Tuesday, August 7, 2012

summer orzo salad

Most of our friends and family are enjoying summer back home or in some other sunny place right now.  The cold nights and dreary rainy season days here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia have me feeling homesick for root beer, grilled salmon and Popsicle. I guess you could say I'm missing a real American summer.  There has been a lot of hearty soups for dinner lately because when it's cold I want something belly warming.  It just doesn't feel like the right weather for light summer meals!
My mind body and soul needed something summery yesterday so I pulled together this light refreshing summer orzo salad.  It was colorful and cool with fresh parsley.  It paired perfectly with our paprika roasted chicken.  It might have been cold outside but it was summer on our dinner table.  Orzo is so versatile.  Have you ever cooked with it?

Summer Orzo Salad
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
1 small white or red onion diced finely
1 tomato seeded and diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
1 small zucchini diced
1 1/2 cups roasted broccoli (you can use uncooked broccoli too.  In Ethiopia we have to cook our broccoli well before eating)
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

Red wine vinaigrette (adapted from here)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (minus the oil).  Using a whisk or fork incorporate the oil at the end by pouring it in slowly and whisking quickly.  You certainly could do this in a blender or food processor if you wanted to.

The salad is super easy.  Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 6-7 minutes for al dente orzo.  Drain the water and pour the pasta in a large bowl.  Dice all your vegetables in very small cubes and add to the pasta. (you can dice them in advance as well)  Leave the roasted broccoli in florets   Add the red wine vinaigrette and stir.  Top with a sprig of fresh parsley and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The great thing about this salad is that you could add any combination of fresh vegetables that you have on hand.  Kalamata olives, Feta, basil, corn, spinach...the list goes on.  Whatever you put in it, this salad will give you an instant burst of summer on your table.

Note: if you are curious about the paprika roasted chicken I cut up a whole bone in chicken (skin removed) and lightly dredged it in a flour/garlic powder/salt/paprika mixture (heavy on the paprika).  Place the dredged chicken on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast at 375 for about 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy in the middle.

Not bad for a healthy kid friendly dinner!

1 comment:

Prince said...
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