This salad travels well

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With summer drawing to a close and getting ready for back-to-school, I’m reminded there is still one more big summer holiday to celebrate. A lot of us will celebrate Labor Day with family gatherings and picnics.

If you’re in need of a quick-and-easy dish to take to that final summer picnic this salad is it! This is a salad doesn’t need constant refrigeration, the majority of people will ea it and like it, and it’s a dish you can take in a reusable container that you can leave with the host (no clean-up for you)!

For the past several years our go-to take-along dish has been a pasta salad recipe that the old guy found in one of his cooking magazines. It’s done well by us, but I was tired of it and looking for something a little different.

So, we’re coming back from the casino one afternoon and I knew I needed a dish for an upcoming potluck I would be attending. I remembered that I had three boxes of orzo in the pantry; that’s because I never cook it. It’s not one of my favorite pasta styles and I don’t like it in soups. It comes with the three pack that we buy at Costco so it just seems to accumulate in the pantry.

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I got out the phone and started surfing recipes while he was driving. I keyed in orzo recipe and tons came up. I scrolled through till I found this one from The Pioneer Woman. It was easy, plus I had most ingredients at home.

Let me tell you, everyone loved this salad including me and the old guy! There were very little leftovers and I found that to actually be disappointing. Everyone continues to ask for the recipe when I take it somewhere and we haven’t tired of it yet – I’ve made it at least four times this summer! Give it a try, and let me know what you think. It’s a crowd pleaser!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad (from The Pioneer Woman)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 whole lemon, juiced (it’s so much better with fresh rather than jar)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces orzo (I used the entire box), cooked, drained and cooled
1 cup red grape or cherry tomatoes (I used the mixed heirloom organic package)
1 cup yellow grape or cherry tomatoes (see above, they added lots of color)
1 cup Kalamata olives, halved
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 whole red onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley ( I used cilantro to add a kick)

Preparation: in a jar or bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper until totally combined (I used my stick blender, did a nice job).

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Place the orzo and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Stir to mix, taste and adjust seasonings; refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Top with more feta and parsley.

This is a great side dish or main dish salad. Make it a meal and serve with grilled chicken, fish or burgers (we like it with meatballs).

About Linda Neff 8 Articles
Linda Neff is co-owner of Green Door Studio, Brighton where she flips furniture, offers custom furniture painting, and teaches classes in mixed-media, scrapbooking, art journaling and more. Visit her blog: http://linda-neff.com/