
1 7 oz. jar of marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
5 oz. jarred pitted Kalamata olives, drained and chopped
3-4 TBS chopped fresh basil
2-3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

-Cook 1 cup dry orzo pasta according to directions on box (I'm pretty sure it's just double the amount of water). Drain, rinse with cold water and set into a large serving dish.
-Dice garlic and toss with olive oil in pasta, juice the lemon taking care to keep the pits out! Set dish aside to cool.
-Meanwhile, chop your bunch of asparagus and steam until bright green and tender. Rinse in cold water and drain. Add to pasta.
-Add in artichokes and olives, basil and parsley.
-Salt and pepper to taste. Add more olive oil or lemon juice if necessary to coat.
-Serve cold. This tastes best the next day when the flavors have marinated.

With the leftover beans, I added protein to my lunch salad today:

And with the leftover basil, I OF COURSE made pesto! (My basic recipe for that is basil, spinach, walnuts (or pine nuts, which I actually have but I'm too stingy to use), olive oil, salt, lemon juice, garlic, and nutritional yeast.) G mixed the pesto into the leftover orzo salad for dinner and said it was great. I'm still working on using up the collards so I made a raw Italian-y-ish collard wrap. Keeping in mind I'm Irish and have no idea what to do in the realm of Italian food, I put the pesto in my wrap along with red pepper, tomatoes, spinach, and olives.


  1. Yum! Pasta salads are great for parties, and orzo is so classy. Looks like you made some amazing food from it.

  2. Your orzo salad looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing the great recipe!!!

  3. I've had a bag of orzo in my cabinet for a couple of months now just waiting to be used. I think I may need to try your orzo salad recipe(minus the olives...bleh). :o)
    You and G make a perfect team!

  4. I really like orzo pasta salads :)

  5. How many people have had the roofs of their mouths bloodied by your blasted toothpicks?

  6. Thanks, Dianne. The class of the orzo hopefully overshadowed the mismatched tableware at the dinner party ;)

    Aimee, the little asparagus tops were my favorite part!

    Michelle, I hope you like it. I love olives but artichokes are great in it too. Let me know what else you do with the orzo - I'm out of ideas!

    Leslie, how do you usually make them?

    Shen, I think just me, which is sad...since I'm the one who knows they're there.


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