Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

I could eat bowl after bowl after bowl of this orzo salad. It's got a salty yet creamy flavor, a nice balance of texture: crunchy, slippery, chewy, crumbled, and a beautiful color scheme.

You know those specialty markets that sell prepared "gourmet food?" Yeah, any little market or deli like Whole Foods (or the Bay Area's Pasta Shop, Market Hall, Mill Valley Market)...Most of these markets sell some version of an orzo salad, and I will almost always buy some; I simply can't resist!

What is orzo anyway? Orzo literally translates to "barley" in Italian. It looks like rice but is actually a pasta made of hard wheat semolina.

I love to make salads and throw practically anything and everything I possibly can into them. This orzo salad is indeed very versatile, throw in what you have on-hand in the fridge or pantry! Experiment and get creative!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad
adapted from me eating this salad at any and every specialty market

  • orzo
  • garbanzo beans
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • fresh spinach
  • cherry tomatoes (if in season)
  • fresh basil, either whole or cut into a chiffonade
  • feta cheese (omit if you want this salad to be vegan)
  • chopped or slivered almonds


1. Boil water. Once it starts to boil, salt it. Salt it like an ocean. Pour in the orzo and cook until it is done. Drain. (Optional: reserve some of the pasta water in case you want to add it back later if the orzo sticks together).
2. Combine orzo, and rest of the ingredients. Stir it all up and eat! Simple as that.

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