Greek Orzo Salad

You know the Greek village salad: crisp cucumbers, tasty tomatoes, peppers, onions, and kalamata olives, all drizzled with olive oil, topped with oregano and feta cheese. With the same ingredients (and any add-ons you desire), you can make that same salad a little more filling just by adding orzo (manestra) to the mix. The result is, very simply, the Greek orzo salad, a memorable summer meal that’s full of flavor.

Making a Greek orzo salad is easy. Just chop the vegetables a bit smaller than you would for a regular Greek village salad, boil the orzo, then season, dress and toss. My tip is to go colorful with the vegetables because this dish can look like an artful masterpiece with the right combinations. For example, I add cherry and golden tomatoes along with red, yellow, and orange mini peppers to create extra pops of color that are only appealing to the eye, but the palette as well. Play around with what you like and make a Greek orzo salad masterpiece of your own. Just be sure to make plenty of it, because trust me—it will disappear quickly.

Ingredients:
-1 cup orzo (or pasta of your choice)
-1 cucumber, sliced
-1 cup cherry and golden tomatoes, halved
-¼ red onion, diced
-½ cup assorted mini peppers
-1 cup crumbled feta cheese
-½ cup pitted kalamata olives
-8 fresh basil leaves, lightly chopped
-½ cup extra virgin olive oil
-¼ cup red wine vinegar
-1 Tablespoon oregano
-1 Tablespoon Greek seasoning*

*Use salt and pepper if you don’t have Greek seasoning

Directions:
1. In a large pot, cook orzo according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water and drain the orzo. Add orzo to a large bowl.
2. Add all vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil and evenly mix in with the orzo.
3. Make the dressing by combining olive oil, vinegar, oregano and Greek seasoning into a bowl and whisk together.
4. Pour dressing over the orzo and mix well. Adjust for seasoning, adding more oregano or Greek seasoning if needed.
5. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before serving.

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