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mediterranean diet Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad summer pasta salad

Are you craving a delicious and nutritious Mediterranean dish? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore an easy-to-make recipe that combines the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean with wholesome ingredients. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with the Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad, featuring orzo, chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, chickpeas, red onions, black olives, and feta cheese.

Introduction

The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its health benefits, promoting heart health, weight management, and overall well-being. This Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad perfectly embodies the essence of Mediterranean cuisine, packed with fresh vegetables, protein-rich chickpeas, and the tangy richness of feta cheese. It’s a versatile recipe that can be enjoyed as a light lunch, a refreshing side dish, or even a main course. So, let’s dive into the details of this delightful dish that will transport your taste buds to the sunny shores of Greece.

FAQs about Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad

1. Can I make this salad in advance?

Absolutely! This Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad is perfect for meal prep. You can prepare it a day in advance and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. Just remember to give it a good stir before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Can I substitute any ingredients?

Certainly! The beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility. Feel free to customize it to your liking. If you’re not a fan of black olives, you can omit them or substitute with Kalamata olives instead. You can also add other vegetables like artichoke hearts, spinach, or roasted eggplant, for extra flavor and nutrition.

Is this recipe suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

This Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad is vegetarian-friendly. However, it does contain feta cheese, which is made from cow’s milk. If you’re following a vegan diet, you can omit the feta cheese or substitute it with a vegan cheese alternative.

Can I use whole wheat orzo instead of regular orzo?

Absolutely! Whole wheat orzo is a nutritious alternative to regular orzo. It contains more fiber and nutrients while still providing the same great taste and texture. Feel free to use whichever variety you prefer or have on hand.

How long does this salad stay fresh?

When stored properly in an airtight container.

Ingredients

To create this mouthwatering Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad, gather the following ingredients:

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta (1 ¼ cup dry)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest (about 2 tablespoons juice)
  • ¼ cup minced shallot or red onion
  • 1/2 English cucumber (2 cups diced, or substitute a peeled standard cucumber)
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar or ½ fresh red bell pepper (½ cup diced)
  • 10-15 Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
  • ⅓ cup chopped mint
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • ⅓ cup Kalamata olives, halved

Dressing-Wisk in a separate bowl

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper

Recipe

Now that we have all the ingredients ready, let’s start preparing this delectable Greek Orzo & Vegetable Salad. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions. Check the orzo a few minutes before the set time on the package. Make sure that the orzo does not get overcooked. It should be ‘al dente’, chewy, but with a little firm in the center. When it’s done, drain it and rinse it under cold water until it comes to room temperature. Set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, chickpeas, red onions, black olives, and crumbled feta cheese.
  3. Add the cooked and cooled orzo pasta to the bowl and gently toss all the ingredients together.
  4. For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in a separate small bowl.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients evenly.
  6. Allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  7. Serve chilled and enjoy!