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Grecian Orzo Salad

Everyone loves a good pasta salad. They are usually the most popular side dish at pot luck events, and they are perfect leftovers. Penne and Fusili are popular shapes for a pasta salad, but my favorite  is a less common type of pasta – orzo!

We met a lovely couple last summer at our favorite camp. The talented husband played guitar for Dan, and his sweet wife and I hit it off with many things in common, including the fact that we both have two boys and we both do our best to feed them real, whole healthy foods. They had us over to lunch one day and served us a summer feast, including ribs, corn on the cob and this amazing pasta salad. Now, I’m usually not one for fresh dill – or olives, but this salad certainly converted my tastebuds! I went back for seconds…and possibly even thirds! I love that it’s light and flavorful, and it’s the perfect pairing to many types of meat or fish. Or, as my mama would do (and has done), team it up with a couple other salads for a vegetarian delight. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a tough time saving some for a side dish, because you’ll start noshing on it directly from the mixing bowl!

 

Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

 

1 C orzo pasta

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

3/4 C finely diced red bell pepper

1/3 C kalamata olives, pitted and quartered

2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)

1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves

 

In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil . Add the pasta and cook until al dente, following package instructions. Drain and place in a bowl. Add the vinaigrette. Wait until mostly cooled, and then mix in the remaining ingredients. Toss together and serve right away. (I like to sprinkle the top with a bit more chopped dill as a garnish)

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