Orzo Salad

It’s summer and time for a lighter meal. This salad is great to serve on a warm night when you just don’t feel like taking the time to cook a full dinner.

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta. As with other pastas, you boil it to a cooked, but still firm state. One of the things I will often do a little different when cooking orzo, is boil it in a stock instead of salted water.

For example, if I am going to add chicken to this dish, I will cook the orzo in chicken stock. If it is going to be a vegetable salad, I would use a vegetable stock or a mushroom broth. Follow the same idea if you are going to add seafood. This will enhance the dish with more flavor. Think of the way you would use different stocks when making a risotto to go with your ingredients and that is same idea you can use with the orzo.

Also, as is always the case, feel free to add, subtract or substitute other ingredients according to your tastes. This salad is light in the sense that the ingredients light vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, corn and red onion. I also like to add mint and basil, which are my favorite salad herbs.

With this in mind, I use a lighter vinaigrette. If I was adding broccoli or using tarragon or adding some type of meat or seafood, then I might go for a little more robust vinaigrette. Whether you follow this recipe or use it as a guide, give it a try and enjoy.

Oh, and just in case it cools down next week, this is also good warm.

Orzo Salad

1 C orzo
3½ C broth
1½ C corn, cut off the cob or frozen
½ pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded & cut into small chunks
½ small red onion, sliced
¼ bunch basil, chopped
¼ bunch mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the orzo and cool with cold water. Mix all the ingredients and top with a raspberry walnut or lemon vinaigrette.