Monday, August 1, 2011

Spicy Greek Grilled Vegetable & Orzo Salad

You’ll want to make sure you keep your orzo warm by not rinsing it after it cooks. Instead, I like to toss it with a half teaspoon of olive oil after draining it. When it’s warm, the pasta can better absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette. Now the trick with the olives, peppers and onions is to make sure that everything is the same size. The best way to do this is to quarter your olives first so you know what size you’re going to want your pepper and onion to be. Make this salad as spicy as you like by just dialing up the red pepper flakes. We like really spicy food, so I used a rounded teaspoon here. I recommend starting out with a half of a teaspoon and going from there, making it to suit your taste. Serve at room temperature for best results. If you didn’t feel like heating up your grill, you could sauté the onion and pepper in a teaspoon of oil over medium high heat for about eight minutes or until well browned.

What You Need:

½ lb orzo
1 red bell pepper, quarter – remove seeds & membrane
1 medium red onion, sliced horizontally in ½“pieces – leave skin on, it burns off on the grill
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
2 tsp fresh oregano, minced & divided
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs olive oil, plus ½ tsp
½ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste – I use 1+)
¼ tsp kosher salt & freshly cracked pepper

What To Do:

Cook orzo according to the packages instructions in well salted water to al dente. Once the pasta is done, drain and toss with ½ tsp olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, whisk together lemon juice, 3 Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the warm pasta into the dressing, mix well and set aside.

Heat an outdoor grill to 400*. Over a medium high heat, grill onions and peppers until deeply browned on both sides. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your vegetables. Mine took about 15 minutes.

Cut grilled pepper and onion into ¼ “pieces. They should be about the same size as the quartered olives. Add vegetables, olives and remaining oregano to the pasta and vinaigrette – stir to combine. Serve at room temperature with additional red pepper flakes to pass at the table.

Serves 6

Print this recipe.

**Edited to add: Here are the nutritional stats for 1 of 6 generous servings.**

Bon Appetit!


Anonymous said...

This looks great! I make a similar salad and use a vegetable seasoning that gives it so much more flavor than salt and pepper. It's called seasonings of salonica vegetable blend.

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ anon: Thanks! I'll have to check out that seasoning. I've never heard of it.

Pam said...

I love orzo with grilled veggies. Looks terrific!

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Pam: I agree! Definitely a great combination.

Heidi @ Food Doodles said...

That looks delicious! I may just make something similar for dinner with the veggies I have in the fridge that need using up. Thank you for the inspiration!

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Heidi: Thank you :) ..and I think you're on to something... this recipe is a great way to use up leftover grilled veggies (or veggies that could be grilled on their last leg). Great idea!

Stephen said...

This looks really good. I have been trying to minimalize my cooking to keepthe house cool. This looks like a great use of leftovers and is simple.

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Stephan: I am in the same boat! Just boiling the pasta is enough heat for me.

Mini Baker said...

Just found your blog! you have some amazing recipes! This one in particular looks so scrumptious!! can't wait to browse around and bookmark :)
-mini baker

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Mini Baker: I'm so glad you found me & thank you! Let me know if you try anything out. Always interested in the results others have with my recipes. :)