May 17, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Pre-Recipe: Greek Orzo Salad

I've been on a wedding-planning-induced blogging hiatus. I miss PumpkinProse, and will be glad to get back to it with a hungry tummy and the time to do so. It will be June 13th by the time we're married, back from our honeymoon, and done with this haze of nuptial craziness.

On Memorial Day weekend, when everyone else is breaking out their grills and filling the air with the mesmerizing aroma of charred burgers, M and I will be walking down the aisle!

By the time we join normal humanity again, we're going to be long overdue for a BBQ. I can't wait! So I want to share with you one of my favorite sides for an outdoor barbecue or picnic. It's a cool, crisp, and brightly colored Greek orzo salad. Full of fresh vegetables, tangy hunks of feta cheese, and oh-so salty kalamata olives, it's a side that everyone is going to gravitate to.

It's so loved that I have to make huge quantities of it, like this. It's gone in a flash.

I hope you have the chance to make this before I do, and especially on Memorial Day weekend. On May 29th, while I'm wearing a wedding dress, everyone else will be prepping for barbecues! Even though Memorial Day weekend will look a bit different for me this year, I plan to make up for it quickly when I return. Thanks for hanging in 'till I do. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do!

1 lb orzo
2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
1 jar sliced kalamata olives, drained, juice reserved
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 lb fresh feta cheese, cubed

Dressing: Whisk 1 T. Dijon mustard, juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Directions: Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain well and rinse until cool. Toss with the remaining ingredients, then toss with the dressing. If necessary, add more olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste, as well as 1 T. at a time of the kalamata olive juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature. Tastes great the next day, too!

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