Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lemony Orzo Salad with Fresh Veggies and Goat Cheese

Last week, I made this same salad with chicken and frozen vegetables. With the chicken, it made a great one-dish entree.

This week, I made the same thing but with some fresh veggies and goat cheese but no chicken. This vegetarian version is more of a side dish and makes a more frugal version to bring to potlucks. It's also a good way to use up fresh veggies you may have lying around.

The dish is a quick one to make even when you're cooking chicken, but once you eliminate that step, it's ridiculously speedy. I reluctantly set my book down at 5:10 p.m., let the dogs in, looked up the recipe, cooked it, changed into my gym clothes, turned on the printer computer, force the snail-computer to open up my meeting agenda, make some changes, set it to printing, and was out the door for Zumba by 5:50 p.m. Obviously some multi-tasking was involved here, but orzo takes less than ten minutes to cook and nothing else takes long, either.

There's enough of a difference in how you deal with some of the vegetables that I thought I might as well write another post, but be sure to check out the original to see another riff on the same basic recipe with some tips regarding other ways to vary it.

Lemony Orzo-Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese
Adapted from Cooking Light, July 2010

Cook 3/4 cup orzo according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water (to help keep the pasta from clumping together), and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, make the dressing.

For the dressing, combine 1/4 tsp. lemon zest; 3 Tbs. lemon juice*; 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; 1/2 tsp. salt; 2-3 cloves garlic, minced; 1/4 tsp. honey, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Dressing ingredients.
in a small bowl or dressing container.

Whisk or shake until emulsified.

No layers.

Once the orzo is cooked, put it in a large bowl
Bowl o' orzo.
and add your vegetables. For this version, instead of using frozen vegetables, I wanted to use some grape tomatoes and a bumpy yellow squash I got at the farmer's market on Saturday.

Tomatoes work great in this dish raw. Just rinse them off, cut any big ones into bite-sized pieces, and add them to the cooked orzo. I used about 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes.

Smooth-skinned squash could be addred raw, but the bumpy-skinned ones are a little tougher; you'll want to sautee them first.

Heat a little less than 1 Tbs. oil (coconut, olive oil, butter) in a large skillet.

Thinly slice 1 medium yellow squash. Add to the hot oil.

Raw squashes.
Cooking squashes.
and steam-sautee for five to ten minutes or until squash is soft.

Soft cooked squashes.
Add to the orzo and tomatoes.

Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.

As with the chicken version, this tastes best after being allowed to sit and marinate for awhile.

Before serving, crumble 2 oz. goat cheese on top and stir in.



  1. This looks really delicious. I'm a fan of all of the components, but the goat cheese puts it over the top!

    1. Yes. Yes it does.

      Goat cheese makes everything better.



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