Orzo Salad With Corn, Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta

I chose to live in the northeast because I’m ill adapted at dealing with heat. I melt. Quickly.

So I may sound like a wimp when I say… it has been 100 degrees over the past three days and I am dying. We live on the top floor of an A/C-less apartment building. We have one air conditioner in our bedroom. I refuse to venture out of my room and into the kitchen, let alone stand near a heat-producing appliance for very long or put something remotely warm in my mouth.

Yep, it looks like we reached the part of the summer where my meals start switching over to cold salads and variations on guacamole.

Unfortunately, summer salads always seem to leave me feeling a little wilted. By mid-summer they all start to blend together and fail to WOW me. Particularly pasta salads — they always seem to look more promising then they taste.

This little recipe, however, looked a little TOO good to pass up…and boy am I glad I didn’t because its taste was the perfect antidote to this sweltering affliction all the residents of my apartment seem to currently have. The sweetness from the corn and the mild flavor of the avocado is what really makes this pasta salad stand out — it’s not completely oily or mayonaissey like most pasta salads I’ve had; it’s got plenty of fresh vegetables that each have their own sharp tastes, and a nice tangy vinaigrette to round it all out.

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I have trouble getting le boyfriend to get excited about eating anything remotely resembling rice, and orzo would certainly fall under the rice-look-alike category. Surprisingly, this pasta salad earned the “you are DEFINITELY making this again,” stamp of approval, which is a pretty rare feat when it comes to cold rice dishes that aren’t sushi with him. Both of us were pretty darn happy with how this quick little dish came out!

Orzo Salad With Corn, Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta (Adapted from Brooke over at Plum Pie via Cookling Light)

{Serves 4 to 6}

Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan reggiano cheese (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1-2 ears of corn)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and dice
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil (I used cilantro instead and it came out great!)
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  1. Prepare dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Bring vegetable broth and 3 cups of water to a boil. Season water/broth with salt. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain orzo.
  3. Toss orzo with dressing, avocado, corn, red onion, tomatoes, and basil while orzo is still warm. Cool orzo until room temperature and mix in crumbled feta. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until use.
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