A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, grandmothers, fur baby moms, and motherly figures out there! Hope you all had a wonderful day of fun and family, and that you got just a little bit spoiled.
We had a little celebration on Mother’s Day at my house. As my gift to my mom, I cooked her dinner (surprise, surprise – hey, you gotta go with what you’re good at, right?) I asked her the night before what she wanted for dinner, knowing full well she probably would say “whatever you make is fine with me.” Which of course, she tried to say. But I pushed and at least had her choose the main part of the meal (BBQ steak), and give me some direction on where to take the dessert (more on that in a subsequent post).
With some good quality steak in mind, I set out to round out the meal with some side dishes. My brain automatically goes to sautéed mushrooms and grilled asparagus, so those were a given. I just wasn’t sure what to do about a “starchier” side dish. Baked potatoes always go with steak, but that was too boring. I could have just picked up a nice loaf of artisan bread, maybe grilled it on the BBQ, and that would have been nice. But my desire to create something somehow brought me to the forgotten container of orzo in the cupboard. Before I knew it, a salad was born.
A quick inventory of the fridge revealed a bounty of cucumbers and some salty & pungent sheep’s milk feta. Why not a orzo Greek salad? Why not indeed! It basically built itself from there.
I incorporated all of your basic Greek salad elements – cucumber, green pepper, red onion, tomatoes, feta, and a basic lemon and olive oil dressing. With a good dose of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, it was the perfect light and refreshing accompaniment to our steak dinner.
You know you’ve hit on a great recipe when everyone at the table comments on how good the salad tasted. This one is a winner.
Orzo & Feta Greek Salad
makes 8 side servings
This take on the classic Greek salad adds orzo for a heartier side dish that still makes for a fresh and light accompaniment to your spring/summer BBQ meals. The measurements for the vegetables are just approximations – add more or less as you see fit. Make it a complete meal by adding cooked shrimp or chickpeas.
- 1 1/2 cup dry orzo, cooked al dente and cooled
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 large english cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 340 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 100g good quality feta, diced or crumbled
- 3 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss to coat in dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Notes – if you want to make the salad even more authentic, add some pitted and chopped kalamata olives. We aren’t olive fans, so I left them out, but I imagine they would be good. Use a whole grain orzo if you can find it (and let me know where I can get my hands on some!)