Enjoy the genuine Mediterranean flavour with these orzo salads

 

Among the foods that this wide world offers, it is perhaps the Mediterranean cuisine that is most often talked about, and that is because of all the variety of delicious dishes that can leave everyone with a stomach roaring with hunger by just looking at it.

The icon status that Mediterranean cuisine possesses is its ability to combine flavours and freshness in a single dish, as is the case with its salads, which are nutritious and full of colour given their multiple ingredients. Those dishes could transport anyone to a beach in Greece or to a villa in Italy, with the salty sea air coming calmly.

One of the most ideal dishes is the orzo Mediterranean salad, which is great both hot and cold, and is perfect to serve with a barbecue dinner or to take to a barbecue, party or potluck.

How to identify a truly Mediterranean salad?

Because it is very fresh and tasty, it is a very quick and easy alternative for a party, for example, or simply the option of cooking something too elaborate is not a choice.

The Mediterranean salads have a thousand shapes and flavours. It could be said that they make the base for the traditional Mediterranean salad and after it, variants with more content have emerged.

The good thing about this type of salad is that it can accompany any fish or meat dish, it is a perfect choice given its lightness as well as being very adaptable.

What is orzo? And why is it so delicious

Before making this recipe it is important to know that it is one of the most incredible types of pasta that can be found. Since it is made from wheat semolina, it has a unique flavour, and its rice grain shape makes it appetising to eat too.

This ingredient of Italian origin is increasingly being incorporated into more recipes. In countries like Italy, it is very common -italians call it risone– and of course it is also used a lot in other Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece or Cyprus, and even in the Middle East: Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

Standard Orzo Mediterranean salad

The Mediterranean orzo salad is a simple yet unforgettable vegetarian side dish recipe that is bursting with fresh and spicy flavours.

Ingredients:

  • 170 g dry gluten-free or regular orzo pasta.
  • 60 g pitted Kalamata olives, sliced.
  • 150 g cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half.
  • 60 g chopped parsley.
  • 2 tbsp drained gluten-free capers.
  • 120 g feta cheese crumbled.

For the lemon dressing:

  • 1 tsp of honey.
  • 60 ml lemon juice.
  • 1 garlic clove grated or finely minced.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

Instructions:

  1. Cook the orzo pasta, until it is soft enough, so it can be then drained and let cool slightly.
  2. Now for the lemon dressing: combine the ingredients listed above in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, then shake to combine. Alternatively, you can put lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, and garlic in a food processor and then process them in olive oil while slowly drizzling. Put it aside.
  3. Place slightly cooled pasta with tomatoes, feta, olives, capers, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Drizzle with enough dressing to coat adequately, then toss. 
  5. Chill for 10-15 minutes before serving, then place additional dressing if needed.

Mediterranean orzo salad with anchovies

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 120 g of dry orzo pasta.
  • 100 g of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  • Capers.
  • Peppermint.
  • 1 can of anchovies.
  • Black olives.
  • 6 dried tomatoes.
  • 100 g of lettuce.

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:

  • Fine salt.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • White wine vinegar.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

Instructions:

  1. Toast the orzo with some olive oil in a pan until it gets slightly brownish. Then cook it in boiling water and drain it as usual.
  2. To prepare the vinaigrette: In a bowl, place 2 equal parts of oil, 50 ml, 1 part white wine vinegar, 25 ml, and just a little oil from the canned anchovies. Mix it all together.
  3. In another bowl chop the lettuce, anchovies, mozzarella cheese, and the mint. Then add the dried tomatoes, olives, and capers.
  4. Finally, incorporate minced garlic, and salt to taste and mix well again so all the ingredients are integrated. Mix the vinaigrette into the bowl with the ingredients.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette into the bowl with the ingredients. Reserve some mint leaves to decorate on top.
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