Thursday, May 18, 2017

Greek Orzo Salad and Warm Days Ahead

Can you believe that it's almost summer?
School's almost out, the weather is beautiful, and I'm ready for a few months of fun with the kids full of pool days and adventures.

As much as I love bundling up and being cozy in fall and winter, there's something about summer that just makes my soul sing.  I adore the feeling of the warm sun on my (sunscreen coated) skin.  I love spending time with my kids that doesn't involve packing school lunches and homework.  I love spending time with friends and family enjoying each other's company while my husband grills.

Which of course, is just another excuse for me to cook!

If you've been reading the blog for awhile you're probably already well aware of my affinity for fun side salads.

I suppose that my fondness for great sides makes sense as they're often paired with some kind of grilled meat- and I really just don't care for meat much.

The family?
They might as well be carnivores.
Just...not me.

While my husband may regularly find himself exasperated by my ambivalence towards his perfectly grilled meats, I'm generally more than happy to fill my plate with tasty sides- and summer gives me plenty of opportunities to make light and fresh salads to accompany his grilling masterpieces.

Take this Greek Orzo Salad, for example- light, fresh, absolutely exploding with flavor.
Easy to make, perfect for making a day or two ahead of time, and a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

An orzo base is mixed with artichoke hearts, red onion, feta, olives, tomato, and cucumber before being tossed with a flavorful vinaigrette.

What's not to love, right?

You've got it- nothing.

There is nothing not to love about this salad!

Enjoy!  :-)

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
2 (6 ounce) cans marinated artichoke hearts
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 (2 ounce) can black olives, drained
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Drain artichoke hearts.

2. In large bowl combine pasta, artichoke hearts, tomato, cucumber, onion, feta, olives, Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, parsley, lemon juice, oregano, and lemon pepper. Toss and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.

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