Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Vegetable Orzo Salad

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A nice, light dish perfect for any variety of seasonal vegetables. I came up with this recipe to use up some odd and end ingredients I came across while cleaning out the fridge and pantry. I threw them together to make this simple dish and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. The raw bell pepper and pinenuts add a nice crunch. Some fresh cucumber would be great in this, too. It was a great accompaniment to the lemon thyme grilled chicken we had for dinner. You could use any type of vinaigrette, bottled or homemade. If you like cheese it would be a nice addition. It was even better the next day when I had some for lunch. I added a bit more dressing to my lunch serving since I love love love vinegar (Mr.Surly, not so much, just the smell is enough to turn his stomach). I will definitely make this again, maybe experimenting with different veggies.

Spring Vegetable Orzo Salad
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1 c orzo
2 c water or vegetable broth (chicken broth would work, too)
~2 c chopped of spinach (I cut mine via the chiffonade method)
~2 c your favorite roasted veggies (I used a squash, zucchini, leek, and some cherry tomatoes)
Your favorite balsamic dressing (I made my own, recipe below)
1 bell pepper, diced
¼ c toasted pinenuts

Bring the water (or broth) to a boil, add orzo reduce heat and simmer about 15 min until orzo is cooked al dente. Drain well and set aside in a large bowl (I added the juice from one lemon to the orzo at this point, but that is optional).

Preheat oven to 375F. Add chopped veggies to baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and dried herbs, if desired (I added some dried thyme to mine). Roast the veggies 20-30 min, til they reach desired doneness. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While my veggies were roasting I chopped my spinach and stirred it into the orzo. Once the veggies are cooled a bit, add them, along with the bell pepper, to the orzo and toss. Pour about ¼-1/3 c dressing into orzo, stir to toss. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours. Taste and if needed, add more dressing. Serve cold or at room temperature topped with pinenuts.

Better Than Bottled Balsamic Dressing
adapted from oh she glows

2 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp grainy mustard
2 ½ Tbsp agave
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Your favorite herbs (Basil, oregano, majoram, etc) to taste

Whisk all together and store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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