This recipe is an old stand-by in the Adami Hasegawa home. I think it’s particularly delicious in the summer, but it sounded good last night so we made it. (Or, I should say Naoto made it…my contribution was scanning the pantry and creating the grocery list to eliminate the inevitable trip back to the grocery store!)
The recipe is inspired by this one from Giada De laurentis, but we added a cucumber and cheese (who wouldn’t?) and changed out the herbs because we both love parsley in the salad instead of the mint and basil. Basil tends to brown over time, so the parsley keeps the salad looking fresh for leftovers or for parties. No one wants a wilty brown salad at a party.
Greek Orzo Salad
4c chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth or just plain water)
1 can garbanzo beans (15oz)
1.5c grape tomatoes, sliced in half (we used a few tiny yellow tomatoes, too)
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 English cucumber, seeds removed, chopped
1c crumbled feta (or more)
3/4c chopped flat leaf parsley
In a covered saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the orzo and cook (partially covered) for about 7 minutes, until the orzo is al dente. Strain the orzo and transfer it into a large serving bowl and toss to cool. While the orzo is cooking and cooling, you can prepare the rest of the salad: strain and rinse the garbanzo beans, slice the tomatoes and chop the onion, cucumber and parsley.
Once the orzo is cooled, you can toss in the vegetables, beans, parsley and cheese and toss gently to mix. (Make sure the orzo is fully cooled, otherwise you will end up with one big chunk of feta melted together at the bottom…not that this ever happened to us!)
For the vinaigrette:
1/2c red wine vinegar
1/4c fresh lemon juice
1c olive oil
In a blender, mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and pepper. Then, drizzle in the olive oil while the blender is running and blend until emulsified. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Add the vinaigrette to your salad and toss to coat. As the salad sits, it will soak up the vinaigrette (so if things look a little soupy at first, don’t worry!) This salad tastes best served at room temperature, making it great for parties. It’s also delicious chilled, leftover the next day.
A couple of notes:
Cooking the orzo in broth really does add a layer of flavor to this recipe, but if you’re on a budget or in a pinch (or a vegan), water works just fine here.
Vegan? Switch out the broth (water or vegetable broth), the feta and the honey.
An addition of a yellow pepper would be delicious in here, too, for a little more crunch and color!