Whole Wheat Greek Orzo Salad
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Whole Wheat Greek Orzo Salad

My aunt, cousin, and I took an overnight trip to the coast last weekend that started with a day of wandering around beautiful Monterey and ended with a Mother’s Day 5K run through the artichoke fields of Castroville.  It was quite an adventure.

One of the many highlights of the trip was lunch at the adorable Red House Cafe in Pacific Grove where we sampled a variety of sandwiches and salads.  Our favorite was a lightly dressed orzo salad with fresh herbs – it was simple and delicious and I’ve been thinking about orzo ever since.  When I saw a bag of organic whole wheat orzo at Whole Foods yesterday I decided it was time to make an orzo salad of my own.

Whole Wheat Greek Orzo Salad
yield: approximately six servings

8 ounces whole wheat orzo pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 cup grape (or cherry) tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain pasta through a sieve, rinse with cold water, then allow to drain well again.  In a large bowl, toss pasta with olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Add remaining ingredients and toss well.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe notes:  You might try adding one or more of the following extra ingredients:  finely chopped red onion, red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, fresh chopped dill, or grated lemon zest.  These types of salads are endlessly adaptable – ingredient amounts can and should be changed to suit your own taste.  Taste, adjust, and enjoy!

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19 Comments
  1. Ruby

    ohhh, that looks good! I’ll have to try making it for a bbq side dish. One of our many upcoming bbq’s by the pool! ;-)

    12:47 pm  May 17th, 2010
  2. DessertForTwo

    Yum! I make a version of this with dill instead of mint and I leave out the olives. The longer it sits in the fridge-the better! Love that!
    Red House Cafe is amazing, huh?

    12:48 pm  May 17th, 2010
  3. Jane

    Yum, my kind of salad!

    2:12 pm  May 17th, 2010
  4. Sage & Style

    I love whole wheat orzo. I also love adding mint to salads lately. My husband asks me to make it as a side for his lunch all the time so I’ll swap this in for the next round!

    2:31 pm  May 17th, 2010
  5. kickpleat

    Sounds perfect and simple and I’ve got orzo at the ready! I love the idea of a greek inspired twist.

    2:52 pm  May 17th, 2010
  6. Kalyn

    Love the sound of this; in fact I recently got some whole wheat orzo and have been thinking of trying a recipe that’s similar to yours.

    6:03 pm  May 17th, 2010
  7. all things new. « the back burner

    [...] but wanted to eat something halfway decent. I decided on a whole wheat orzo salad, inspired by my favorite food blog. Due to my preferences/my wallet/the things I forgot and remembered at Kroger and had in my fridge, [...]

    6:55 pm  May 17th, 2010
  8. Jodi

    Thanks for this amazing recipe! It’s definitely going to make my summer grilling rotation. Can’t wait to try it out! The 5K run sounds amazing. I loved going to Watsonville every year to visit my Aunt, that area is beautiful!

    5:00 am  May 18th, 2010
  9. Joy @ The Herbed Kitchen

    Beautiful! I love using mint in a variety of recipes, in fact, our little plant is picked clean on a regular basis. I’m jealous you get to use orzo, I’m thinking I might try a mix of quinoa and rice to make it gluten-free.

    4:29 pm  May 18th, 2010
  10. Sarah.j.s.

    Looks great! Can’t go wrong with cheese and pasta. :)

    9:11 am  May 20th, 2010
  11. Liz @ Simple Italian Cooking

    I love recipes like this. I’m not a fan of whole wheat pasta, but I think I would try it with a recipe like this. Whole wheat pasta goes great with olive dishes I will admit.

    7:21 pm  May 24th, 2010
  12. motor vehicle accident lawyers

    wow, look at that, I’m already drooling, great color, looks delicious

    8:34 am  May 25th, 2010
  13. yum yum good. « the back burner

    [...] Whole Wheat Greek Orzo Salad (For this one, I actually use pasta shells instead of orzo, substitute onion and zucchini for the tomato and olives, and use whatever fresh herbs and vinegar I have on hand. I’ve made it a bunch, and it turns out a little different and equally delicious every single time.) [...]

    4:07 pm  Aug 2nd, 2010
  14. Natalie

    I made this last night! It was delish. I used half of the amount of feta cheese, and decided I’m not the hugest fan of mint.

    1:44 pm  Aug 21st, 2010
  15. Poor Taste

    I’ve never been able to figure out what to do with orzo, so thank goodness for this. A perfect salad to pack for lunch! I do switch out the herbs depending on what I haven’t killed in my container garden — tried with rosemary which is actually pretty tasty.

    9:16 am  Sep 3rd, 2010
  16. Liz@Simple Italian Cooking

    @Poor Taste There are lots of things you can do with Orzo! It goes great in soups, salads (hot and cold), and I’ve used them in a risotto recipe instead of rice (:http://www.simpleitaliancooking.com/recipes/risotto-orzo-recipe.htm). You can mix it with beef or other veggies and cook and then stuff them in veggies like tomatoes or peppers too. Now you know!

    11:57 am  Sep 3rd, 2010
  17. Mollie

    I’m with Poor Taste on this one, I can’t figure out how to make orzo for the life of me! I linked to this recipe on my blog post about orzo. I’d love to use a picture link, would it be okay to use your picture if I give proper credit where it’s due? Once again, thanks for a great post :)

    12:11 pm  Sep 6th, 2011
  18. Menu Plan: October 31 – November 6 | iSavvyMom

    [...] Whole wheat Greek Orzo Pasta salad over spinach [...]

    11:26 am  Nov 1st, 2011
  19. Ayesha

    What are your thoughts on adding tuna to this recipe, to add some protein and make it a complete balanced meal?

    2:29 pm  Mar 2nd, 2012
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