Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This pasta salad can be prepared in minutes, is full of healthy ingredients and has a Mediterranean lemon and olive oil dressing, so tastes wonderfully fresh and light.

The small, rice shaped pasta only takes around 8 to 10 minutes to cook and makes the perfect base to which to add a mixture of grilled, marinated or salad vegetables. If you prefer a more protein packed salad, you could also add some soft cubed cheese, like Feta or cooked chicken, ham or fish.

This is the type of dish which improves as it cools and the ingredients absorb the lovely lemon dressing. Should you have any leftover, it will taste even better the following day.

What is Orzo?

Orzo means “small barley” in Italian but despite its appearance, it is not a grain but a type of pasta, used mainly in soups.

RECIPE

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of dried orzo pasta (around 360 grams)
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper – (see recipe for caramelised peppers for method) or if you prefer simply use a ready made mixed pepper salad sold in jars.
  • 1 small leek (use the white section, halved and finely sliced) or use a Spring onion instead.
  • 4 grilled artichoke hearts, chopped into quarters ( I used the type which come in a jar ready grilled and are marinaded in olive oil. I then used the olive oil dressing for the salad as it contained extra herbs and seasoning.)
  • stoned olives (add as many as you like)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • salt

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbspn of extra virgin olive oil ( or use from the artichoke jar)
  • 2-3 tbspns of lemon juice

Method

  1. Cook orzo according to packet instructions and season with the salt.
  2. Drain thoroughly and while the pasta is still warm, add the cooked peppers, sliced white leek, chopped artichokes, olives and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Add the lemon and olive oil dressing and toss well.
  4. Allow to cool before serving.
  5. Enjoy!

Did you know? There are around 350 types of pasta, almost one variety for every day of the year!

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