Earlier this year, I found myself in a jam and wound up in the Whole Foods prepared foods section. Desperate to quickly feed a crowd, I purchased a 5-pound container of the Greek Orzo Salad. At $9.99/pound, plus tax, this was not a cheap box of… pasta.
Really?! Fifty bucks for orzo?!
Months later, I was still irked that I had spent so much on a salad, and was determined to make my own version. I had hung onto the lid that listed the ingredients, and took that lid with me to the market. (Actually, I snapped an iPhone photo of that lid and took my phone with me to the market). The good news was that the ingredient list seemed straightforward: orzo, red onion, olives, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, rice wine vinegar, and feta cheese.
To be sure I was doing it right, I even went back to Whole Foods and purchased another half pound of the Greek Orzo Salad; my version would be identical, damnit!
In less than 30 minutes, I had it: a 3.1-pound bowl of Greek Orzo Salad. And it cost me $1.59/pound.
Notes: If you don’t have any of the below ingredients (peppers, tomatoes, onions, basil, spinach, etc.), don’t sweat it. Just go with what you have. Also, I find that the flavors are better the next day, after everything gets a chance to sit together.
- • 1 pound orzo pasta, cooked
- • 1 tablespoon olive oil
- • 1/8 red onion, finely chopped
- • ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
- • ¼ red bell pepper, finely chopped
- • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- • ½ cup packed spinach, chopped
- • 4 large basil leaves, chopped
- • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- • ½ of an 10.5-ounce box of Trader Joe’s sheep’s milk authentic feta cheese in brine (blue box), chopped into small cubes
- • Salt and pepper, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and add from there)
- Minutes 1-20: Cook and drain orzo according to package directions.. Immediately after draining orzo, rinse orzo in the colander for 15 seconds with cold water (to wash off the extra starch). Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir with a spoon to prevent the orzo from sticking/clumping together. Let orzo sit in colander over bowl/sink and let cool for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile:
- Minutes 5-20: Prepare/chop red onion, kalamata olives, red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and basil leaves. Combine together in a large serving bowl.
- Minute 21: Pour orzo into the same large serving bowl and add rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Minute 22: Stir/toss and serve immediately.
If you have non-feta eaters or vegans at the table, serve the feta on the side.
Source: Rustic Garden Bistro